Well isn’t this a conundrum ?

18 Dec

Give me technology! We absolutely need it in our schools. Netbooks, Chromebooks, iPads, or student-owned devices. I am a firm believer that we need devices in our students’ hands in order to prepare them for success, engage them with relevant and current information, and explore creativity and make a difference.

But really though, let’s get rid of this whole one-to-one mass deployment of technology.

Now let’s talk about how to do this. My district has been moving towards a one-to-one, and all of my 7th and 8th graders have their own Asus netbook. I’ve mentioned some of my students’ grumblings about these devices in my previous post, but hey, at least we have something! But I’m not sure I am always in the majority on that feeling.

Here’s my recommendation: let’s find out which teachers would like the technology in their room, and which devices would best suit their purpose. Those teachers could then apply to have the devices and would therefore be more likely to use them and build lessons to suit.

Until our schools are properly suited to store personal technology owned by the school, it is difficult to ask the students to take care of a device. If our lockers were charging stations, sure! If students brought their own device, absolutely! 

I picture my students reading and annotating articles in order to build background knowledge for meaningful discussions on iPads that are housed in my classroom. As the teacher who is issued the devices, they become like a textbook in terms of how they are tracked and issued.

We can also open the door for students to bring their own device to school in order to use something that they are used to. This Edutopia post is a good one for thinking about BYOD and its potential. One of the most important things that I have learned from our current one-to-one deployment is that students need to feel ownership of a device to take care of it and always have it. They need to feel like it is important to them and to their learning. It’s hard to create a sense of ownership, but it is much easier if actual ownership exists!

Part of the reason that people advocate for the widespread use of personal learning devices is that students will be using devices similar to these to create and collaborate in their future occupations. But not all jobs use Asus netbooks or iPads or Macbooks. By helping students become familiar with multiple devices, we are helping them to better prepare for the world that lies ahead of them.

Now with every teacher having their chosen device housed in their classroom, what do we do about flipped classrooms where students need devices to view lectures at home? Ok, maybe I don’t have all the answers…

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