For two years, my school district, Forsyth County Schools, has been officially implementing a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative. I say officially because we all know that students have been bringing their own technology devices to school without specific permission for a long time! For the last two years, however, we have encouraged students to use their technology tools to help facilitate their learning experiences within the classroom and beyond school. After 20+ years of teaching, BYOT is one of the most effective innovations that I have utilized with teachers and students to positively transform teaching and learning.
Students are now bringing a variety of personal devices to school each day to benefit their learning, but of course, not every student has a device. However, we are better able to utilize our school-owned desktops and laptops with students who need them. Additionally, BYOT does not mean that everyone is constantly using a technology tool; rather, students have greater access to technology tools, both personal and school devices, to use them, as needed. The different devices within the classroom provide greater opportunities for differentiation of instruction as the teacher makes the pedagogical shift to guiding learning rather than directing it.
Some of the devices that students are bringing to school include Nintendo DSi’s, iPod Touches, Cellphones, Smartphones, iPads, netbooks, laptops, and many others. This sounds like a lot of technology for the teacher to know how to use; however, the beauty of BYOT is that the students are knowledgeable about the technical aspects of working with their devices, and the teacher can focus on the learning and content rather than the technology.
The implementation of student-owned devices into the design of instruction has led to improved student and teacher collaboration in the process of learning. Dynamic student networks have begun to develop, and the students have become more self-directed and motivated in their academic activities. Understanding and advancing these networks are two of the goals of the BYOT Network blog in addition to sharing resources for promoting BYOT initiatives. By inspiring students to employ their own technology devices in school, educators can assist students in making meaningful, personal connections to their learning.
#1 by Laura Thornton on November 15, 2011 - 5:47 pm
“The different devices within the classroom provide greater opportunities for differentiation of instruction as the teacher makes the pedagogical shift to guiding learning rather than directing it.” This is key; the device should not be our focus. Rather, the learning process takes precedent as students have greater and more natural access to information.