The topic of BYOD-Bring Your Own Device is gaining momentum—educators simply cannot ignore it. Last year, at the Long Island Tech Summit, members of the educational technology team of the New York Comprehensive Center said the implementation of BYOD programs has become a highly polarized subject in the educational community but that based on the success of early adopters of BYOD programs, it is likely that more will be implemented in the near future.
“Education must move with the times. What can be done to reach a technology-savvy generation that relies on media every free second of their time?” writes blogger Miriam Clifford, who holds a Masters in Teaching from City University and a Bachelor in Science from Cornell.
“BYOD-Bring Your Own Device, is a trend that is catching on quickly. Bring Your Own Device has transformed the classroom by creating new opportunities for learning,” she continued.
Researchers have found that 81 percent of Generation Y connects wirelessly and 73 percent of them use social networking to connect with others—and educators can use these facts to their advantage. According to Clifford, “Much like calculators and ball point pens, it took a while for educators to accept the BYOD trend, but it is becoming commonly accepted.”
The reasons to implement BYOD are compelling. Here are just a few:
Interactive Learning - The possibilities for interactive learning are an exciting aspect of BYOD. According to Clifford, “Teachers and students might create podcasts, use a software voting tool such as Polleverywhere, or design a digital scavenger hunt.” Students can also easily access links and references to additional learning resources, such as study guides, research articles, chapter outlines and even interactive exams that monitor progress and provide valuable feedback.
Differential Instruction – The flexibility of media allows teachers to more readily meet individualized learning needs. For example, there are many online tools available to help students with disabilities; and translation tools are readily accessible for English language learners. Advanced students can access applications appropriate to their level and practice individually. Clifford points out that some districts are using programs like Think through Math, which tutors students online in real time.
Learning Outside of the Classroom – Think of the possibilities here! Utilizing online communication features, students can readily reach beyond the borders of the classroom to communicate with community or local leaders. As a matter of fact, Clifford confirms that “millenniums are more likely than any other generation to contact leaders and engage in community service projects.” Students can apply learning to real life through virtual “field trips.” They can take virtual tours of museums or places of artistic or scientific interest and report on them. They can also advertise collaborative projects via Facebook.
Engaged Learning – Using the devices they are altogether comfortable and familiar with, BOYD can empower students to take greater charge of their learning. Rather that directors, teachers can become managers of learning, guiding students to formulate their own hypothesis and directing them to the resources they will need to answer questions they frame. Empowered learners become eager and engaged learners!
But, the fact that BYOD offers these and many other undisputable budgetary and digital learning benefits still leaves many questions for schools looking to implement BYOD—questions involving etiquette and disciplinary policies, infrastructure capabilities, inadequacies of technology, and professional development.
So, how do schools address the many questions involved with this seemingly irreversible trend? We’ll cover those issues in a follow-up article.
What are your thoughts about BYOD? We’d like to hear from you. Please include your comments below or on our Long Island Living Discussion Forum.