Sunday, April 27, 2014

Are You Leading with Fear? #BYOD

           As the temperature begins to rise, I reminisce back to a warm summer day while sitting on a bench next to the pool watching my five-year-old son climbing the never-ending ladder of the high dive.  As he reached the summit, he casually walked to the edge of the board with a smile on his face. Without a care in the world, he leapt into the water! His confidence and tenacity allowed him to complete this act with faith in his ability.  As he plunged to the surface, several questions formulated in my mind. When does fear creep into our consciousness?  Is it a learned behavior?  Or are we innately born with these trepidations?
           Throughout the world of education, I feel as though many are leading with fear.  There are major concerns regarding social media and the fear of allowing students to use their cell phones for educational purposes.  As an educator and parent, I have come to the realization that, like it or not, social media and mobile learning devices are going to be an integral part of our children’s lives.  Aren’t we supposed to be preparing today’s youth for the real world?  Should we allow our fears and apprehension to hinder the technological education our children need to advance in their field of study?
           Some of the uneasiness in allowing students to bring their own devices to school revolves around cheating, stealing, broken devices, and the inability of some students to bring a device.  In reality, these challenges have always been present within the classroom.  We cannot move forward technologically based upon the “what ifs.”  Instead, we must find solutions to these possible dilemmas and move forward to allow our students the ultimate learning experience.  We must maximize student usage of mobile learning devices to encourage the safe and meaningful use of technology within the classroom setting.  It is up to the school district to set clear and stringent guidelines. Some simple ways to do so includes requiring students to keep the devices flipped over on top of their desks while taking a test.  Also, having a “responsible use policy” in place is a must.  The students and parents should have a clear understanding of what is appropriate use in the classroom.  They should also have a clear understanding of consequences of misuse.  When teachers give students the opportunity to be responsible, the results are inspiring. Teachers modeling proper usage are also beneficial. It is important to understand that “bring your own device” allows the students the opportunity to learn in a way that is most conducive to them.  It allows them to think independently and critically in a manner in which they are most familiar.  We are allowing them to bring the technology they are comfortable with at home into the classroom setting.  It is not a replacement for a 1:1 initiative; instead it provides students with opportunities to enhance their learning while incorporating the necessary technology skills to compete in our rapidly changing world.

Resources to Ease the Fear of BYOD

Cross-post from the Remind101 Blog.


  1. Great post Scott! Thanks for sharing your passion for BYOD and more. It's great to have educators like you on the front lines of what is best for kids. Keep up the outstanding work!

  2. Thanks Craig! I appreciate the kind words!

  3. Hi Scott,
    Really enjoy reading your posts, thanks for sharing.
    Ive been trying very hard to push a mobile device acceptable use policy in our school which currently has a blanket ban on all devices in school, with confiscation the consequence.
    Tha main points holding the policy from being passed by admin is this fear you speak about. Fear of students accessing inappropriate material using their data, fear of photographing and publishing photos of students or staff without consent, fear of distraction and maybe fear of change from staff.
    Ive tried hard to offer solutions through this AUP, but the fear of letting go of some control and giving students some trust and responsibility seems to be a sticking point. Could you offer any words of advice I could take to our next senior staff meeting? Its been a hard battle but one im running out of steam with!

  4. I'm in a school that is a hybrid byod where they have laptops bought through us but also can bring other devices. The fear I have is not of how the students will use it but the policies or lack of policies in place to deal with situations that arise and also lack of enforcement of policies. Fear tends to be learned from prior experiences and my fears are situated around the fact that I'm worried the administration will ruin this good thing as they have with other things.

  5. Blake- Don't give up! I would start by asking if the administration would allow a pilot program with just a couple of classrooms. Get teachers involved that are as passionate as you. Then invite the administrators to your classroom to demonstrate the positives of BYOD. Also, inviting teachers into your classroom to see it in action is very beneficial. Here are some more resources that you can use.

  6. Jimmy- You bring up many good points. I have also been involved with a hybrid byod program. The AUP must be up to date. It is very important that everyone in the district follows these policies and that there are consequences for misuse. Continue to promote the positives of your byod program!

  7. Everyone knows that BYOD is a popular trend today. I found a cool article exposing the benefits of using your own device at work