This will be part three of what has turned into an unintentional and unofficial series of posts on BYOD in the classroom. The first post mainly focuses on lessons learned during a BYOD pre-pilot, while the second post lists the top ten apps for BYOD.
Now that our state testing is done for the year, we are officially in the homestretch. So, this is when I reflect upon what has worked and what has not, and start to think about how I would roll out BYOD for the next school year. Here is a preliminary BYOD timeline, which I will use for my homeroom and possibly when collaborating with other educators within the district.
A few weeks prior to the start of the school year – Letter to parents
Before the school year begins, teachers typically mail to parents a letter that contains an initial welcome to the class, a supply list, and some odds and ends. This letter should also contain (1) a short introduction to BYOD, (2) a timeline of when and how it will be implemented in the classroom, and (3) possible links to a few BYOD-related articles, which allow for parents to conduct some research on their own.
A few weeks prior to the start of the school year – Student Technology Day
As mentioned in a previous post, before the school year begins I hold an optional technology day for my students. This day is not only an opportunity for me to establish rapport with my students, but to also start to teach them the basics of video production and effective workflows. For example, the majority of the students usually arrive equipped with iPads or iPod Touch devices. After learning how to effectively shoot video and then actually capturing their footage, students go through the process of importing their material into iMovie on the MacBook, editing their video, and then uploading their finished product to a shared folder that is located in their Google Drive accounts.
A few weeks into the school year – Meet the Teacher Night
Even with all of the technological tools that we now have at our disposal, nothing beats face-to-face for effective communication. During Meet the Teacher Night, review with parents the timeline for BYOD implementation and remind them that there is an upcoming night solely dedicated to technology and BYOD. Of course, this information should be added to what is normally talked about on Meet the Teacher Night, not in place of it.
About a month into the school year – Parent Technology Night
In the past I have spent this night reviewing with parents the classroom website and Moodle, our learning management system. From now on, this night will also emphasize our BYOD program. The Parent Consent Form will be distributed, as will a list of answers to frequently asked questions. I would also consider distributing to parents a list of recommended apps for students to download (and possibly demoing a few of the apps in order to demonstrate their educational value). At this point in time, parents can also be provided with the links to more BYOD-related research. When choosing research make sure to be transparent. There is a lot of anti-BYOD material out there. Do not ignore it.
About a week after Parent Technology Night – Students start bringing devices to school
At this point in time the students are definitely provided with a list of recommended apps and instructed to download them for homework. While the students are not bringing in their devices until about a month into the school year, the previous month was spent building classroom culture and learning digital citizenship along with device responsibility and etiquette. These topics should also be stressed throughout the school year.
January – Parent/Student survey
Using a Google Form, conduct an anonymous BYOD survey. Provide participants with an opportunity to assess the current situation. As a teacher, be sure to utilize the feedback in order to adjust your instruction.
May – Face-to-face with parents
Conduct a final face-to-face in which more feedback is solicited. Emphasize the fact that feedback will be primarily used to make the program more successful in upcoming years, both on a classroom and a district level. It should also be noted that the normally scheduled parent/teacher conferences are also opportunities for opinions to be voiced.
While this timeline will undoubtedly change over time, it serves as a starting point. Individual teachers (including myself) will also be impacted by the actions of students, parents, other teachers, and district administrators. As a result, adjustments will always have to be made along the way.
Please share what has worked for you in your BYOD program!
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