Last year was a time of professional growth and exploration for me. I was given an opportunity to work closely with other teachers to support the implementation of technology in more classrooms and to be a part of a pilot project where our Learning Support team deployed iPads to support student learning. One of my goals last year was to develop and launch a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for our school. I met with parents and our administration during the summer of 2013 to begin drafting the policy. We looked at several other schools and the wording of their documents to formulate the language of our own policy. Once school began, I created a Technology Committee for our staff and then a second Technology Committee for our students, with the hopes that all three committees (parent, staff and students) would soon work together.
For a variety of reasons, I was unsuccessful in meeting my goal of school-wide implementation of BYOD. However, I was very pleased with the BYOD practices and launch within my own classroom. We enjoyed months of personal device use, and shared out our ideas and experiences regularly through a classroom Twitter account and at a conference.
My research interests for my #tiegrad Masters of Education assignment revolve around student use of personal devices for learning and connecting with a global audience. I am interested in discovering what prerequisite skills and habits should be fostered in students as schools begin to move towards BYOD (Bring Your own Device). I am interested in what discussions should take place, and who should be a part of those discussions. I am interested in discovering common language in successful BYOD programs. I am curious about how other schools are using student devices.
My focus will be on Middle Years schools (grade 6-8), and I will be seeking research to support that there is a need for some scaffolding and a bank of ideas to support learners in developing digital literacies while using their personal devices in and beyond an academic setting.
The resource that I hope to build through this research might include:
- Suggested strategies and rationales to implement BYOD for students, teachers, parents, and administrators
- Links to resources to support all stakeholders
- Suggested initial steps in creating a strong foundation in digital citizenship skills
- Links to sample BYOD documents
- Examples of how devices are currently being used and ideas to extend beyond initial steps
- Suggestions on building a positive school culture to welcome the use of student devices for learning
Some questions I have about this topic include:
- What are some examples of good pedagogy in developing responsible use habits?
- How are personal devices being used?
- How can we support our learners in developing appropriate skills, habits and awareness to carry them through independent use at school and beyond?
- What resources are available to support teachers in developing BYOD practices in their classrooms?
- How can we leverage the possibilities of technology to amplify student voice and create rich global connections?
- How will writing for a global audience impact student engagement and output in writing?
- How can personal devices be used to bridge learning between home and school environments?
- What language and habits should be common within a school culture to support an effective roll-out of BYOD?
- How do we support learners who are not able to bring in a personal device in a BYOD school?
- What do students need to know in order to interact safely with a global audience?
- What resources are available for teachers who are looking to take the first steps in BYOD?
I intend to try BYOD again this year. I witnessed value in how my students used their devices last year. When asked why my students wanted to use their own devices last year, the response that resonated most for me was “So we can learn how WE want to learn”.
It’s all about the learning, after all.