Are you nervous about BYOD? If you are, that’s okay. Feeling anxious about something new is natural. Change is exciting but it is also a bit scary.
Review the questions teachers have about BYOD. The answers should alleviate some of your concerns.
Do I have to be an IT expert?
No, you don’t. Students are to be familiar with how to use their own device. Teachers are not IT support staff. Resources will be available to help students connect their device to the network. For help with apps locate student experts that can assist their peers. Please note, assistance should be limited to how to use the app. Peers should not install software on another student’s device nor alter device settings.
Do I have to know how to use ALL the applications on EVERY device?
No, you don’t. You don’t need to be an expert in everything. Students are to be familiar with how to use the apps on their own device. However, to design lessons that integrate technology into curriculum it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with how to use popular web apps. You may also wish to have student experts assist peers with how to use apps.
Will BYOD create an unfair learning environment?
No, it won’t. Participation in BYOD is voluntary for students. You must create an equitable learning environment that does not penalize students without devices. To create equal access to technology take advantage of a lending library, book a mobile cart, schedule computer lab time, or use computers in the back of the classroom. As well, design activities that have a collaborative component to pair those students without a device, with device holders. In addition, develop a range of options for students to demonstrate their learning so that there is a choice to create traditional paper and pencil, as well as digital products.
Am I going to have to be responsible if a device gets stolen or broken?
No, you’re not. The issue of damage or theft will be handled according to existing school policy. Just as if a jacket or bike is stolen, calculator broken, or ball flattened, the issue will be handled by the school principal. However, in many BYOD policy documents, parents are encouraged to purchase additional insurance.
Am I going to have extra work?
Somewhat. There is a learning curve associated with familiarizing yourself with various web apps. However, on the plus side many web apps can save teachers time through automatically grading systems or allowing them easy access to student work digitally.
Will students be able to access inappropriate content?
Somewhat. BYOD will allow students access to the school WIFI network. The Internet filter will work to restrict inappropriate web based content. However, this tool is not flawless and supervision will still be required. Moreover, since the device belongs to the student, theoretically they could install apps or have content that is inappropriate for a school environment. Handling this issue should be built into the BYOD policy. Bringing a device to school is a privilege that can be revoked if abused.
Will BYOD cause students a distraction?
Perhaps at first. Establish rules and routines to help students learn how to use their device appropriately. You will need to discuss explicitly how to behave as digital citizens and frequently revisit the expectations associated with having a device.
Will the use of the device be teacher directed?
Yes. Administrators will encourage you to develop curriculum that integrates the use of student devices. However, when and how they are used will be at the sole discretion of the teacher. There is the risk that students may complain that one teacher in the school provides them with more access than another teacher. Do not feel peer pressured. Encourage your students to respect the differences in their learning experiences and the requirement of different subject areas.
Will there be an increase of plagiarism?
No. Devices do make it easier to copy and paste digital content. However, students need to respect copyright laws. Discuss plagiarism and explain how to rephrase text and properly cite the source of information. As well, you can use online apps to verify the originality of student work.