I found many comments and questions about support, requirements, a common set of applications, web-based applications and services, along with mention of how a BYOD moves things to a more student-centered approach as the device is of their own choosing.
For our 1:1 Learning Initiative we spent a lot of time talking through the reasons we were going down the road of providing every student with a device. We wanted to be sure we were talking the learning first, not about the device. Our focus would be on the learning process and how we would support that through training, professional development and teaching.
We went through a “Strawman” exercise where we looked at three options for our program before making our choice: standardized, a minimum system configuration and a BYOD approach. We used this approach to play out each of the scenarios for these three program options, eventually adopting a standardized model.
We were very deliberate in how we talked about the program, referring to it as our 1:1 Learning Initiative.
I think this is a very important distinction to make. It wasn’t a 1:1 Laptop Program, a 1:1 Tablet Program or a 1:1 iPad Program, it was a 1:1 Learning Program. We wanted the ability to substitute any device as the 1:1 tool.
People say that the BYOD approach is a reflection of what they see in their own lives and in what is beyond school and can move certain aspects of more traditional programs way from the school. What I haven’t read is an educational rational as to why to go in this direction. How it will support learning and effect professional development. Within many of the conversations there is an assumption that the kids know how to use the tools that they have and that they can handle things for themselves… I think this is flawed.
Mark Vitiello in a post to the ISED listserv said the following:
“…the schools that paved the way for 1:1 as we know it (those studied to compile the mountain of empirical data that now exists supporting 1:1) made significant investments in training, support, infrastructure, professional development, hardware and software. I attribute the overwhelming success and longevity of 1:1 in private schools to their leadership, vision, commitment and investment. I am concerned that the leadership of some schools, not necessarily yours, will implement a vision of BYOD that assumes little commitment and no investment on the part of the school.”
and when planning:
“…you; 1) visit other schools, 2) invest heavily in planning, 2) upgrade your infrastructure, 3) budget for ongoing professional development, 4) provide loaners, 5) arrange for some kind of helpdesk and 6) designate adequate and ongoing funding for a curriculum integration specialist(s) to support teachers in the classroom.”
Schools considering a BYOD need to do all of these things and in even great detail given the number of variables. Some things to remember:
- Your BYOD should be well thought out, meet your learning goals, mission and match your schools culture. No question is too small.
- Be as clear and transparent as you can about the decision and reason, outlining the expectations going in and the support and training (technical and pedagogically) that will AND won’t be available. Limit surprises.
- Be sure to meet and communicate with as many constituent groups before, during and after the process as they will have valuable input.
- Seek outside help. We visited multiple schools, attended The Laptop Institute – a 1:1 conference held each summer in Memphis, used online tools and measures as guides and using consultants where appropriate (see resources below for 1to1 Readiness Assessment Survey).
- Share what you learned. Be sure to share what you’ve learner through post to listservs, blogs, Twitter. Allow people to visit your school and learn from you.
1:1 programs are highly contextualized and if done right are grounded in they school’s mission, beliefs and culture. For our school, a BYOD approach didn’t match our culture of professional development and philosophy of embedded technology integration. Programs that are focused on learning and preparing students for the world beyond school, regardless of the device… standardized or BYOD.
A Few Resources:
BYOD, Bring Your Own Digital Devices: The Next Wave in 1:1 Laptop learning in our schools? by Jonathan Martin (@jonathanemartin) – http://21k12blog.net/2011/10/04/byod-bring-your-own-digital-devices-the-next-wave-in-11-laptop-learning-in-our-schools/
ISED Listserv Thread: Bring Your Own Device 1:1 Environment – http://listserv.syr.edu/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind1201c&L=ISED-L&F=&S=&P=4006
Rogue IT in Education and the BYOD, DIY model. – http://www.williamstites.net/2011/10/25/rogue-it-in-education-and-the-byod-diy-model/
1to1 Readiness Assessment Survey from Educational Collaborators (EC) – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/onetoone – DISCLOSURE: I do consulting work for EC.