BYOD initiatives continue to grow in popularity as districts try to create learning environments that meet the needs of today’s students. But before a classroom teacher takes the leap to implement a BYOD program, support from the district is imperative in two areas. First, a reliable and robust infrastructure must be in place that allows multiple devices to access the Internet. Second, a clearly articulated vision and framework needs to be created so that all stakeholders understand the purpose of a BYOD initiative and its goal to improve the learning environment for all students. With these in place, a teacher can confidently create a successful BYOD classroom keeping the following three ideas in mind.
Infusing the values of a good digital citizen isn’t a unit of study that teachers can deliver at the beginning of the year and expect students to completely take to heart and master. It must be infused into the work they do every day. The character values that students are exposed to through a successful BYOD classroom will prepare them nicely for work in higher education and eventually the workplace.
Focus on Content Creation
I often hear teachers talk about the need for a specific app in order to engage their students. In a successful BYOD classroom, teachers keep the focus on content creation, not content consumption. Whether it’s creating a book trailer movie or developing a reading response blog, keeping the focus on creation and creativity will keep students engaged and excited.
In my experience, there will be occasions where students forget devices at home, or can’t afford them, or for some reason their devices stops working all together. For these reasons, it’s important to have a backup plan to keep the learning moving. Without a collection of a few computers, tablets or other hand held devices, even the most thoughtful and well-planned projects have the potential of ending up in disaster.
Of course there are other important decisions that teachers need to make in a BYOD classroom, such as which blogging platform to use, how will students submit assignments, or how to best communicate with students and parents. But if teachers infuse digital citizenship into all aspects of the class, focus on content creation instead of content consumption, and keep the learning moving with supplemental devices, they will have a much better chance of creating a successful BYOD classroom.
David is currently the Vice Principal at Mitchell Hepburn P.S. in St. Thomas, Ontario Canada. He is a former learning technologies coordinator with a passion for edtech, student voice and leadership. You can follow him on Twitter and on his blog.