A dear friend at St. Peters Lutheran School in Blackwood, South Australia, asked for wisdom as they trial a BYOD program. I can’t promise any wisdom here, but here’s my 5-minute attempt to hammer out my top 10 tips. I’d be glad to expound more on any one of these if asked. So, for a school entering into a BYOD program, consider these thoughts:
- Make the wi-fi infrastructure as robust as possible, and it’s improvement a budgetary priority.
- Get the technology in the hands of the teachers and encourage play and exploration (even for personal use).
- Value and encourage teachers’ personal learning networks (PLNs) as a critical element of staff development and constant source of growth and opportunity to share.
- Focus on the verbs (the action words in your outcome statements – think Bloom’s taxonomy) which change little whilst allowing students the flexibility to choose the nouns (their tech tools and apps of choice) which constantly evolve.
- Give students opportunities to lead the teachers into their future.
- Encourage a culture of problem-solvers amongst staff and students.
- Spot the champions and give them extra support.
- Emphasise and intentionally teach digital citizenship and ethics, as well as, other recognised 21st century skills.
- Accept that internet filters and security, etc, are essential but can’t replace quality teachers with good lesson design and effective classroom management.
- Stop getting in the way of student learning and exploration.
From reading “Why do we use technology in our learning programme?” in the latest St. Peters school newsletter, I gather that they’re on the right track with BYOD. I appreciate their quote in that article, ““Technological change has an impact on the way communities function” because that means they recognise the impact BYOD will have on school culture and are ready to make a difference for the future.