Sustaining a BYOD Initiative

It is interesting how I get simple thrills from elements of education.  In February of 2014 we piloted a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative, which has been successful.  The thrill – seeing the variety of devices that students use in our classroom instruction!  It would be nice to have every student equipped with an MacBook Air, but there is something special about seeing students use a device that fits their personality.  In our case we did not have the funding for a school-sponsored 1-1 initiative at the middle school level.  This led to the exploration of BYOD plans.

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Positive results for our staff and students include achieving a 1-1 environment, students ability to research immediately, students feel more organized, students don’t lose paper copies diminishing late work, students and staff believe learning is enhanced, productivity increased and several others.

Items that we continue to address are teacher professional development, finding ways that iPads and Google can play well together, finding more ideas to get beyond the “$1000 pencil” mentality, and efficient ways to track learning gains.

If you want to produce a solid BYOD initiative, research several different existing policies.  More BYOD deaths are caused by the lack of a solid policy foundation.  The other key component is your infrastructure and can it handle the increased traffic on access points and bandwidth.  Communicating with stakeholders is another key component.  We help three meetings after school hours.  If they did not show to the meetings, we found them at Parent Teacher Conferences and had discussions about BYOD.  You also need to prepare for the maintenance questions involving hardware and software.  We made sure students and parents understood that teachers are not responsible for troubleshooting student devices.

Moving forward, we have seen some great collaborative projects emerge (see pictures below).  One goal for staff development is incorporating the SAMR model with our staff.  They will be working to achieve Modification and Redefinition by the end of quarter 3.  Check out my Google site for articles on SAMR.

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