Jun 30, 2014

BYOT! Why Wait?

One thing I have picked up from ISTE is that we, along with many other districts around us, are still very far behind in the implementation phase of many technology trends. With the type and number of technology tools available to us and our students, we have the capability to employ a vast array of apps, web tools, and social media tools for the purpose of learning. What's holding us back?

WiFi? Nope. As we speak our district is working hard to beef up our infrastructure so that wireless access is not an issue. For the past year or so, we have had wifi in most rooms of our secondary buildings and in select locations in our primary buildings. At the start of the school year, the entire district should see a vast improvement in connectivity.

Access to technology? Nope. Many of our buildings have access to at least one iPad cart or at the minimum a computer lab that can be used to infuse technology into our daily lessons. Many teachers are a bit leary of checking them out (iPads) due to student use or misuse, while still others are looking for that one way that iPads can be easily integrated. Others are a bit nervous about a technology they are not sure of. But in addition to district owned technology, our kids bring many tools to the table. They have iPods, iPhones, and Android phones. These could be employed for BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology).

Access to apps/tools? This one is also a no! There are so many free tools available on the web today, that there is simply no reason not to try them. Whether your are looking for a curation tool that helps you keep track of all the lesson plan ideas you find, or a tool to help you in your science lab, there are tons. Check out these tools from the ISTE conference. If the QR Codes are hard to scan, just google the titles of the apps. These just represent a small number of apps available for math.

What is holding us back? Ourselves. We are the guilty party. The tools and infrastructure are there. We just need to implement instead of talk about it. Many of us, myself included, will use the excuse that we just don't have time. Or the excuse that we just don't have a lesson that can be centered around technology. With this, there are two things to remember:

One - time is relative. You have to think of all the free time/wasted time that we have throughout the day. If you already have one of these devices (iPad, iPhone, Android Phone, Chrome book), you already have the means, you just need to use some of your wasted time to explore.

Two - technology should not be the focus of your lessons. It should be the tool to get you where you need to be. Whenever you have a lesson in which you find yourself saying, "I wish there were an easier way", that is the jumping off point for you to start exploring. Look for apps or ask someone if there is a tool that exists to get you there. BYOT allows us to use devices as calculators, graphing tools, writing tools (blogs, discussions), research tools, curation tools, data gathering tools, translators, cameras, recorders, art tools, document cameras, student response devices...the list goes on! For every time you wish you had a Smartboard, student response set of clickers, or document camera, guess what! An iPad can do all of those things.

So as you start the new school year, start thinking of how you can employ BYOT in your class, or think about how that iPad cart might benefit you. Start asking questions of your peers and don't be embarrassed. We all have to start somewhere.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad