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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.