AL DíA #2: BYOD- Should we?

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It's too late to ask if we should do BYOD, isn't it? Many of us have already embarked on this journey, or implemented it. In my old district, the superintendent just asked, "Can we have this start next month?" The assumption was that all the infrastructure (e.g. bandwidth, wireless access points) and policies were all in place. Of course, they weren't. I'm reminded of the old leadership quote...

To Be a Great Leader, Ask Questions, Don't Answer Them

That question my old superintendent asked me set us on a path of discovery and upgrades. He set the direction simply by asking the question, "Can we have BYOD start next month?" While the answer was "No," it was important to explain WHY the answer was no and how we could turn each NO into a YES.

But, perhaps, a more profound question is the one suggested by this blog entry....
So when you do BYOD you agree that you are not going to maximize the possible use of the devices as faculty and student juggle the disparity between experiences - so the argument that schools save money by not going 1:1 with the same device is questionable.   It may not be easily counted, but the cost (time & frustration) should be noted...I understand the BYOD choice is often made by schools who can't afford a 1:1 program -- they want to get technology into their students & teachers hands. 
But, if your school really wants to deeply & meaningful embed technology into your school, standardize the device.  Put the cognitive load onto problems, not juggling different devices.
Should we adopt BYOD/BYOT in our schools? If the focus is on the devices, rather than the learning, then the answer to the question is NO. Consider this perspective:
In the rush to control students’ devices, we have overlooked the “moment of teaching.” Very few teachers are able to accomplish ordinary tasks, such as grabbing a picture from a document camera and getting it to each student device, without having to halt instruction and fiddle with far too many steps to integrate into teaching.
Some may argue that basic skills for teachers are needed. In fact, I recall seeking to standardize a list of tasks all teachers, instructional staff, and other employees in K-12 schools should know how to do. And, that list would be a requirement for continued employment. But the realities of implementation can easily derail such grand schemes, depending on who's in charge. Political capital may be spent elsewhere (e.g. no homework policies in the face of community opposition, or switching to no grades assessment policy).

The truth is, only so many initiatives can be put in place before we achieve "initiative fatigue."
The Law of Initiative Fatigue states that when the number of initiatives increases while time, resources, and emotional energy are constant, then each new initiative—no matter how well conceived or well intentioned—will receive fewer minutes, dollars, and ounces of emotional energy than its predecessors. (Source)
Does BYOD fall into yet another list of initiatives that distract from learning and teaching in the classroom?

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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