Should students use their own devices in the classroom?
Most respondents believe that “bring your own device” (BYOD)
is a solution whose time has come.
BYOD Is Not to Blame
As districts struggle to meet the challenge of unfunded mandates with
shrinking budgets, it makes sense to
explore ways to maximize return on
technology investment and leverage the
potential of all available technology to
transform teaching and learning. While
opponents argue that mobile technologies contribute to student distraction
and facilitate cheating, the truth is that
distraction occurs when students lack
meaningful, relevant interaction with
content, and cheating is greatly diminished when assessments require students to apply what they have learned to
solve complex, real-world problems.
Supervisor of Instructional Technology
Bradenton, Florida, USA
Tech Support Reality Check
For an IT department to effectively
support students, devices need the
best warranties available to protect
against defects and damage. Devices
need to be insured to ensure they can
be replaced in the event of loss or
theft. Parts, supplies, and hot-swap replacement units should be on hand so
equipment is down only temporarily.
When students and their families are
responsible for acquiring equipment,
corners will be cut, and every configuration will be different. Repair work
on laptops can be lengthy and costly
and would lead to excuses for missing
work rather than the productivity expected from a one-to-one program.
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Three BYOD Benefits
First, students could become more
engaged in academics because their
favorite toys are linked to what they
do in school. The portable nature of
these devices means students can extend their learning activities beyond
the classroom. Second, additional
technology assets would benefit classrooms where such assets are lacking.
Students could take pictures/videos,
record notes, communicate with
group members, or measure objects
while away from school. Third, it’s an
opportunity to link students’ lives with
the content they study. Why create the
false impression that technology tools
are for personal and social use only?
Project Coordinator, ALEC
Pikesville, Maryland, USA
Not long ago, computers in the classroom were seen as giving students too
much freedom to get themselves into
trouble. Teachers were concerned about
keeping track of what students were
viewing on their monitors. How did
we overcome this perceived obstacle?
We taught our students procedures and
expectations. We signed acceptable use
contracts. We explained our expectations for proper computer usage. We
hammered in the consequences of what
would happen if someone decided to
abuse this privilege. We did what good
teachers do—[we were] aware of what
was happening in our classrooms.
Cherona D. Hicklin
Joplin, Missouri, USA
Give Them Their Freedom
Every day in school, students must “
forget” about the information control and
functionality their phones give them
to browse, research, monitor, network,
shop, and entertain. While they might
view a photo just posted to Facebook
from a friend’s mobile as the catalyst to
a conversation, their teacher considers it
a distraction from learning. But curating
all their web content and interactions
doesn’t teach them responsible use, it
just sequesters them behind a firewall.
“Suspicion invites treachery.”—Voltaire
Portland, Oregon, USA
You Can’t Cheat at Critical Thinking
You can’t provide a 21st century education without using 21st century tools.
When I first began my teaching career,
I taught my students how to enter a
three-line BASIC program to check
their answers to their math problems.
“How do you know the students aren’t
going to cheat?” parents asked. “Well,
that’s not the point,” I said. Through the
use of this new piece of technology, all
of my students had the opportunity to
apply problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills, collaboration skills, and
self-assessment, leading to improved
self-confidence and a lifelong love for
learning. How do you cheat at that?
Waterboro, Maine, USA