Results of the annual online SIIA Vision: K-20 Survey were released in June and for the first time, the survey asked participants about BYOD policies. Responses were collected from about 1,500 educators working in K-20.
The use of student-owned devices varied by education level with two- and four-year postsecondary institutions allowing the devices most often — 83% and 95%, respectively. Only 20% of respondents from the elementary sector said they allow students to use their own devices, 48% of secondary-school participants and 46% of K-12 district respondents said they allow BYOD.
One expert argues that educators don’t have to alter lessons for each device in a BYOD environment.
The name of Ron Milliner’s FETC 2013 session on device-neutral assignments (“DNA for BYOD”) faintly resembles that of a new-age workout plan. Though the director of the Kentucky Academy of Technology Education (KATE) won’t be divulging the secret to attaining perfectly toned biceps, he will be giving teachers insights into how to sculpt successful lesson plans for schools implementing bring your own device programs. And, as with any good exercise regimen, Milliner emphasizes starting with the basics.
“We [at KATE] try to do training [for teachers] to take the lessons they already have prepared and show them how to turn them into lessons we call ‘DNA’–device neutral assignments,” Milliner says.
Research shared by Roger Minier indicates that blended learning really works and, with blended learning, virtually every student at every ability level experiences significant increases in achievement over those who are educated online or face-to-face only. This advantage is fully transferable to college and career.
As districts plan and implement technology-related processes and policies, Minier pointed to several findings that are important to keep in mind.
As more schools start to integrate their own mobile learning strategies and Bring Your Own Device policies, one school district in a suburb of Houston has managed to come up with what appears to be a successful BYOD program.
In 2009, Katy Independent School District (ISD) began a three-year plan to change instruction in the school district by promoting a standardized toolbox of web-based tools dubbed “Web 2.0.” They also set out guidelines for behavior in the digital space called “Digital Citizenship,” in the hopes that the school would not just teach kids math and reading, but also how to behave in a public digital world.
Technology becomes more embedded in all aspects of society. As a father, I see this firsthand with my first-grader son. The gift he wanted the most this past Christmas was an iPod Touch, which Santa was kind enough to bring him. Then there is his younger sister, who will regularly ask to use my iPad so she can care for her virtual horse or dress Barbies in creative ways.
As I download all of the apps, the majority of their time is spent engaged in games that can require thought, creativity and collaboration. My point here is that many children are accessing technology outside of school in a variety of ways. Many older children also possess their own devices (cellphones, smartphones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, etc.).
As society continues to advance in innovation, technology and global connectivity, schools have been stymied by relentless budget cuts. This has resulted in reduced staff, larger class sizes, lack of follow-through on repairing aging buildings and failing to keep up with purchasing and replacing educational technology. It is essential that we rectify all of the above, but technology is often perceived as the least important to invest precious funds into. This is why the time is now for districts and schools to seriously consider developing a bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) initiative.