Day 167 (of 184) byod -as a supplemental
Today I laughed when I saw on twitter a picture of some “rules about using cell phones” which essentially were: we better not see you using one. It followed a series of emails via a listserve looking at policies around portable devices & specifically when to confiscate them and for how long.
For almost a decade I have been championing and modelling the use of mobile devices. I had it so good 8 years ago that in two districts I have only now thought I might be able to replicate what I had: essentially a laptop for each learner in the classroom.
After 6 years fighting about Operating Systems (I support ‘choice’ and not “one size fits all” tech decisions) and desktop vs mobile (I want the tech in the classroom not in a cubicle farm) essentially saying that we don’t go to ‘the pencil room for math’ so why would I go to a computer lab…., I have embraced Bringing Your Own Device. But it was a surprise and it came with a catch.
The surprise: when we introduced filming (and videoing) I was surprised that I kept having ‘a device left over’. Right now we only have a pod of iPads Minis (6) for students to use. The class set is coming…! Yet via pairing up and (more importantly) the tools in their pockets & backpacks we had enough devices in our 4/5 class to do a wide variety of work -even when individuals forgot their tool. I never told the students to bring their own tools (and we have had many chats about the difference between tools that enhance learning vs toys that distract learners) – I just didn’t say no. The culture of yes has enabled learners to use both apple and a few android devices to flourish (no windows devices yet…..)
The catch: I still provide the tech my adults use so they can model mobile tech (currently iPads – their ease of use is still unparalleled) and I want to always have tech available for students who can’t afford their own or for the families who are still nervous about sending mobile tech to school as it may be ‘too portable’.
I have been happily sharing with colleagues our successes so far: providing a variety of portable devices for student/class use but supplemented & supported by those who feel more comfortable using “their” personalized device.
As for rules prohibiting their use….how very 1984….