Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BYOD - Questions & Concerns

Today I had the opportunity to team teach with the campus principal as we addressed BYOD for the first time with our campus.

I guess you could say that I have a hero complex because I desperately want to have all the answers. Truth is...this is going to be a topic with which many answers may only come after years of learning and experience ahead.

Below are some of the biggest questions and concerns that I have heard of or fielded myself in the last few months. I'll include my answers, but if you have better answers or explanations please share by leaving a comment:

1. Q. If all students have to be using the school's filtered wifi and not their 3g/4g network, how do patrol that?
A. When students only used paper and pencil how did you know if they were using it to pass notes or to take notes? It should be no different than before the students used the devices. The main question is this, is the student on task?
A. The physical way to tell if they are using wifi is to look at the top of their screen to see if they are showing the wifi as turned on. You will be looking for a wifi symbol like this: If you only see bar like these and no wifi symbol it is a sure thing that they are not using wifi.

2. Q. What about students taking video of me and posting it to the internet?
A. The district's BYOD policy strictly prohibits students from posting recorded video in class to the internet. We must, however, understand that this is the world in which we live? Cameras are everywhere, always be mindful of your actions.

3. Q. What about less fortunate students who cannot afford a device like their friends have.
A. BYOD is not a 1:1 policy. BYOD is not about everyone doing the same thing in the same way. It allows for individuals to use the tools and techniques that are at their disposal.
A. If you do need everyone to have a device, it is much easier for the campus to provide 5-10 devices for students who do not have their own, rather than the district or campus to have to supply all 25-30.
A. If students are harassing or taunting students due to their device or lack thereof, then those students should be disciplined.

4. Q. How do I manage my classroom with BYOD?
A. One way is to have students always place their devices on top of their desk. This way they are out in the open and not hidden. If they are trying to hide something, that's when you need to investigate.
A. Allow your students to use their devices for class business as much as possible. Use this as a bargaining chip. "If you are off task one more time today, I will be confiscating your device, and think about everything you have on there for this and other classes. You might miss those things when the teacher asks you to turn something in next period."
A. Read the blog post "Branding BYOD: On/Off" by Jason Ohler.

5. Q. What if I hear a student's device chime from a notification or even ring?
A. Has your phone ever gone off in a professional development, a meeting, etc? We as adults are just a guilty.
A. Do what you can to communicate the expectation of silencing all devices. However, be patient and forgiving. You've probably forgotten a time or two also.