Friday, March 8, 2013

3 Important Questions to Ask if You're District is Going BYOD

School districts across the country are saving money by rewriting, or simply ignoring existing student codes of conduct, and beginning to encourage students to use all those smart phones they were banning and confiscating just yesterday.  They may have happily announced it at a faculty meeting as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and I wrote about why you'll hate it here, but I'm sure it didn't stop them.  If your district is one of these, you have millions of questions, and once you really get into it, you'll have millions more.  Here are 3 you should start with:
  • Where's the policy?  Even if your district/school/classroom is in the "Pilot Stage" of  a BYOD initiative, there should be a policy/procedure written and approved by your board of education or school's governing body.  It should include an explanation, responsibilities, expectations and consequences for inappropriate behavior.  There should be a long "legalese" version and a shorter, one-page, real language version to go home with a place for parent and student signature. It should be posted on your district website as well. You should read BOTH versions.  Here's a nice example.
  • What's the expectation?  Ideally you should have been part of the discussion before the decision to introduce this type of innovation into your classroom was made, but let's move into reality.  You need to learn from department chairs, principals, and others who were in on the decision-making process what they anticipated the outcomes of this decision to be.  Do they expect all teachers to embrace this technology and plan for it, or just a few?  Did they poll the students and parents to see who would take advantage of this rule change?  Are the technicians in building aware of the additional strain on the wireless access in the building?  Which leads me to question 3.......
  • How much support is available?  Having enough training/support can be a big issue with BYOD, especially since this is often used as a money saving idea; what is the support plan for teachers?  Multiple different devices coming from outside the school onto the school network means kids may  need help - is it available?  Some kids won't have a device, or won't bring it, or it won't work, will there be any available?  Teachers now will have to alter the way they plan - for kids who have many different devices, or none - will there be support or professional development?  If the kids are disruptive with the devices, rather than working - what then?  Can I choose not to allow personal devices to be used in my classroom at all - and will that choice be supported?
In my last post I promised you resources when your district when BYOD, and I didn't forget.  So when you get the answers to the three questions above, start here for more info!

Out on a Whim,
Check out my website for more tech stuff:  douintegrate?