When I imagine a classroom of the future, each student has their own personal tablet or laptop device. My future grandchildren will likely not know any different. They will wonder how we ever managed without personal learning devices in the same way that my children cannot fathom a time when you actually had to get up off the couch to change the channel!
Today we find ourselves in the transition phase. Some students have their own devices, others do not. Classrooms have laptops for students use, but not .at a one-to-one ratio. Personal cell phones and iPads are being used in some schools and are banned in others.
To guide us through this transition phase, researchers provide many recommendations for implementing BYOD in schools. Changes to instructional practices, and infrastructures which support network access/bandwidth and equity for all students are required. Perhaps more importantly, as stated in the Alberta Education Bring your own device guide (2012), “(t)eachers will need to learn how to redesign lessons, instruction and assessment to integrate collaboration, communication and social creation of knowledge.” (p. 8). The guide also stresses how ” the school culture must embrace digital citizenship, which Alberta school authorities have identified as critical to the success of the use of technology in schools. ” (p. 24). Teacher training and the establishment of digital citizenship practices are perhaps the most critical for making the transition to the ubiquitous use of personal learning devices in schools.
Yet despite all of the work to be done in readying our schools for BYOD, I see the future materializing in front of my eyes, with almost no intentional effort on my part at all. “There are no more laptops, Mrs. Lasher. Can I use my iPod?” is a phrase I have heard several times in my classroom this year. Students who have iPods will use them to translate words for a project in French class. The kids are simply using them as tools because it makes sense to do so.
With the right attitude and understanding of best teaching practices, the integration of personal mobile devices may simply morph into reality. I am not suggesting we do nothing, and simply sit back and let it happen. There are many important considerations and actions to be taken to ensure equitable access, that the tools do not drive the practice, and that they are used appropriately. But in spite of the challenges, we will make it through this transition period successfully. I can hardly wait!
Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31
Alberta Education (2012). Bring your own device: a guide for schools. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/admin/technology/research.aspx