Reluctant to use BOYD? Read This First! 
A few years ago, Putnam County Schools adopted a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy as a way to infuse technology into every classroom with every student and as a means of continuing learning beyond school hours.  Many teachers eagerly joined the movement and continue to permit the use of personal devices by their students for various activities and projects.  Classrooms allowing for this have specific rules and guidelines that must be adhered to for the BYOD usage to work.

There are also many teachers who are cautious and skeptical of allowing students to use a cell phone in class.  They are concerned that students will search for inappropriate content, misuse the cameras or simply break the device.  These concerns are valid and rational.  Not all students are responsible and follow the rules.  So, what can be done to help teachers monitor BYOD usage and ensure the proper and ethical use of personal devices?

Let's just take a moment and reflect on the reasons Putnam County Schools first encouraged the BYOD policy.  BYOD is an efficient way for the district to reach a one-to-one initiative with students in the district   Students are more familiar with their own devices, making them more productive when using their tablets or laptops. Students have instant access to information if they have a computing device with them at all times.  When using their own device for school work, students tend to be more organized and better able to take responsibility for their learning.

Below is a list of tips that the PCS Technology Department recommends when beginning BYOD usage with your students.
  • Policies and Practices - Establish classroom policies, with the help of your students, that cultivate a collaborative culture of expectations.
  • Classroom Areas - Create zones in your classroom to help manage the devices. 
    • Ensure students understand BYOD usage is only acceptable when the teacher approves it.
    • Establish a charging area with a power strip; students provide the charging cables and adapters.
    • Designate an area for the devices to be stored when not in use - central "parking lot" or inside a backpack or desk.
  • Signage - Help students know when use is acceptable.
    • Provide visual cures alerting students when devices are to be in use, when they can be charged and when they are to be stored.  A stop light could be used for this.
    • Label the charging area clearly.
  • Move Around Walk around the room during device usage to let students know that you are watching and confirming that they are on task.
  • Get Involved - Participate in an activity with the students.  Have your mobile device handy at all times and work through activities with the students.
  • Partner - Allow students to work together when some do not have devices.
    • Assign pairs or small groups to work together with the device owner using the cell phone or tablet.
    • Design lessons with a cooperative component (answer a poll, research topics and take notes or complete an online quiz).
  • Frequent Use - Use the devices often. The novelty using a phone in class will soon wear off, and the temptation to stray from appropriate use will diminish... And students will get used to using a device for various tasks and assignments.
  • Educational Sites - Post QR links to frequently used educational sites so that students can simply scan the QR code and be taken to the site. 
  • Educational Tools - Select tools and websites that seamlessly integrate into your lessons.  Think first of the learning objective when determining tools for the classroom use of BYOD.
  • Classroom Landscape - Change the desk arrangement for BYOD use, either permanently or when the devices are in use.  Ensure that you can walk freely about the room and observe student use of the devices.
  • Consistent Phrases - Use the same words when you need student attention and to control usage issues.  Examples - "Face Down" should be used to get students' attention and cause them to turn over their devices and look at you; "Shut Down Warning" means to wrap it up and shut down devices; "Hands Up" is hands off and look at me; "100% Eyes" means stop and look at me.

For more information and tips on implementing BYOD in your classroom, check out this link.

Posted by kim.sigman On 03 January, 2018 at 7:51 AM  

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