Monday, March 2, 2015
5 Common Mistakes Schools and Teachers Make When Implementing BYOD
Not creating a policy first
In the early days of BYOD, many teachers would get excited by the idea and immediately ask their students to take out their cell phones in class for an activity. While there was initial excitement, this also led to some students abusing the tool and using it in non-educative ways. It is important that teachers work with their students to develop rules and structures BEFORE asking them to take out their devices to use in the classroom. Once rules are in place, then the students know the expectations and consequences for misuse, and distractions are less likely to happen.
Requiring that all teachers use the devices
Over the past five years, school districts have written district-wide policies about how BYOD can be used in the classroom. Some of those schools have chosen to require that teachers use student's devices, despite teachers not being comfortable or not seeing a strong educative purpose. Teachers should be given a choice, just as they have other choices in other tools used in their lesson planning. Forcing teachers to do something they are not comfortable with or that they do not think is in the best interest of the children, will not yield positive results. Teachers may even resent the new policy in the end.
Of course teachers are innovative and creative, thus when they hear about a new way to use cell phones in learning, they tend to think really big and come up with complicated ideas for how to integrate them. Yet, as with most technologies, a small pilot is a more manageable way to begin. Teachers can do small optional projects for homework and then simple activities in the classroom. Districts can ask a group of teachers to pilot the BYOD policy, rather than all the teachers in the district.
Assuming ALL kids and parents have cell phones
While cell phones are becoming more ubiquitous amongst children and adults, there are still plenty (mostly lower SES) that do not have access or do not have access to higher-end devices such as Smartphones. Teachers need to be careful about relying too much on just using apps and websites with BYOD. Inevitably some of their students will only have a feature phone that can text and make a phone call but no Internet. Teachers need to make sure they have surveyed their students so they know the types of phones, plans and access that their students actually have. Then design BYOD lessons for ALL students.
Doing something because it is "shiny"
BYOD is very sexy. When you see a picture of students using their own devices in classrooms, the thought is that they are innovative 21st century learners. However, just because students are using their devices does not mean that the learning goals are being met in a way that is enhanced. It may actually be the opposite, students may be distracted by the app they are using on their phones, and not focusing on the content learning. Teachers need to make sure they are designing BYOD with the end goals in mind, and not designing based on a new fun app or mobile resource they just learned about.
What are some other pitfalls that schools or teachers fall into when implementing BYOD? I would love to hear from you?
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