Thursday, January 17, 2013

BYOT Planning -- What a Difference a Semester Makes

Planning Board, July 2012 -- One Month Before Full 1:1 BYOT

Lots of Tracking for Labs, Getting Network and Contracts Ready to Go, 

Planning Board, January 2013 -- Beginning to Plan for Next Year

Lots of Network Focus, Less Labs/End Use Concern, Pilots, and Rethinking Classrooms
I will probably post more on this later, but @40ishoracle and I were both struck by the difference in tone even our planning board takes in a BYOT environment. Much less about tools and gadgets -- Much more about leveraging technology to change the learning environment.

Monday, January 14, 2013

All your BYOTChat are belong to JD

This cheesy Kevin Costner flick that tends to make all humans with a Y-chromosome weep like children has this great line in it: "I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter." 

Whoops. Wrong one. I meant:

"If you build it, [they] will come"

During the movie, most people focus on the "...He will come" part, what with the ghostly baseball players and unresolved daddy issues. 

In Educational Technology circles (the general ones, not the Google+ variety), we know that the most important part of that phrase is "If you build it" (along with its corollary cousins "how you build it" and "when you build it")

In educational technology, getting it built sometimes seems like everything....but don't forget these too:

  • We have to build our systems in such a way that we minimize downtime, attempt seamless transitions, but still account for the "burn-in" period that you have to use in order to make the necessary adjustments for a new network, wireless, phone, or other complex hardware function for all the users.
  • We have to create systems that strike a number of balances: safety and ease-of-use, filtering and access, features and intuitive controls, speed and affordability, quality and affordability, usefulness and affordability. 
  • You don't want to train people on a system that will not be implemented for a long time: you'll burn away all the excitement and end up retraining during after it is built since no one remembers anyway.
Ultimately then, we geeks of the educational technology set, are tasked with making a promise, either explicitly or implicitly, with our teachers: the technology that we provide will: 
a) make the job of teaching easier or 
b) significantly improve student learning, or 
c) on rare occasions, both.

Each time we fulfill this promise, we build up our savings against viruses and bandwidth shortfalls and software incompatibility. Each time we break that promise, we give that small subset of teachers one more reason not to try, not to risk, not to use.

Join me as I hang-up my snark hat for an evening and take up the moderating duties for #BYOTchat on Twitter this Thursday at 9pm EST where we will discuss: "Getting your Network BYOT Ready"

Bring your questions about bandwidth, filters, authentication tokens, app management, layer 3 traffic....or planning the buildout, generating support, selling the idea to admins and trustees...or anything else you are interested in discussing. The team is great at handling a range of thoughts.

Already have questions in mind? Help us get a head start by asking your question here! (fill out the survey as many times as you'd like - all questions optional)

Never been in a twitter chat before? The folks at #BYOTchat are friendly and love to greet new people. Simply search for #byotchat in a column-friendly twitter app like Tweetdeck or got to and type in the hashtag you want to follow.

Note: Brebeuf Jesuit was named the eSchoolNews "eSchool of the Month" -- Congratulations to all of our teachers, students, and Tech-Geeks who made this possible! You all rock!