In 2014, our students are not the same learners that we were. They are the digital generation and have grown up enveloped by technology as a normal part of their daily lives. They live in a multi-device world, where they are continuously connected and can easily access information on-demand through mobile devices.
Today it is no longer a question of whether or not to use technology in our classrooms. Rather, it is a question about what device(s) to use and how we can effectively use these devices, providing our students and teachers with the best teaching and learning environment possible.
With so many devices available today, districts are faced with significantly more questions:
- Should we go 1:1 and supply devices?
- Purchase a set of devices for every one?
- Should we instead let teachers and students bring their own devices to school?
- And no matter what choice you make, there are still concerns about WiFi, network security, and maintenance.
We wanted to present you with resources that provide tips and strategies, as well as a selection of informative articles, that will help get you started on the road to successful device selection and/or BYOD.
Planning the Strategy: Tools – Content – Device
Determine and publicize goals and objectives: Learning and achievement should drive the need for devices. Publicizing those goals and your plan for selections to parents and the community will generate early buy in.
Select a core, device-agnostic platform/set of tools: A learning platform or set of tools that is consistently used at all grade levels on varying devices builds technology competence and avoids annual retraining of students as they change teachers.
Select and plan content: The content students access is far more important than how they access it. Review your current options for relevance and rigor, have a plan for new, rigorous content, and publicize this information to increase buy-in from all stakeholders.
Ensure adequate connectivity: The best content and tools on a really great device have no value if no one can connect. Make sure your network is strong from the pipe all the way through to the capacity of every router.
Resources Studies on Mobile Learning:
Tapping into Mobile Learning
From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Digital conversion of the K-12 Classroom
Living and Learning with Mobile Devices
How to Articles
Why Your School Should Consider a BYOD Initiative
How to start a BYOD Program
How to Prepare your Network for BYOD
We also suggest that you solicit lessons learned from sources you trust, and look to schools within your district or nearby districts for advice on what did or did not work for them. Join conversations on Twitter like #Gadgets, where you can see discussions and post questions on general gadgets and device topics. On LinkedIn there is a group called Fans of Product-Reviews.net that you can join: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Fans-ProductReviewsnet-3777145. There are no better resources than your peers that have tried and succeeded or failed.