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.

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