Great points and quotable quotes from Texas' own, Tim Holt!
Encouraging Innovation - EDTECH: Focus On K-12
- Encouraging Innovation By Tim Holt
- In 2008, Scarborough Research named El Paso, Texas, the top texting market in the United States among cell phone users age 18 and older. As director of instructional technology for the 65,000-student El Paso Independent School District, I find this statistic telling.
- If you count cell phones and other Wi-Fi–capable devices, K–12 may be close to achieving a one-to-one student-to-computer ratio — the Holy Grail of educational technology. We've gotten there, in large part, through no concerted effort of our own.
- Will Richardson, author of the influential educational technology blog Weblogg-ed, likes to hold up his cell phone and tell his audience that students have access to "the sum total of human knowledge in a device the size of a deck of cards."
- Most schools prohibit the use of personal electronics on campus. But this ban rarely applies to faculty and administrators. Students see the hypocrisy of these policies, of course, and bring their gadgets anyway, betting that teachers are too preoccupied to catch them while they text under their desks — the 21st century equivalent of note passing.
- Planning and training are key to any implementation of a "bring your own technology," or BYOT, initiative. IT departments, for example, need to learn how to come to peaceful terms with devices they have fought against for years. Here are a few pointers to make the transition easier:
- Consult with your curriculum department to determine where student-owned devices would be used most often. Should these devices be allowed districtwide, restricted to certain grade levels or available only in select locations on each campus?
- Expect resistance from your network staff. How will you deal with their concerns about bandwidth, filtering and other related issues? Have a plan in place before you embrace BYOT.
- Pilot the program at select campuses to identify and eliminate unforeseen bugs. Start small, then go big. Expect to encounter a few bumps along the way; setbacks are learning experiences, not roadblocks.
- Remember: You aren't the first to try this. Seek out other districts that have made the switch to BYOT and ask for their advice.
- Students must be taught how to use their electronics for education instead of entertainment.
- administrators must collaborate with technology and curriculum personnel to develop acceptable-use policies that allow for the influx of student-owned devices.
- Parents must be educated about what their children's schools will and will not allow.
- Kevin Honeycutt, a fellow educational technology blogger and industry speaker, likes to say that at the electronic buffet of knowledge that is the Internet, our students are eating the napkins because no one is showing them where the meat and potatoes are located.
- Tim Holt, director of instructional technology for the El Paso (Texas) Independent School District, speaks frequently about technology integration in schools. Follow him at timholt.net or plurk.com/timholt.
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