Thursday, April 21, 2016

Organize Your BYOT Classroom

"How do I get started?" It's a question that many teachers ask when considering Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT). It flows from a lack of awareness of what others are already doing in classrooms. As a technology director, the most challenging aspect of my job isn't the technical stuff...rather, it's helping people overcome the limitations they set upon themselves and others. It's easy to look at the completed product others have produced and say, "That's too hard. I can't do that."

In this article, I'd like to share 5 tips for organizing your BYOT classroom. The challenge isn't the technology, but rather, the limits you've accepted for the kind of person you want to be. And, if you accept those limitations, you will--not may, not probably, but you will--deny yourself, your colleagues and your students the benefits of being someone who transcends the limitations. Aren't you ready for a bowl of transcendence? I know I am!

"I'm not sure where to start. I have all these papers in this stack, my notebook of favorite activities, my documents on a flash drive. How do I put it all together?" A better question might be, How do you magnify your teacher superpower to a laser focus? The easiest way is to organize your materials and resources in some online space. If you had to look back over the last 5 years, the wiki as a tool for classroom organization has been obvious. Everyone abandoned paper, face to face approaches to distributing content and has moved online. It simply makes sense. These days, you might consider using OneNote, the awesomely easy to use tool.

What I like to do when creating a virtual space is to define three to four key areas and group content inside of that. If you're familiar with ethnographic research, it's like identifying the themes in the work you're doing. You are creating a resource, pouring your hard work over many years into buckets of content that will be easy to access...not only for yourself, your fellow educators, but also your students.

Tools like OneNote make it easy to engage learners with multimedia...from Slideshare embedding to audio/video, picture (inserted or online), it's easy to enhance your virtual space. No matter what device you have access to--laptop, desktop computer, iPad--you can easily create content online that is easy to view and process for students. A la flipped classroom approach, you can create video/audio content and blend it with text documents. Wrap it up and put it online in your wiki, OneNote, or whatever, connect it to a discussion forum of some sort, and you're ready to go. There are many approaches you could take, but one easy way is to use a tool like OneNote or Google Sites.

Note: This blog entry was supposed to have 5 tips but has been sitting in the DRAFT pile so long, I'm throwing it out there with minor mods. What other tips would YOU add?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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