Wednesday, December 3, 2014

BYOD should be called BYOR

As a technology specialist for the District, I am frequently asked to assist teachers in classrooms with a technology integrated project. Recently, I had a challenging experience in a high school World Language class where students were asked to create a multimedia eBook that demonstrated their knowledge and ability to read, write and speak in French creating a new ending to an existing short story. Since it is a BYOD environment, I was thinking that most students would be using iPads with the popular app, Book Creator for this task and other students without an iPad device, would use a web based program that was comparative to the app. Unfortunately, some of the "free" web based programs didn't offer the ability to draw your own images or import your own image. Some did not offer the ability to add sound/voice, while others had limited sharing options that didn't work well with the class at hand. When I mentioned some of the options available to students, there was a show of hands with requests to use some of the programs that they felt most comfortable with. Some mentioned Pages, while one student was very excited to try the program, Scrivener (has a free trial, but there is a cost associated with the program). Others were exploring new options where they could combine different programs to achieve sound and drawing capabilities.

The room was buzzing with enthusiasm since the learning and creating was placed in the hands of the students. Students had the ability to not only choose their own device, but select the best program to achieve the same result. In the end, all students would be required to compose a summary of how they created and shared their eBook with their teacher while following her guidelines and grading rubric at the same time. The content was the important and primary ingredient in the mix and recently at the MassCue Conference held at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, Patricia Uniacke, World Language teacher and I presented on this very topic, "Let the Content, Not the Device Lead the Way."

So in looking at the future of BYOD, shouldn't we rename it to BYOR? If learning is truly student-centered, then "bringing your own resources" is certainly a better term, where any device, web-based program, or app will engage students, satisfy project goals, meet state standards, and create a productive and collaborative environment. I look forward to seeing their end results!

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