Waking Up From My iPad Dream

A few years ago, my school board began using iPads. (Paperless School Board Meetings with iPads ~ Mike Oliveri, The EdTech Samurai) The move made a lot of sense considering the large volume of paper work that each board member must have access to at each meeting. Shortly after the school board began using iPads, the dream of a 1:1 iPad program within my school district emerged.

I was selected to be a member of my district’s iPad committee. The committee was given the task of planning and evaluating the district’s 1:1 iPad pilot program. The iPad pilot program has only recently started, and it’s far too early for an evaluation of it. However, I have decided to jump ship. and push towards the adoption of a BYOT program over of a 1:1 iPad program.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPad! Not a single day goes by that I don’t use my iPad for both professional and personal reasons. I’m an Apple devotee, I’ve drank the “Apple Kool-Aid” without regrets and don’t ever plan on returning to PC world.

Why do I feel a BYOT program beats a 1:1 iPad program?

At first, my decision, to support BYOT over iPad, was based purely on the financial impracticality of my school district placing a $500.00 tech device into the hands of each student. My district is in the midst of dealing with serious building issues, and cannot financially fund a 1:1 iPad program at this time. But even if money was not an issue, I would still be urging my district to go BYOT instead of iPads. This is why…

  • If the process of integrating technology into a curriculum is to be both natural and seamless, then both students and teachers should be able to use the digital devices that they are most comfortable with.

Not everyone has drank the “Apple Kool-Aid” like I have. Even though I did, and loved it, I believe it’s a good thing that not everyone has. I believe diversity in technology spawns creativity. Limiting students to a specific device, app or software limits their creativity and stifles student engagement.

  • Not every teacher utilizes technology at the same level.

Nothing like stating the obvious.  I work with great teachers. My co-workers incorporate technology, into their classrooms at different levels. Some utilize technology in almost every lesson they teach, and some use technology “less often”. If my district made the financial commitment to a 1:1 iPad program, it would be easy to imagine parents and  tax payers expecting (maybe even demanding) that the iPads be used daily in each classroom. If students bring in their own devices, then the pressure is off teachers to force technology into their curriculum and instead to allow it occur naturally.

  • Technology must be student-centric and not just teacher-centric.

Create, consume, and collaborate are the three main requirements of BYOT devices. Whatever mobile digital device a student is most comfortable with, and meets the three main criteria should be the device the student uses in the classroom. Why force a student who is comfortable and proficient with one device to use a different device?

Teachers need to shift their focus away from the use of a specific software/app and instead focus on the educational goal. With today’s diverse choices in technology, students should no longer be assigned to create PowerPoints, but instead be assigned to create  presentations. The presentations could be a PowerPoints,  a Keynotes, a Prezis, an iMovies, or any number of presentation tools that students would be comfortable using. When students are assigned to write papers, the assignment should not stipulate which word processing program be used.

Schools have absolutely no idea what types digital devices our current students will be using in ten years. The only thing that anyone is absolutely sure of is that future devices will be far more advanced. Going BYOT will keep students more current in technology than my school district could financially afford.

  • When my district lifted the ban on cell phones and iPods, we immediately became an unofficial BYOT school.

All campuses within my school district are wireless. Students already currently access the district’s wifi network with their own mobile devices. At the discretion of each classroom teacher, students already are using mobile devices. Unofficially, we are a BYOT school.

  • The idea of a school computer lab is no longer current.

“Ok, I will sign my class up to use technology on Tuesday during 4th period.”
“We only have 20 computers in the lab that work, so six of you will have to find a partner to share a computer.”

In discussing BYOT with a colleague, he told me, “All you need to do, to sell BYOT to teachers, is tell them that they no longer need to sign up for the lab.”  BYOT allows a class to move into the 21st Century without the hassle of changing rooms or scheduling the use of a computer lab.  Would anyone send their child to a doctor who had to schedule the use of a computer in advance?

We’re on the right path …

After our last  iPad committee meeting, the entire committee is in agreement that BYOT is the solution for our district’s 1:1 computing goal.  Many of the members were already BYOT supporters.

Not yet sold on BYOT, then …

I strongly encourage everyone to read “7 Myths About BYOD Debunked” by Lisa Nielsen (www.thejournal.com, Nov. 9, 2011) Ms. Nielsen does a terrific job of debunking common misconceived beliefs about BYOT.

Three schools that are leaders in BYOT.

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5 responses to “Waking Up From My iPad Dream

  1. Great article :) I agree that students and even some teachers will BTOT. In that scenario, without some level of structure/uniformity, how do we plan for intentional professional development and meaningful curricular integration, much less the kind of standard “measures of success” that have eluded our industry for so long? I’m asking because I’m curious how your group answered this common question. Thanks!

    • Personally, I feel that my district has not succeed in addressing the critical issue of intentional professional development. We have done some (e.g. most recently on how and why to use “Dropbox”) but then failed to give teachers time to practice the skill during the instruction, which as you know is a key component in intentional professional development. We have also discussed the possibility of implementing differentiated instructional methods into professional development. I will post updates on our BYOT program as it develops. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Pingback: Waking Up From My iPad Dream | Jewish Education & Technology | Scoop.it

  3. Pingback: Waking Up From My iPad Dream | 1:1 and BYOD | Scoop.it

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. Ill probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

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