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Idea Sharing for Bring Your Own Device

By Kriscia Cabral on October 10, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

The integration of technology has become vital in the classroom of a 21st century learner. Technology is not just a tool but is used as another outlet for learning. The ideal setup would be to provide a personal device for every student, but that's not possible in many districts. One way to jump this hurdle is having a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place.

BYOD invites students to bring a device of their choosing to use in their schoolwork. There are many ways to set up this type of program in your classroom. The first things you have to consider are how you want the program to function and what is your desired outcome.


Set Clear Expectations

I talked with my students about devices and how they might be used inside the classroom. This is a great morning meeting discussion that allows for open conversation and allows for clear agreement on the purpose for having devices in school.

Establish Safety Rules

Next, we talk about personal belongings and our classroom Golden Rule: "Treat others the way you want to be treated.” If a student brings a device, it is their device. They are in charge of it. I let them know I can keep their things safe by locking the doors and giving verbal reminders to put devices away at recess and lunch. Students offer ideas like keeping devices off the ground, closing the cover on a device when it is not being used, and properly securing devices inside backpacks before leaving at the end of the day.

Communicate With Parents

After expectations are set, information is sent home to parents regarding the plan we have put into place. I share the idea of BYOD with parents at Back-to-School night so they are aware beforehand that the discussion will take place in the classroom. After our discussion, students are sent home with a permission slip that outlines the expectations that we’ve put in place along with the consequences of not following those expectations.

Share Learnings

One way I incorporated new learning to BYOD was by setting aside a day when students could share new and exciting ways of using their devices. We call this day Tech Thursdays. At the end of the day on Thursdays, we discuss new apps and tools that helped us learn throughout the week. I like to keep a running tab of apps that we have shared, along with the price of each. This gives the kids exposure to games that will also help them learn. This is also a great opportunity for students to share about something that helped them problem-solve. Oftentimes, some of the quietest kids open up and share apps that become useful to the entire class.


Apps Recommended by Fourth and Fifth Graders

ClassDojo, Edmodo, MapTastic, BrainPop, Mathvs.Zombie, Khan Academy, Bill Nye the Science Guy, iBooks, Storia, ShowMe, Tellagami, Aurasma, LongDivision, 5 Dice, Storybots, Google Earth, Quizlet


What if a Child Doesn't Have a Device?

This is a bridge that has to be crossed. While every child in my class does not bring a device, those that do have learned to share. They do not hand their device over to their classmates, but offer to share the screen and let them research or explore with them.

Another option is allowing those that do not have devices access to computers that are nearby. Students in my class have the opportunity to use my device, which I shield with this amazing case from Amazon. Small groups can work together to find Internet tools that work the same as an app or a device.

The purpose of the device in the classroom is to engage students in their learning. It allows for more than one way of exploring topics and ideas that are then discussed within the classroom setting.

What about you? What are ways you incorporate devices into your classroom instruction? I’d love to hear from you.


Comments (8)

Hi Brian!

I believe it can work with all grade levels. As long as you set the parameters around your expectations. I've seen it work in grades as low as 1st, but I've also seen my four-year old son work his magic on a device. It's definitely possible!

Thank you for reading!

I completely agree! This strategy is great, especially if you have a student who uses assistive technology regularly. Allowing all students to use their devices would be an easy way to make that student not stand out.

I agree Rachel. It is wonderful to see the kids work together and teach each other how to use the technology.

Thank you for reading!

I've done BYOD for the last 4 years or so. I started with second grade and then brought it up to third. I was an amazing experience for both myself and the children. (I'm not doing it this year because I'm out of the classroom as the technology teacher now.)

Hi Tara,

How wonderful was it to have a group that you could loop with? Did this make it easier when the year started? As the technology teacher, what types of strategies and advice could you give to those that are interested in starting BYOD in their classrooms? What about Apps people should try? I'd love to hear more from you!

Thank you for reading!

I agree...great post! I'm considering trying this with my students. I teach third grade.

Hi Anna,

So glad to hear! Please let me know if there is any way I can help to get you started. One day at a time is my best advice. I started with just "Tech Thursdays" and didn't branch out until I was really comfortable with how I wanted to manage the whole thing. I would love to hear more about your progress!

Thank you for reading!

Hey Kriscia
With you having done the BYOD - what is the youngest grade you would recommend this to?
Great blog post!

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