Guest Blogger: @hrogerson
An Introduction to BYOD – Bring Your Own Device
At Easter 2014 our parents were asked to get ready to provide their daughters with an iPad ready to start term in September. I was very excited about this. I am aware of other schools who have been doing this and I really wanted to take part too.
My first act was to buy a new scheme of work for key stage 3 that had an ebook textbook. I felt it was a great way to ensure there was a purpose to the students having devices.
During my summer holiday I bought myself a new iPad mini. I have an original ipad, but I was aware that it wouldn’t be up to the job. Some members of staff were given ipads by the school. But they couldn’t afford to give all staff devices.
I was aware of blog posts like this one: http://leadinglearner.me/2013/06/07/learners-at-the-centre-iii/ where schools had struggled to use devices enough to satisfy parents. There were other case studies on http://www.innovatemyschool.com where students didn’t feel devices were used enough. So I wanted to make sure my classes would use their devices for learning in constructive ways.
I spent some considerable time during the summer holidays experimenting with apps like audioboom, adobe voice, quizlet, nearpod, explain everything, imovie, moldiv, over, verso, and stop motion. I read blog posts and scanned Twitter for ideas of how devices could be used.
My favourite app is nearpod. I use it most lessons with year 11 and they appreciate it too. “I have to answer the questions” is a common response. I also like socrative and have bee n building a bank of quizzes, and I am working on using quizlet.
However, it has not been plain sailing. The infrastructure within the school was not ready for so many devices. we had hoped the school would have fibre optic broadband by September, we now hope to have it for January. WiFi coverage is not as comprehensive as we thought. I struggle when using nearpod as the WiFi protocols ‘chuck off’ inactive devices from the network, so students have to login again and again during a lesson. Without the infrastructure lessons have lost pace and things like streaming video to individual devices become very difficult.
As a staff we find it frustrating when students need to charge devices during lessons. In science there are plug sockets close by, but not always in other lessons. Students who forget a pen can borrow one, but not those who forget their ipads. Students who have been given mum or dad’s old iPad 1 cannot take part in many activities, as they cannot use the same apps. There are little bumps along the road.
I would not go back though, even with the negatives and issues we have I feel enthused by the use of devices in lessons. The ways that devices can be used to provide instant feedback of what students think and instant assessment (in the case of socrative) gives me another tool in my pedagogical tool kit.
The next step is to ensure the other teachers in the department and school are happy to use the devices as confidently as I am.