Posts Tagged education

Connected to Learning with BYOT

When students use their own technology tools within a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) classroom, they can construct new connections that lead to new opportunities for learning.  However, many teachers are afraid of what can happen when students make these connections, but these fears are often unfounded when students explore new ways to learn with their own technology at school.  In this post, I describe some different ways that students can connect at school and some possible resources for making those connections, and I included Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube even though those sites may not be appropriate for all ages and are blocked within many school settings.

Students Connecting to Each Other

Students can connect with each other via their technology devices, and according to a recent study, approximately 63% of teens say they communicate with text messages with others in their lives (Lenhart, 2012).  Yet, when many students enter their schools, their handheld devices are banned, and communication with their peers are limited in order to listen to lectures and direct instruction in preparation for standardized tests.  In the BYOT classroom, however, students can learn and practice new ways to connect with each other through the use of social media when they are involved in collaborative activities with their devices. Participating in group assignments such as developing a class wiki or creating a photo journal can encourage students to share their ideas and demonstrate their learning.  Here are some additional resources for helping students connect with each other.

Students Connecting to Teachers

The bond that teachers can create with the students in their classrooms can help to develop the expectations and community necessary for a successful BYOT initiative.  These connections can be motivating to students and help them become persistent learners.  In the BYOT classroom, students can develop connections with their teachers as they work alongside each other to utilize technology in the discovery of new concepts and strategies. The traditional role of the teacher as the expert of content knowledge who disseminates that understanding to students through lectures is is often turned upside down in the digital age when as a community of learners, teachers and students build new meanings together.  Students can connect with their teachers through the following collaborative tools that allow them to discuss topics they are learning in class and send messages to each other.

Students Connecting to Content

Many of the concepts that students learn in school are unfamiliar and abstract.  By using their own technology devices that they have personalized with their favorite apps and shortcuts, students in the BYOT classroom are able to make greater connections to the content that they are learning.  They are also able to locate the information they need just in time to understand these new concepts. Digital Age learners expect to be find ready information as needed to answer their questions, and that information needs to be engaging, visual, and interactive to achieve maximum impact on students.   Students can connect with content to demonstrate what they know and with their technology tools they have the capability to emphasize their unique areas of strength and particular talents.  These resources can help students connect to content at home and school.


Lenhart, A. (2012, March 19). Teens, smartphones, & texting. Retrieved from

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Triple AAA Support for BYOT

Effective  supports are essential for scaffolding and sustaining a transformational implementation of BYOT.  This transformation is the metamorphosis that classrooms undergo when students are encouraged to use their own technology tools to produce rather than just consume content.  Similar to how car owners can subscribe to AAA services in case their vehicles break down or get a flat tire, there is also a triple AAA to facilitate learning with BYOT.  The AAAs of BYOT  include Agency, Affinity, and Authorship.


Having a sense of agency refers to students owning the work necessary within the community.  Because they are personally invested in their own technology tools, they can develop new uses and strategies for learning with them that arise from collaborating with their classmates and their teachers.  Since they have been utilizing those same devices at home for entertainment or communication, they are experts in those aspects of their technology, but they often need the guidance of others in their classroom in order to discover how to learn with them.  All of these efforts, however, can empower students to make relevant personal connections to the content and to each other that extend beyond the school walls.


The affinity of students for learning is revealed as they begin to exhibit a passion for the work.  There is no single instructional method or assignment that encompasses the capability of every device or the interest of every student.  When students use their own technology for learning, they are able to choose what aspects of a topic interest them and how they will show what they have learned.  Of course, students are not accustomed to being able to make authentic choices within most school settings, but again, this is where the learning community can nurture affinity by recognizing and supporting the individual strengths and capabilities of its members.  These talents often lead to students being branded by the rest of the group, and a student may become known as the one with the necessary qualifications and skills to complete a task, which can possibly lead to future job opportunities.


As students began designing and creating original content with their devices and sharing these authentic products with others, they practice authorship.  Using their technology tools for productive reasons provides students with new incentives for learning.  Developing authorship within students ensures that their efforts are worthwhile.  Through this perception of purpose within their work, students are able to achieve higher levels of retention as their projects possess meaning to the students themselves and to the larger learning community both within the school and globally.  It is through authorship in BYOT that students practice the skills and confidence that are necessary for future academic and occupational successes.


Leave a comment