Sunday, September 30, 2012
BYOT: 3 Observations of an Administrator
1. Students are overwhelmingly cooperative. One thing I heard over and over again as I encouraged the use of BYOT the last three years was that students would abuse this privilege. For example, I heard from teachers, parents, and fellow administrators alike that students would use the technology when they should not. Specifically, I was told that the hallways would resemble something of the Wild, Wild West with students talking on the phones, texting uncontrollably, surfing the web and many more other things while they should be retrieving their supplies and getting to class. This simply has not occurred. Hallway transitions have not been affected by BYOT. Recently, my school psychologist and I stood out in the hallway during a transition and did not see one device. Students were following the school expectation to be punctual to class and BYOT did not impede the expectation.
2. Teachers are excited! Perhaps, one of the coolest things for me to witness this year has been the excitement in teachers. If there is anything better than student engagement, it has to to be teacher engagement. It has been exciting to witness teachers teaching each other and sharing with each other how we can use tools such as wallwisher, polleverywhere, socrative, and calendar apps to assist students.
3. Students are still students and will make mistakes... do not blame it on BYOT. Poor decisions made by students (heck, made by humans) are a fact of life. There is no question that I have dealt with students who have made poor decisions with their technology these first few weeks of school. However, I have had to make sure I am being objective about why students are making these poor decisions. I have asked myself: is it because of BYOT that this or that has taken place? The answer is no. Some students posted inappropriate content before BYOT, some students chose to bully online before BYOT, and some students chose to be off-task in the classroom before BYOT. These poor choices are actually just one of many reasons why I say we MUST embrace BYOT. We must teach students how to use their technologies and when to use them. As the old adage goes, "there is a time and place for everything."
What observations have you made with BYOT?