I am a grad student receiving my masters in early childhood education part time, while working a full time job.  During my class my professor passed along this article for us to read and discuss.

http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2012/01/it-is-time-for-schools-to-se...

 

My thoughts on the article:

 

Let’s just say that I love Eric’s thoughts in this article.  He is not only an educator; he is a parent to children who will be entering the education system within a few years.  His thoughts are based on what he sees first hand within not only in his home but within the education system he works in.  It is pretty common knowledge that if you are with a child as young as 1 ½ years of age and you have a smart phone, that child will want to use the phone and most likely know how to use it.  I recently came across this about a year ago at my sister in laws bridal shower.  I was playing with her friend’s daughter who was only 16 months old.  She proceeded to take my phone, go into the music application, put on a song and started to dance!  If a child this young is already using technology how is she ever going to be excited to learn in a classroom that provides learning with just basic textbooks.

Most people no matter their income do have technology within their home.  Whether that is a laptop, smart phone, ipod touch, etc.  Therefore if their children are in a school district that cannot afford technology BYOT should be implemented within the classroom.  Eric states a great point where he says “Ensuring equity is important and we must be cognizant of those students that might not own a device.  Determining those that do not in a confidential manner is very important.  If using mobile phones, teachers can easily pair students up”.  This is something that can easily be done, and it allows the students to benefit from technology as well as group learning.

With the right goals are rules implemented BYOT could be something that changes the way students learn for the better.  As a society we advance daily with technology and its almost comical to hold the education back of our students by not allowing them to use technology to benefit their own learning.

I am curious to see how each of you feel on this topic?

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It is interesting that I came across your post today, as I just watched a webinar on implementing technology in the classroom. One option was BYOD (Bring your Own Device). The presenter discussed students supplying their own technology with the institution managing the necessary software and applications necessary for class. I agree that this could be a very useful and simple way to ensure technology integration. In fact, where I am from, many private schools require the purchase of laptops and/or Ipads by 8th grade. A problem as a public school educator is that many of my students do not have access to computers or other devices at home. I assumed that most would, as most of the feeder for my school comes from middle to upper class homes, so I assigned an online assignment. I had eight students return to school with notes from home explaining that they did not have access to a computer. Many even said that their parents have laptops, but they are not allowed to use them. Furthermore; even if students had devices and could get them to school, I do not have access to wireless internet, which would be necessary for many activities and assignments. In theory, BYOD or BYOT would be an easy solution, but in reality, it is no solution at all.

 Meghan, I
do understand the points you bring that some students don’t have access at
home, and some parents do not allow their children to use their personal
computers.  The age of the students
should be considered when asking their parents for the use of their laptops.  I wouldn’t be for my second grader bring my mac book into their classroom, however I would fully support my junior high
aged child doing so.  Also BYOT would
only work in a school that offered wifi, and schools that don’t offer this
would not be able to support BYOT.

Jenna,

     I am the Technology Trainer and Manager of Information Technology at a school district in New Jersey and we have recently implemented a BYOD program throughout our district. In 2009, we had a 1:1 laptop program implemented in our high school that covered grades 9 through 12. Due to the budget cuts that came at the end of the 2009 school year, we were forced to dismantle the program and send all of the leased laptops back to the manufacturer. We decided that a BYOD program was our best alternative to maintain the technology infusion in our curriculum. Things have been working our really well so far. The most significant implication that we have faced as a result of implementing the program was creating an environment of "haves" and "have-nots". We have been working towards addressing this by purchasing iPad carts that can be used to supplement the BYOD program. I think that allowing the students to utilize devices that they are familiar and comfortable with enhances the potential for productivity and creativity. In addition, the program has allowed us to create more of a college atmosphere, which will help students transition once they leave our district. 

     It's amazing how today's "Digital Natives" are born with technology integrated into every facet of their lives. I think that for many students, going to school is like going back in time. They are often told to put their devices away instead of allowing them to use the tools that are part of their daily lives to enhance their education. I believe that our schools are long overdue for a paradigm shift as it relates to technology and student use. We are working really hard to change the culture throughout our district and deliver the 21st century learning environment that today's students need. We have a long road ahead of us, but the implementation of the BYOD program has really been a great boost for us. 

Gilbert,

Your reply gave me hope that BYOT does work.  May I ask if you have had issues controling your students use of the technology at all?  Do your students have to pay due so the school can afford wifi?

Jenna,

Our students do not pay anything for our services. I know that providing these services can be difficult for school districts, but I really feel that it is all about priorities. In New Jersey, we are part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). This is really pushing us to be smart about assessing our priorities and ensuring that we are prepared for the online testing that is associated with PARCC. I was able to find some significant cost savings by switching our internet service provider that allowed us to upgrade our wireless infrastructure and provide more bandwidth. With some creative leasing options, we are able to keep our network on a 5 year upgrade cycle with the cost savings paying for the majority of the lease payment each year. As for the students using technology, we have not had any significant problems. In our district, we really look at the use of technology as a part of classroom management. If the students are engaged and utilizing the technology for something meaningful as part of the class, there is little time left for them to get themselves into trouble. It has been working out really well for us so far. 

Jenna,

Technology has advance so rapidly since I was even in high school only 5 years ago. It is a great idea offering students the option, especially with the recent budget cuts for education, to bring in their own unique piece of technology. Not only does it serve a great purpose like Gilbert said as classroom management, but I feel as if the students are more comfortable working with their very own piece of equipment. I find this idea very fascinating because of the fact when I was in school, we had the computer lab and/or a projector. We were certainly not allowed to bring ANY piece of technology to school, especially our cell phones. I always wondered why, especially with the greatness of iphones/ipads, why the schools wouldn't allow us to access our phone because it was such a great tool. I acknowledge what you have done in your district Gilbert and applaud you for working with the little resources you have left after budget cuts. As much as I love the this program of bringing your own technology and everyone does bring up a great point of each child having SOME kind of technology at home, do you have students that get jealous over each other's piece of equipment? Some parents can obviously afford more than others and I am very interested in how you deal with jealousy in this department. As much as technology is a wonderful resource, I believe it can hinder if not used correctly.

Kristin,

I have not heard of any problems or situations that have arisen as a result of jealousy relating to technology so far. Our biggest concern is creating an environment of "haves" and "have-nots". We specifically make an effort to address this by ensuring that supplemental technology is available to students that do not participate in the BYOD program. We make several iPad carts available out of our media centers for student use. At this point, this has been the most effective approach considering the financial circumstances. 

It is great to see a school so welcoming to the students bringing their own technology. Our school, although full of technology for presentation (smartboards, mimio software, document projectors, etc), our tech department is very hesitant to let the students in on this concept. It took several years for us to finally get wifi set up in the school. As it is set up, it is not accessible for devices not from our school district. They do not even share the password for teachers to use their own laptops in the school.

I don't know if it is the fear of our network being attacked by viruses or what the issue is, however, technology is a very secretive aspect in our district.

Us as teachers where talking about getting a class set of iPads as we saw how useful it could be with our new curriculum, however, we were immediately told that we could not get iPads, even if we were able to get grant money to pay for it.

I'm glad that your school is open to allowing the students into the technology for your school, as I could see that could really increase the learning without putting forth the massive amount of money needed.

Christina,

I very much agree with you! As much as technology is at the hands of our schools, I feel like many schools are still hesistent to let the students use any source of it. I know around where I am, it is the fear of funding and if something is messed up, then what? You bring up an excellent point and I think it is fantastic that Gilbert's school is embracing all of the technology changes so well! If only all schools would do this, could you think of all the possibilities that would be at our student's fingertips?

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