Peter DeWitt, a former principal and current Educational Technologist, points out that “Students don’t come to school saying, “Hey, I think I’ll use technology today!” They just use it because it’s like an appendage that they grew up with.” My job is to make sure they know how to use it responsibly and effectively. “Today’s instructors, if not already familiar with the digital language of their students, must learn it to maximize learning and access to learning.” (Corbeil & Corbeil, 2007). There are so many devices available to students that it is important that we make sure students know how to use these tools responsibly and for more than just playing games or chatting with friends.
Many feel that to that end, it is worth exploring Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Programs in education, since students can bring and use the devices they are already savvy with. I’m not entirely on board with BYOD, however, since “some students will be able to bring the latest smartphones or laptops to school, whereas other youngsters will be able to access only older devices with limited…capabilities.” (Maloy et. al., 2017, p. 303). Not only that, but teachers will also have to be exceptionally tech literate in order to utilize many different devices successfully. According to the Rogers innovation curve, “a small group of technology innovators eagerly integrate technologies into their teaching; a somewhat larger group of skeptical and cautious adopters worry about the problems [inherent] in the equipment before they appreciate technology’s potential…a majority of undecided observers would utilize technology sooner if they felt more confident knowing how to use it, and a small number of change resisters wait for a district policy mandating technology use for learning.” (Maloy et. al, 2017, p. 27). This means the majority of teachers do not have the skills, or lack the motivation, to use any new technology, let alone a variety of devices.
Even so, many school districts implement mandatory or supplemental BYOD policies at a significant savings over 1-to-1 programs. Teachers need to get creative about how to leverage technology in these situations. In the article, “Mobile Technology Goes to School,” Cara Bafile profiles an intermediate classroom teacher who made deals with Verizon, HTX, and Microsoft to supply his students with smartphones. One key component to this teacher’s success is that he has the support of his administration and class parents as well. Another factor is that this teacher is clearly an innovator/early adopter and willing to embrace new technologies that other teachers aren’t ready for.
In addition to smartphones, the rise of wearable technology bears watching with regard to education. Imagine a PE teacher who is able to keep track of each student’s fitness and using the data as a formative assessment to adjust activities, or recording lectures with Google Glass. Students on a field trip could use Google Glass to enhance reality with data about what they are looking at. (Delgado, 2014). Microsoft’s HoloLens could allow students to go on that same field trip without leaving the classroom. The possibilities seem endless.
Bafile, C., (2009). Mobile Technology Goes to School. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech248.shtml
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Corbeil, J., & Valdes-Corbeil, M. E. (2007, January 1). Are You Ready for Mobile Learning? Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2007/1/are-you-ready-for-mobile-learning
Delgado, R. (20 April, 2014). Imagining the Classroom of 2016, Empowered by Wearable Technology. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/04/imaging-the-classroom-of-2016-empowered-by-wearable-technology/
Maloy, R, Verock-O’Loughlin, R, Edwards, S., Woolf, B. (2016). Transforming Learning with New Technologies (3rd ed). Boston, MA: Pearson.