BYOD or BYOT stands for Bring Your Own Device/Technology. BYOD as an emerging technology is much more complex than students just being allowed to bring their devices to school. There are students who do not have devices to bring, connectivity issues within districts, privacy & legal issues, difficulties delivering content consistently across devices, and a daunting task to give proper training to educators. While researching this project, I found that there is no shortage of information on how difficult a BYOD environment is to manage. No matter what obstacles that are in place, I feel this is an important policy to fight for. With more than 80% of teens owning cell phones there is such a great need for education inclusive of the technology. Smartphones are not going away and information is just going to keep getting easier and easier to access on the fly. School budgets are not getting larger and the expense of attaining and maintaining device libraries is expensive. It seems like a no-brainer to incorporate student owned smart devices into the classroom.
The school I work at has a BYOD policy and I have actively pursued ways to incorporate fair activities in my classroom. My biggest hurdle is usually students who either don’t have devices or have devices that won’t perform well. Depending on the lesson, I will usually solve this problem by signing out a technology cart or have students group up. I find that my (high school) students seem to feel empowered and with excitement of using their own devices right out in the openness of a classroom. Students don’t have to hide their device in the depths of their backpacks or try to camouflage their texting under their books. Which segways right into the challenges of allowing smartphone use: keeping them on task! It’s “teacher 101” that an engaging lesson is the key to successful classroom management. Unfortunately, cell phones in the classroom are another distraction for teachers to manage but with engaging lessons and applicable use of the technology, success can be had.
I recently stumbled across a tool called Kahoot that basically turns quiz type activities into a competitive game. I’ve had the chance to deliver lessons that include Kahoots and I am impressed with the tool and all that it can offer me. Check out this short presentation I created that describes how to create and deliver engaging assessments and activities.
I’ve had the opportunity to use Kahoot! for unit pre and post assessments, lesson initiations and closures, and just for fun on a Friday afternoon. No matter what I use it for, when the students hear Kahoot! they are instantly excited and almost race to log in.
Creating a fun activity is one thing, tricking students to learn is another, but so far the best use of Kahoot! for me has been using the data it produces to quickly assess where a class is in meeting their objectives. If a class does poorly in one area, I can easily adjust instruction to focus more on that area. Likewise, if a class aces a pre-assessment, I know I don’t have to spend as much time with the content.
The Kahoot! tool falls between the Modification and Augmentation levels on the SAMR model. While the tool is JUST a quiz app, the actual functionality of the tool just substitutes a task that already existed before. It enhances the mechanics of the task but it doesn’t change it much. I feel that the game aspect including competition can bump Kahoot! up to Modification as this is functionality you would not get when traditionally delivering an assessment.
Without my school’s BYOD policy, I would not be able to take advantage of such great teaching aids like Kahoot! I am thankful that I work in a district that is not afraid to address the difficult issues associated with implementing such a policy. There are still bugs to work out but I will continue to seek applications such as kahoot! to keep incorporating use of personal devices in my classroom.
Sign up for your own Kahoot! https://getkahoot.com/
Students log in to take a Kahoot! https://kahoot.it/
Learn more about Emerging Technologies by reading the Horizon Report, 2015 K-12 Edition: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf
Learn more about the SAMR model https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/introduction-to-the-samr-model