Our school has moved to implement a BYOD (Bring your Own Device) policy for 2014.
We have spent the last 6 months exploring what is best for our community and practically possible for students, as well as their teachers. There are a variety of opinions, challenges and POVs but a specific model has been chosen. Thinking has evolved since I last posted about BYOD and presented these options:
• a) LOCKED DOWN – provide the laptops (or devices) for students
• b) REQUIREMENTS – Provide parents with the preferred devices, software and retailers
• c) BYO ANYTHING – as long as it connects to the internet
We are moving from the DER supported option a to option c with some specification for Year 9 students. Option b was just not going to work, especially in the shorter term. The parents of students who have devices did not want to buy new equipment and often, in a time of constant change, making a deal with a vendor who is keen to take advantage of the post-DER environment by making attractive offers to schools (and dare I say it, appears to be one of many big businesses struggling in a dynamic market) is not an arrangement the school wishes to make at this stage. The school is likely to have BYOD for Y7-12 by the start of 2015.
One of the most important issues the parents wanted us to consider was equity. This is also the number 1 concern of staff and the executive at the school.
Our surveys indicated that up to 30% of our students in Year 9, 2014 would not be providing a device for school. Not all families returned the survey so we will not truly know the exact numbers until early next year but it is a significant minority.
We have been able to install Ubuntu on the older Lenovos in our technology pool at school. We have also experimented with Chromium which loads much faster on the Lenovos. Our conclusion is that Ubuntu is best for students who do not have internet access at home.
We are also recommending Open Office and GIMP for students who do not have access to other software. It is likely that students will be able to download Microsoft and Adobe software in 2014 but the exact arrangements are unclear to state schools at this stage.
We will understand the challenges for families and in classrooms much better as the next 6 months unfold but it is essential not to focus on technology too much. We have made good progress over the last five years employing technology for learning but need to reinvigorate our thinking about pedagogy (a never-ending, often fun process) in 2014.
Our professional development opportunities at the school will have a BYOD focus in coming months. Of course, we need to have good processes that ensure that tech difficulties are ameliorated quickly and do not get in the way of learning but more importantly, we need to think differently about the opportunities this change of direction will provide. The SAMR model is a particularly good one for supporting pedagogy.
Here is a brief video explanation of the model you will find useful if unacquainted with SAMR:
I will continue to add resources to my SAMR Diigo tag and post presentations used at school and conferences in 2014. It should be an exciting year for our students and teachers. I am particularly excited that we have a partnership with our local municipal library who will provide each student with a membership card which allows access to ebooks/audiobooks online and will report on how that progresses too.
There are some schools making good progress in the post-DER funding world and we need to share our successes and failures in 2014. Our recent BYOD ‘fun day’ with Year 8 was successful in that students connected to the wifi and teachers made use of the devices BUT, the largest single group were students without devices! It is particularly important to share how we are managing equity issues and pedagogy as 2014 unfolds!
FEATURED IMAGE: cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by Tim Klapdor: http://flickr.com/photos/timklapdor/8448164657/