Are you thinking BYOB? No, definitiely not. BYOT means Bring Your Own Technology. More specifically, to school or your work place. BYOT is a craze that is somewhat taking the nation by storm and creating a lot of discussion in schools about how we should look at technology and our students. Their are school districts out there, Forest Hills Schools near Cincinnati for one, where BYOT is where it is at. Students are encouraged (expected) to bring their own computer to school. Whether it be a laptop, netbook, tablet, iPad, iTouch, Nook, Fire, etc. Students supply their own technology, not the school. Interesting concept, huh?
We are interested in fostering the idea of BYOT at the high school here in Sparta. With that in mind, I organized a BYOT Day at the high school last week. My hope was that teachers would plan some sort of activity during their class period to use the technology that students brought in that day. The staff was asked on a volunteer basis if they wanted to participate. About 25% chose to try it. I was able to email out information about activities that they might try such as Socrative, TodaysMeet, The Khan Academy, and Poll Everywhere to name a few. I had students create a commercial advertising BYOT Day and I even went on the announcements to talk about it. Some students were a little apprehensive about bringing in devices fearing theft or loss.
Results were positive. A lot of students brought in devices. I saw a lot of laptop and iPads. In just my classes, about 70-80% of my upperclassmen had devices with Web access. My freshman class ran around 40%. There were a few filtering options and a few connectivity issues with the wireless, but overall the day went very well. As I was driving home that day, I had a few thoughts. First, students love technology. If we can harness the tech power that they own and bring to school everyday, that is a lot of technology in the classroom that the district doesn't have to purchase, maintain, and replace. Second, there is a segment of the student population out there that does not have any of the devices discussed above. We have to make sure to include them in the process with technology that they can checkout or simply include them in a group or pair them up with someone with technology. Finally, teachers need training. A lot of it. There are some teachers that were hugely supportive of what I was trying to do and I thank them. They were willing to step out on a limb and try something new. That is hard, but great things can come of it. There was also that segment of the teaching staff that wanted nothing to do with BYOT Day, which is fine, but you can only keep your head stuck in the sand for so long. Technology is all around us. Catch the wave or be crushed by it.
Based on the success (small sample size) of our first BYOT Day, I may try another one next month before school is out for the summer. I think that BYOT has merit and is the future. Is my school ready to go both feet in yet, no. But, if we start small, and build some trust and momentum, we will be ready in the future.
Thanks for stopping by.