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Bring Your Own Technology - Getting started for Teachers and Schools
The why and how of Piedmont's BYOT rollout -shared by request for those just getting started.
Don't force implementation
no procedures need change in a teacher's room until they are ready
Don't force teachers to use BYOT in their classes or attend training, just create procedures, share best practices and rules, turn the guest network on and let the "early adopter" teachers have at it. Others will come when they are ready as they realize the great benefit it can be. Toward that end, check out the video on this page Real Teachers Talk Tech . It describes the natural progression of our teachers turning tech-y as BYOT became more of a natural event.
That being said, resistant teachers may want to take note that the "real world" is BYOT -- students feel handicapped when they are not allowed to use tech, especially as they get used to googling as their curiosity dictates, snapping photos of work they wish to keep, or using an online calendar to keep up with assignments. Teachers who choose not to use BYOT should devote appropriate time being clearly explaining to students the reasoning for their choice. Otherwise students will naturallly feel resentful being hampered from learning and organizational tools they use in real life and other classroom. If this is not done, students will feel resentful and class climate will suffer.
Contrary to what some fear, BYOT is more of a socioeconomic equalizer than it is a divider.
Your poorest students will greatly appreciate the free wifi- something the richer students have at home already so this helps level the playing field and at least give access.
Students don't mind using an older device and the smaller the better for many students across all socio levels. For those students whose "tough" image means they don't want to be seen "doing school", note that in my experience at the middle and high school levels those same children who are embarrassed to bring a bookbag and who never seem to have paper and pencil are actually more likely to have a phone or ipod touch.
Remind students that an old no-service phone will work and that what they bring is a matter of personal preference--doesn't have to be a smart phone and thanks to school providing wifi their device doesn't need a data plan! We have kids using cracked screen phones, ipod touches, old no-service phones, kindles, the whole gamut and no one seems to mind or be judgemental.
BYOT Tips for Teachers
Sample BYOT Rules and regulations
This was our application for Piedmont to be chosen as a BYOT school in our district - Some of the application is reprinted below, but includes rationale and step by step timeline. Remember this was written before we actually rolled it out--I have to say it was a lot less "fuss" than the application makes it seem. It was very natural.
BYOT Device Registration Form
We created this form to help keep track of devices being used on our campus
BYOT Q and A
Q:Which devices work for BYOT?
A:Remember BYOT is optional. Students do not NEED to bring any device at all. Some will like the convenience of using a device. If so, any device (see below) with wifi capability will work with BYOT so whatever tech fits your child and the family budget is what's best to purchase. Try to get an idea of what your child prefers, but here's a quick pro con list for families that have several options to consider:
Full size laptop
E-reader or mini tablet (iPad mini, Kindle, Nook)
Cell Phone, or iPod touch
Most students report being satisfied with the device they currently have. Everything has limitations in all cases the most important thing I can recommend is a protective cover or case for whatever you choose!
Email me at the envelope icon att his page if you have any specific questions. For shoppers, most stores will be happy to demo the options they sell and then you can compare prices on the internet as well if desired.
Q: How do you start using BYOT wireless network?
A: Next time when you want students to research or use the web, you would allow them to take out their phones or other electronic device. Kids would go to their settings and connect to the wifi by choosing the cms unlocked guest network. There is no password but hey must click "accept" when the cms screen pops up. It may be a long time before everyone can get on wifi at once so be aware the whole school can't be surfing. It must for now just be for specific lessons. PLEASE Do not let kids suck up our bandwidth playing that another teacher may need for a lesson. That would be breaking rule 1. Also, it is fine if you want kids to type notes. If possible, have them do any work like notetaking or paper typing offline and synch to the cloud later (email me if you want me to demo how to do this).
Q: What if I can't join the guest network?
If you have checked your settings and chosen the network and accepted and still cant get on, it may be that all the access points are full. Until more bandwidth and access points (hotspots) are installed we will be more of a true "get on whenever you want environment". For now, check with neighbors whose wifi hotspot is near you and take turns giving it a try at a time when the others aren't going to be on wifi. Also note wifi will be much slower during testing as well as other high use times.
Q: How should we use BYOT?
1-For independent learning - At teacher discretion, students are welcome to use BYOT for online and ebook reading, research, cloud storage of notes and projects, etc.Teachers may also use it for their personal devices, however the wifi is student filtered for all since there is no login feature with the guest network.
2-For class assignments- Students can also use BYOT for class assignments when teachers choose this option. BYOT integration can be as simple as no longer needing to save for later or skip those questions in your textbook review pages that say " take students to the library and have the students research " or "Bring in a newspaper article about _" With BYOT, students can be researching right in your room.
3-For much more. Check out the 3 videos at the very bottom of this post (scroll down) to spark your thinking:
Q:What if someone isn't comfortable using BYOT?
For Further Reading:
This blog is a compendium of District and Piedmont -specific PD opportunities, trainings, and notes.