Thursday, March 29, 2012

Choosing between BYOT and BYOD: Why One Letter Might Make a Difference.

The @40ishoracle is on page 34 :)
The @40ishoracle has done it again. Jennifer LaMaster has one of blogs published in this month's TECH&LEARNING magazine describing going BYOT. In the article, you'll note that the term has been changed to the other popular abbreviation "BYOD."

This immediately got a reaction from our director of communications. He wanted to make sure that we hadn't just rebranded our whole 1:1 initiative for next year (next year, the school will be providing technology grants to all students on financial aid so that every student can have his or her own device -- of his or her own choosing).

Since we have made about 10 or so presentations on this in different formats and occasionally been asked to change the abbreviation (not to mention the twitter #hashtag!), I thought i would take a few minutes to explain our rationale.

Bring-Your-Own-Technology is not REALLY about the Gadget
This 3 Year old's current technology
of choice is a tablet w/stylus
As we have been writing for awhile, the BYOT initiative is about many things:

  • Helping students develop personal skills in assessing their learning needs, evaluating the tools they they will need to accomplish a goal, effectively use those tools to complete tasks and communicate results. 
  • Enabling teachers to let go of an instructor-led push-button-to-get-a-treat training mentality and, instead, focus on the content, skills, and subject matter that inspires and motivates them (and in turn the students).
  • Allow IT to become partners in education by focusing on opening access as much as possible and supporting individual students in a more personal, service-oriented model that cannot be accomplished in a time-to-image-the-lab mentality.
BYOT is about a mindset that empowers students in areas where they are already comfortable.
BYOT is about creating an environment that challenges those same students' assumptions about what technology is and how it can be used in their lives and the world in general.
BYOT is about expanding the possibilities beyond a locked-down netbook or closed tablet system -- acknowledging that what we see as cutting-edge today is a paradigm shift away from obsolescence two year or two months down the line.

Compare the vision above to some of the BYOD implementations that are being talked about around the country: 
  • Implementations where students can bring-their-own, but are then locked into a school's virtual desktop that gives them access to a standard windows computer with stock programs and filters.
  • iPad schools that control access to the market, the apps, and the content so that teachers can "have a handle on what the kids can do".
  • ...and, because we are not completely without fault in this arena, schools that block access to the same tools that have become essential for Personal Learning Networks and Professional development (props to my #edchat, #byotchat, #flipclass, and #isedchat posse - much love).
Brebeuf Jesuit Senior, Alec Gorge, demonstrates an iPad App
he developed for the Alumni Board
Forget Post-PC...We are Post-Device
...or at the very least we are post one specific device. 

I loved the article tweeted by @teachpaperless, one of my favorite educators, on the top 15 iPad apps chosen by educators. It is a great list and a good mix of free and paid apps. I am also happy that a number of them are cross-platform. But on analysis, a one thing becomes apparent.

There are a lot of ways to do the same thing. 7 of the fifteen applications have similar (if not identical) ways of accomplishing specific tasks:

Note Taking: Evernote, Neu.notes, Notetaker HD
Whiteboard/Drawing/Presentation: Screen Chomp, Skitch, EduCreations, ExplainEverything

While at first blush, this can be part of what adds to the teacher-anxiety that seems to be one of the great barriers to adopting BYOT, from this we can see two things: 
  1. even within a closed device system, there can still be room to Access, Evaluate, and Use.
  2. To limit BYO to the DEVICE is to not acknowledge the reality of our world. There are MANY different instruments competing for our time, our eyes (page views and ads), and our dollars.
When you look at the other top apps, this becomes more apparent. DROPBOX is a must-have app in my household, but BOX is a strong competitor and given its new app-access structure might surpass the file-storage/sharing juggernaut. ONLIVE DESKTOP with its combination of storage and Microsoft Office blows me away (and raises the eyebrows of licensing lawyers everywhere).

TED videos are competing with Khan Academy and Amateur You-tubers to be the source of our flip-by-proxy teaching resources.

put simply, if we limit our students to choose ONLY the device, we have not empowered them to make the choice in the future. Better to allow them to experiment, find new apps and techniques, share them with teachers and colleagues, and develop those skill necessary for the next decade.

Practical Application -- 
General Classes and Digital Citizenship
What is being called for here is a paradigm shift in educational technology in a number of ways. I hold though, that in some ways this shift can be LESS-STRESSFUL for most teachers.

General Classes: In general classes (English, Social Studies, etc.) the expectation should be that teachers set specific academic objectives, general tasks, and clear goals:
  • Develop an experiment that will test responsiveness of the hissing cockroach by doing research, watching lecture (live or flipped), reading, etc. [Specific Objectives]
  • Take notes on your research and reading [General Task]
  • Submit your experiment to the teacher along with notes and annotations to the teacher in the following format(s) [Clear Goals]
The student is given clear objectives to be met. They assess the objective and choose technology that fits their needs. It might be EVERNOTE or NOTETAKER_HD. They might annotate in a kindle book or an iBook or the new @mbstextbook (my current cross-platform gold standard). They may even use pencil, highlighter and paper!

It is the responsibility of the student to take the chosen task-tools and adapt them into a format for his or her audience, in this case the teacher. If they took notes on paper and the teacher wants it digitally, they might use a scanner, or their phone and the CamScanner App, or a copy-machine in the library with scan-to-email function. This is ANOTHER opportunity for students to Access, Evaluate, and Use.

Inherent in this methodology are two important things that a school must consider. First, students must be given the opportunity to fall flat on their collective or individual faces. We cannot let "technology didn't work" be an excuse. Students must rise to the task in the same way that we expect them to get dressed in the morning, bring their text(e)books, and arrive on time -- they are digital natives even if silicon gives us the willies. Second, we have to create an infrastructure that supports the students in developing these skills:

Digital Citizenship Development: 
Students must be given, early in their education, the skills to Access, Evaluate and Use. The environment should expose them to a variety of tools and allow them to play and evaluate those tools. It should teach them to recognize advantages and limitation. In short, it should allow them to develop critical thinking skills in tool choice. This can be time and resource consuming. At Brebeuf Jesuit, this is our Freshman class on Digital Citizenship.

The environment itself should also be supportive and collaborative. Students should have access to technical support in the same way that teachers do in the best of situations. The techs should insure access, but also help guide students through troubleshooting when their tool doesn't work as expected. The more consistently the IT support comes through for the students, the more likely the teachers will be to focus on the academic needs of the students.

and, in honor of the upcoming NFL National Debate Tournament in Indianapolis this summer:

It is for the above reasons that I strongly urge educators calling it Bring-Your-Own-TECHNOLOGY

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Counter Cultural -- and Counter-Intuitive Response -- to Gadget Overload (A Rant)

"Now think of yourself as a battery. You really are, you know. Your brain runs on chemically converted electrical current...Okay, the point is this: everything you think, everything you do, it all has to run off the battery. Like the accessories in a car...
Watching TV, reading books, talking with friends, eating a big dinner...all of it runs off the battery. A normal life -- at least in what used to be Western civilization -- was like running a car with power windows, power brakes, power seats, all the goodies. But the more goodies you have, the less the battery can charge. True?"  
 -- Glen Redman, The Stand by Stephen King (1989 or earlier)

Before we talk of human beings and batteries and how the comments of a mid-level character in a 25+ year old book got me motivated to write this blog entry, a preface in three parts: 2 vignettes and a little jesuitical context:

Vignette #1: 
My wife and I are members of "Koko's Kittens" -- geeks who have been on BOTH of Jonathan Coulton's jococruisecrazy. Last year, we skipped out on the 9th birthday of our eldest to go hang with internet musicians and comedians. I highly recommend this. This year, we took the Daughter Prime (now 10yo) and the Undivided Middle (7yo) with us. A good time was had by all. But I digress to this happy time to share a tough conversation that we had three days into the cruise. 

Prime and Undivided Middle with Jonathan Coulton
After 2 nights of concerts, I glanced over to watch the 7yo working her way through Mario 3D and the eldest on her phone playing a word game. My first thought was that the girls were not even listening to one of the musicians who they LOVED! Then i realized that they were both mouthing the words while playing. They were listening but not paying attention (parents will be nodding in recognition of this behavior).  {PAUSE}

Vignette #2
Tweetdeck: Infowhelm writ large
Each year, I have the pleasure of meeting, connecting with, teaching, and - in many cases - learning from amazing student at Brebeuf Jesuit. One of these students, @kcklippel, and I were having an internet conversation through twitter one relatively low-key afternoon about a year after he had graduated. About an hour into the conversation, this tweet came across the deck: 

"Oh, sh**. just blew off my class talking to you." 
"You skipped class?!?"
"No, I'm here. I just wasn't paying attention"

A Few Jesuit Lessons
  • The Jesuits task the teachers and administrators who work in their schools to give students the ability to develop the "counter cultural response". The basic idea is that the culture-at-large has got some things wrong. Thus, instead of limiting ourselves to math, science, writing, core curriculum, logical thinking, and 21st century skills (WHEW), we also try to equip our students with the critical eye to examine their culture and their actions within it and analyze whether they are making the best decisions or just the culturally easy ones ("best" in Jesuit-lingo is AMDG - doing things for the greater glory of God).
  • Another tenet of Jesuit education is that God, for whom we are doing things, is EVERYWHERE. The rocks, the rivers, other people, and even the NEW iPAD w/ retina display. One of the keys to the counter-cultural response is to be open to seeing God in places where we are not used to looking and responding accordingly.
On Stephen King's THE STAND, Conversational Opportunity and the Counter-Cultural Response
As  I was listening to the Audible version of the post-a-plague-alyptic novel yesterday, the passage above struck me as closely related to what I have been talking about regarding technology, social media, and digital natives for the last few years.

The initial reaction to personal technology in the classroom and schools in general was (and is) to keep it away.
  • Parents: worried that items would be lost, stolen, or damaged...
  • Administrators: reminded me that "Chaucer never used a laptop -- he didn't even have Facebook"...
  • Teachers: concerned about the loss of control "how we we keep them from twittering all day"
But when we keep technology out of the hands of students, we are not JUST denying them educational opportunities. We are not JUST keeping them from developing the skills they will be expected to have in college and beyond. We are not JUST putting our need for control ahead of them.

We are missing out on the opportunity to help them develop a necessary skill in the info-whelm, postPC world: The ability to choose to shut off the noise -- to disconnect.

My girls and my former student each experienced the same thing. The draw to the technology, whether it was the human connection at the other end or the exhilaration and relaxation found in a video game, was so intense, so consuming, that they were unable to avoid its siren buzz-beep-whir-ding. Thus, they missed out on a lecture that may have contained some perfect insight. They missed out on those unique never-to-be-repeated moments that only happen during live shows. They missed out, in some small way, on the opportunity to discover a God-moment.

I see this a lot in adults as well. Watch the next meeting with more than ten people. Observe the number of them who zone out of the conversation to answer email or surf the web. Watch the jump as they reach for a phone that is on vibrate for a reason but still has to be checked, "just in case". Then notice the tired look in the eyes at the end of a day that was constantly plugged in and connected. "The more goodies you have, the less the battery can charge"

BUT... (And if you made it this far, you need to stay for the end)

The answer is NOT to take away technology, it is to give it to them!

Students learn by doing, the same way that adults do. 

If we never give our children technology, we never get to have the conversation with them about putting the technology away to experience life as it happens before your eyes.

If our students are not confronted with and tempted by the technology in their pockets and their bags, then they will not have the resistance to put it away when it is not appropriate. And we will have raised another generation of meeting-zombies and phone-check junkies to replace the digital immigrants that came before.

In our school, the phrase that we have been using is that student need to develop the ability to
"be present in the moment". 

There are times when your presence is taking notes from a teacher, working on a problem, or listening to a friend. There are times when the moment allows for a quick glance at the twitter feed. Or that 3-coin attempt on DRAW SOMETHING.

Part of our responsibility in the task of developing Digital Citizens out of Digital Natives is providing the opportunity for Experience and the follow-up Reflections on which moment is which. This is not something that can be taught on a fill-in-the-blank test, but it might HAVE to happen in the classrooms, the playing fields, and the homes. 

Knowing when to disconnect is a vital skill.
And our batteries, ourselves, may depend on it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Abandoning the One Ring -- Breaking out of the Ultimate Platform Mentality

Apologies to Tolkien, but i write what pops into my head...

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor  Schools where the Shadows lie.
One Ring Learning Management System to rule them* all, One  Ring Learning Management System to find them,
One  Ring Learning Management System to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of   Mordor Schools  where the Shadows lie.

*Them = Teachers, Students, undersea Sponges, etc.

5 minutes long but oh so nice for GenX memories

Searching for the Miracle
As Brebeuf Jesuit has been moving to its 1:1 BYOT model, part of the internal preparation for classroom teachers has been meeting with individual departments to begin discussing what the classroom could look like next year. There have been many positive implementations during this pilot year and it has been exciting to be able to share what some of these implementations look like (see for some examples.

The two concerns that have been brought up most commonly for teachers who have not already embraced BYOT are twofold: 1. how are we going to be assessed as educators for proper implementation (have i mentioned the assessment culture that is killing me recently? great post from the Educational Technology Guy on this) and 2. what is the TOOL that will make BYOT work beautifully.

I am going to defer to @40ishoracle for assessment. she has dug up some awesome resources that we are adapting. I want to deal with the second issue in today's blog.

What is the TOOL that ties all of the BYOT sparkle into one pretty package?

Letting it Go
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a one-stop shop that does all of the educational things that I want my students to experience and is aware enough that it continuously improves as technology and users evolve. I have heard promises from Blackboard (cross platform! lots of options! but the gradebook doesn't take attendance), EdLine (now a part of Blackboard...good on the basics, slow to innovate), Google (I am a fan)...I even remember sitting at ISTE over a decade ago and watching Steve Jobs keynote about the Apple School. I get excited each time. I get disappointed each time.

and then I stopped.

I stopped expecting one company to have all the answers.
I stopped looking for the company that would integrate new methodology into their behemoth
I just stopped.

and when i stopped looking for the universal solution, I realized that I was now on very comfortable ground. 

As a teacher and a technician, I am used to asking the question: "how do i best do X?" and searching and asking and experimenting until I find the answer. This is not just a good practice, this is an essential behavioral skill that should be developed in our students. Unless we want our children and students to be at the mercy of 1-3 major technology companies decisions' about what is good for them, they need to know how to:
  1.  Identify their learning need
  2. Assess tools that could fill that need
  3. Use the tools appropriately.
This might fall into one of those "If you learn nothing else, learn this" categories.

Need storage space? use dropbox or or google docs or...
Need to create a presentation? keynote or powerpoint or google docs or...
Need to collaborate on a paper?
Need to change a video codec?
Need to...

The Flip Side
A complaint that we have had, and I think it is legitimate takes two forms:
From students: Depending on the teacher, I have assignments in multiple places and they expect me to keep track of it all...
From administrators: how can we keep up with the teachers (track progress, view content, gather data) when there are so many different tools being used?

I think for the benefit of school personnel, teachers, and students, there should be one central jumping-off point. The "if I forget everything else, I can go here". This is our Learning Management System: 
  • Each class has a page. 
  • Each page has Grade updates, and places for  links, news items, notes, etc. 
  • But from there teachers can link to an educational blog (teacher or student maintained), a plagiarism monitoring system, a collaborative document creation site, a site for my dream #flipclass software (still hasn't been made...but progress!) 
Develop in students the ability to comfortably adapt to different technologies. Develop in teachers the ability to articulately explain the advantages of one system over another (this demonstration of critical choice is part of the student learning process).

If it is necessary for administrators to track the data through various tools to create charts and graphs, then that is the next field for educational technology development. Do not force teachers and students to use inadequate tools because INSERT-EDUCATION-COMPANY-HERE has not figured out how to write a decent API yet.

In short, let's give up on the ONE RING and put it back into fantasy where it belongs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Messaging Social Media to Parents: The Crossing the Digital Divide Presentation

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting to a group of parents about Social Media and Children's usage. There are a lot of big names out there willing to take funds for this purpose, but we have found that it there are a number of advantages to keeping it in-house. Beyond budgetary thoughts, this is a great way to help strengthen the partnership between parents and school faculty/administration about this digital world in which we spend so much time.

Based on this experience i wanted to share some of the findings and research to the blog, but i wanted to do it in a way that might be useful to other schools doing the same thing. You get to judge how useful these meandering thoughts are to you. Comments are always welcome. For I bit more orgnaization, I refer you to the  Lord of the Flies Rant. This is an important issue from which educational systems have for the most part abdicated their role.

My Word Things Have Changed
The last time I presented to the parent group at school was 2008. So like all good presenters, i went digging through my (at the time) PowerPoint folder and discovered the original presentation. Wow! Things have really changed.
  • The "Social Network to watch" was this new-fangled thing called Twitter
  • A huge recommendation was to keep the digital devices (I called it a computer) in public spaces in the home -- hard to do with these new-fangled phone thingys the kids have.
  • I predicted that Social media would grow with you seeing more social media on news casts, websites, and billboards -- virtual as extension of real life.
The Presentation 
(note, I talk a lot more than is on the slides. Comment if you want follow-up posts)

The struggles in creating  these presentations are multiple - Some Advice in Development:
  • There are real social media concerns, but it easy to fall into the scare-monger trap of talking about nothing but stranger danger. Back up your commentary with research. The Pew Internet and American Life Project's work with Teens is phenomenal and worthy of our support as educators.
  • There is a real gap between parent and student comfort with technology and social networks. This discomfort leads some people to SHUT DOWN which is never a good option. Demonstrate the broad strokes of social networks as people ask about them (you will get the "what is twitter?" question, so let it happen naturally).
  • There is no magic app or program or technique that will alleviate all of the fear or concern. Parenting in this day and age is tough and it is easy to see social media as the digital straw that will break our collective backs. But (see magic bullet slide below) we have two things going for us:
    • Parents are the source of information that teenagers WANT to rely on for difficult situations
    • Good parenting: open communication, clear expectations, reasonable boundries works for social media talks as well as it does for most other parenting situations.
  • This stuff moves fast. Keep the information current and updated.
  • Give examples. Give scenarios for parents to think through. 
  • Leave lots of time open for questions -- They will have them and they are good!
Create a Forum to Keep the Information Flowing - 
The How to "Privacize" Facebook Part of the Blog
Parents were thrilled to hear that as a part of our required Freshman course on Digital Citizenship, we offered a "how to check your privacy settings on Facebook" lesson. What was interesting (but not surprising) is that they wanted the information as well. Be ready for a feedback forum. Since I gave my blog, here you go:
  1. Watch the video below a couple of times. It is the "where to go"
  2. Read each section carefully. If you are not sure what something is talking about (for example "tagging" is referring to a Facebook user with a link to their profile. You can tag pictures, articles, posts, etc.) then a) look it up or b) when in doubt, lock it down.
  3. Think about who you want to see what. FRIENDS, FRIENDS OF FRIENDS, NETWORKS (less common anymore), and PUBLIC are all options in Facebook. 
  4. Periodically Google yourself to see what is public.

(Taken from the 2008 Presentation and Refreshed with links in the presentation):


Monday, March 5, 2012

1:1 BYOT -- Pulling the Trigger on the next generation of Choice

After a successful pilot for almost a year on top of three years of planning and preparation, Brebeuf Jesuit announced two weeks ago that next year we would be a 1:1 BYOT school. Whew.

Teacher embrace BYOT as well...

Video was a big BYOT winner, from iPads... Flashdrive based Kodak's

The Actual Announcement:

Brebeuf Jesuit is thrilled to announce that beginning with 2012-2013 school year, Brebeuf will be expanding its technology offerings by becoming a 1:1 BYOT school.  Families who have had multiple students attend Brebeuf Jesuit over the years will recognize that this is the next step in our technology integration. From the implementation of Edline in 2004 to the creation of the wireless network and student laptop carts in 2007, to this year’s BYOT pilot, Brebeuf Jesuit has been empowering students and leading technology innovation.

What does this mean?
A 1:1 learning environment means every student has a personal device to use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Each Brebeuf student will be expected to carry a personal device of their choosing.  This device needs to be capable of the following:
  • Accessing the web (wireless provided by Brebeuf_IT) for research and other activities.
  • Creating
    • Word Processing
    • Spreadsheet design and computation
    • Presentation tools
    • Basic film and photo editing
    • Communicating and Collaborating
      • Via Google AMDG or Edline

For more information about BYOT, please see Brebeuf’s BYOT page.

After two weeks of reaction and response, it has been interesting to take a few minutes to reflect on this decision, the reactions, and the next steps in our IT world. Often, the big moments get muted by the white noise of everyday life (“what do you mean my iPhone doesn’t have SIRI?”) that it is important to take the metaphorical step back.


The number one question that reporters have been asking us...well the number two behind “Seriously? so, not iPads?” how long we have been preparing for this. The @40ishoracle put together this rough timeline:

Edline/GradeQuick purchased [LMS and Electronic the cloud]
Faculty 1:1 mobile program in place.
Student Carts purchased.
February 2007
Jen LaMaster [the @40ishoracle] hired with interview questions surrounding educational technology in a 1:1 learning environment
[not joking – she had to ask what 1:1 was]
Blogs, educational gaming, online simulations and other interactive tools beyond Edline grow in popularity and use.
October-November 2010
Departmental Brainstorming sessions on “what do you need to work your classroom magic?”
24/7 & PRT student access, more stability, device for all students
Student Roundtables and Survey on “what do you need to be a successful student at Brebeuf?”
24/7 access to files, email, personal devices, more bandwidth
December 2010
Report on “Bring your own technology” to Department Chairs
Summer 2011
New wireless_N network with faculty and student access created, new firewall purchased, cloud printing to library enabled, partner with Google Apps for Education, increased bandwidth to the building
September 2011
Voluntary BYOT program begins
December 2011
900 devices hit the network in one PRT
January 2012
MBS announces 40% of books will be available in electronic format for 2012-13
January 2012
Grant money for professional development approved
February 2012
Board of Trustees approves budget supporting BYOT financial aid

Reaction from Parents

I think it would be unfair to call it a mixed bag. An overwhelming number of parents have reacted positively to the move, particularly in the context of a conversation. We have been very used to the lightbulb going on about three sentences into the talk:

“So, students can bring in whatever they like?”

“Yes, the key is that it should be able to access information, be used to create basic documents, and be used to communicate?”

LIGHTBULB 1 “So, my child’s INSERT_DEVICE_HERE will work?” (Smile)
LIGHTBULB 2 “So, you aren’t forcing them to use INSERT_DEVICE_HERE?”
LIGHTBULB 3 “Well, that is pretty much how College/my work/the real world is”

We have had some concern about the additional cost to families. The school is providing technology grants to over 25% of its student body in order to help offset the cost of tools for those on financial need, but there is a real additional expense that the program entails.

The number one question from parents has been “will there be discounts offered through the school?” It is not surprising how hesitant major vendors are to give generic discounts when there is no guaranteed quantity or uniform model.

Other questions have come up from parents about teacher training, battery life, loss/theft of devices, etc. Many of these seem to have the underlying “have you really thought about all of the aspects to this?” and it is a pleasant feeling that most of the time we can say “yes, we thought of that.”

Reaction from Teachers

More of a mixed bag here, but still very positive. Teachers have been toying with the BYOT environment for more than 6 months and really like the impact on the classroom. By far, my favorite anecdote was the teacher who let us know that he would be re-writing his final since students using electronic devices and keyword searching could blaze through the traditional open-book final exam (no more paging through the book to find that one perfect quote/post-it).

Most of the concerns that have been raised have been one of expectations and measurements. Some of this is a symptom of the world we live in now, teacher evaluation and assessments by paranoia makes everyone look for the ethereal “box of behavior” to be checked.

  • “What exactly are we supposed to do?” → Focus on teaching. The kids will take care of tech
  • “When do we get trained on all of these tools?” → Come play around. Kids know how to use their own devices.
  • “How will they INSERT ACTIVITY THAT CAN BE DONE IN THE BYOT ENVIRONMENT?” → Set the expectation and watch them go to work. Call us if you need backup.
  • “What if I want to INSERT ACTIVITY THAT CANNOT BE DONE BYOT?” → Sign out a lab. They will still be there (although in reduced numbers).

As more teachers attend our technology petting zoos, sit down for some one-on-one time with our edtechs, and mark out their lessons for BYOT vs. Still-need-a-lab, many of these concerns begin to go away.

Reaction from Students


Students are ready for this. More than any other group, they are looking forward to technology being the norm. There has been some discussion about what can and cannot be done with various types of devices and the decision making process among those planning on new toys is intense.

Reaction from IT Crew


Honestly, we built the system ready to handle the crowds, so this step is nowhere near as stressful as building the wireless and infrastructure this last summer. if anything, the tweaking and playing with devices is more fun. You should have seen the day a student came in with her brand-new Transformer Prime -- queen for a day.

Take away

  • As with all good Educational programming in IT, make the educational objective the core and build from there. Take the time to plan, play, and do it right
  • BYOT is empowering. It empowers the students to choose the device with which they are most comfortable; it empowers the teachers to return to the subject matter and skills they know; it empowers families to make decisions that are best for their unique situation
  • Discussion about what devices and apps and programs can and cannot do, teamwork as the best devices and best skills are matched and leveraged, and reflection on tools is natural and makes for a more vibrant classroom
  • The negativity, demoralizing as it can be at a particular moment, is a whisper compared to the positive reaction

Feel free to comment, share your own experiences, or ask your own questions. We will keep you posted here and at