Week 9 Reflection: Emerging Technology
This week in our class we read about Does Every School Need A “BYOD” Policy? After reading the materials, I am still unsure about how I feel about this. I see the pros and cons, but I think I am split in the middle right now.
Some of the pros that I read about are that students would be able to take their devices home, since the devices are their own, and they would know how to use them. Some cons I see concern students who can’t afford to get the latest phone, iPad, or computer—many of the parents of these students live on a fixed income and can’t afford to get Internet at home. How beneficial to these students would it be for students to be bringing their own devices in to school? So, I think BYOD depends on the school. A good deal of planning and parent education would have to go into this, because if I am a parent on a fixed income and buy my child a device and Internet and don’t see the benefits of it from school I am going to be upset. So, if this is to happen, we will need buy-in from the parents as well.
Another issue arises from the fact that some parents don’t want their children on the Internet, or they don’t allow them unsupervised access. To these parents, school technology use is supervised and home use is supervised. But BYOB works on the assumption that the child will be carrying around a device and going online away from home and school. There are many factors to consider before a BYOD can happen at a school.
If you can’t get every student’s family behind BYOD, it’s not hard to imagine discrimination issues coming up, as all curriculum is supposed to be made equally available to all students. The last thing teachers want to do is set up our classrooms in ways that separate the “haves” from the “have-nots.” This problem may be avoided if the school provides a device to a student-in-need, maybe on through some kind of school-year lease arrangement.
In our school, we only have a technology person at our school Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, so, if we are having issues, we won’t be able to ask the technology person. Maybe someone else in the school would have the answer, but that is hard because most of the teachers are teaching and will not be able to leave their classrooms. As for me, I am a Mac person and have used a Mac, so if a student has a different computer, I wouldn’t be confident on how to help them without more training. The same thing goes for the smart phone. I use a Samsung phone, so if a student uses an iPhone or different one, I won’t know how to help them. But, still, I can see where BYOD may run smoothly if everyone is on board and helping each other out. Most likely, someone in your class will know how to use that device if you are not sure.
From reading other people’s blogs, it seems I’m not the only one who feels divided on this issue. Other students agree that, if this technology is brought into the school, teachers will need more training. We also tweeted about BYOD in our Twitter chat. I found out that most of us have not used BYOD in our schools. I think we were split on how people felt on opening this to all grades. Many of us have concerns. We also talked about the possibility of students and parents signing an agreement on their use of technology in the classroom, agreeing that if it is not used properly, it will be taken away. It would be similar to what they sign already to use computers at school. School officials have the right to block access if a student misuses the school’s electronic access. I think the same thing should go for their devices. It they misuse them, they no longer can use them in school.
I think there are pros and cons to this, but, with a well thought-out plan and buy-in from the teachers, parents, and students, maybe it could work. Jessica pointed out that Anchorage School District has started this, and four schools participated in it last year. I would love to hear from parents, students, and teachers on what went well and what didn’t before we start it in our school. I think if I see that it went well, then I will more likely agree that it should be implemented in schools. If it didn’t go well and our school is up next to implement it, then we can make sure that problems the other schools have had don’t happen at our school and, hopefully, make the program run better for us.