Thursday, September 1, 2011

BYOD: Teacher Paradigms

For too many years we, as teachers, have viewed cell phones and all other devices as a disruption to the learning process.  Between our no tolerance of devices, school policies, and need for control classroom management, we have been conditioned to look down upon and even confiscate these devices.

However, over the last 3 years these devices have evolved into tools.  Today they are used to communicate in a variety of ways, to increase productivity, to aid in organization, and yes, even to play.

Now, almost over night, we introduce BYOD, Bring Your Own Device.  I have done the best I can prepare my teachers, and many of them have done a great job at preparing themselves.  However, I have seen that many, including myself, didn't fully comprehend what we were getting ourselves into.

So here are a few of the problems that I feel we are still struggling to overcome...

  • Less than 20% of teachers participated in the online BYOD training over the summer.  BYOD is a game changer in education.  Effective use of BYOD requires change on every teacher's part.
  • Many teachers feel that BYOD means the teacher has no control.  (The truth is that the BYOD policy gives the teacher more freedom and control over their classes than before.)
  • Teachers who do not allow their students to use their own devices are still losing the battle of keeping them out of learning.  While teachers who have embraced BYOD are surging onward with their curriculum in new and exciting ways.
  • Instead of encouraging the students to get their devices out in the open and on the desks, whether they are using them or not, many continue uphold policies that encourage students to hide their devices.  Hiding devices encourages their use in negative ways.  Keeping devices out in the open encourages their productive uses.

I would love to hear from some of you about your experiences with BYOD.  What are some struggles you've come accross?  What are some of your successes?


  1. I am truly amazed and how productive and innovative the kids can be. I am still worried about the student who does not have a smartphone or iPad feeling left behind, so trying to make sure everything we do electronically can be done with nothing more than a short trip to a school computer for those not bringing something.

    I think the thing I really like the most is that I am challenged to stay updated with what is out there. 3 weeks ago I did not know what a QR code was. BYOD has really challenged my thinking about how to use all the technology available. My website is much more interactive, I am making video updates, uploading them and having some fun in the process and providing a choice to my users to how they want to "view" the content.

    Struggles - kids are used to the devices, just not used to using them so openly in school and old habits die hard. Posting assignments to Edmodo does not mean automatic completion. I still have to get after them to get the assignments done. We still need to monitor them aggressively as kids are still kids. The BYOD program has exponentially increased our possibilities for both successes and real trouble.

    But overall, I am wowed. I always said my newborn and 2 year will go to school with tablets and textbooks will be obsolete. Now that is no longer a prediction, its a guarantee.

  2. Sing it brother! BYOD should not be the future ,it is NOW. The students are familiar with their own devices, and they are powerful. Why fight what they already have and know ?