Oak Mountain High School Bring Your Own Device Bringing it to the classroom By Danny DuBose Oak Mountain HS Teacher/Coach
Why me? • 19th year teaching overall, 13th at Oak Mountain. • I believed that I was as good a teacher as I needed to be. • I have a tendency to volunteer or ask questions that get me put into these positions. • I have a forward-thinking Principal, Administrative Staff, and an awesome Geometry PLC. • I “agreed” to let my PLC be the first 21st- century PLC in the math department. • I got a Promethean Board, Clickers, and a slate. • I got the “Technology Bug”.
Before this year, OMHS teachers: • Went to the computer lab or media center. • Checked out the laptop cart. • Told our students to go home and use their computers to: • Check the teacher’s blog. • Do research. • Print notes in advance of class. • Work on Research Papers/Projects. • Submit work to be graded. If the labs were full, the students were without the ability to use technology in the classroom. .
Beginning: • In order to get things started, the school had to become more “user friendly”. • Each classroom was previously wired with several ports where the computers could “plug-in to the internet. • Our Principal convinced our PTO to make our school wireless. • Over the summer, PTO funded the project to have wireless routers placed throughout the school, giving our entire campus a wireless hookup for all devices. • The wireless internet runs through the system’s filters.
What the teachers were told: • The teachers were told that they could allow students to use their own devices, or to not allow them. It was totally up to the teacher’s discretion. • Any educational use of the devices would be fine. • The Acceptable Use Policy would still apply to the student’s devices as well. • The teachers were told to not allow students to visit improper websites, social network, text, etc. • Be creative with the use of the devices.
How the information was gathered: • I sent out a request to our teachers in the school. • I asked them, via email, who allowed the use of devices in their classrooms. • I also asked for the positive and negative experiences that they have encountered this year involving the BYOD process with the students. • I received an email response from about 25 teachers, roughly ¼ of the total teaching faculty. • I also spoke with several others about their experiences. • A total of about 33 teachers, 1/3 of the school, replied.
The positive feedback:. • English Teachers allow the students to use their devices to: • Download and read novels, books, etc. • Research topics online. • Check Edmodo for Assignments • Discuss topics on Edmodo
The positive feedback: • The Math Teachers used their devices to: • Check Edmodo/blogs for assignments • Pre-load notes for students to view in class. • Take Notes in class. • Work on projects in class. • Research. • Play levels based games to help learn concepts. • Take “Open-blog” Quiz • Take “Phoney-notes” • Use On-line graphing calculators. • Use Apps – flash cards, calculators, etc.
The positive feedback: • Art Teachers allowed students to use devices to: • Look up/save pictures – instead of print them • Research artists • Look up other pictures in order to come up with ideas. • Compare/Contrast different styles of art. • Check Edmodo, turn in assignments.
The positive feedback: • The Science Teachers allow students to use their devices to: • Check Edmodo for notes/ assignments/ communication/ checking answers. • Use Quest (AP Physics) to do online HW • Turning in projects. • Researching information for projects.
The positive feedback: • Special Needs Teachers allow students to use devices to: • Use apps that help students develop better social skills. • Use apps that help students develop better communication skills. • Use special apps for autism.
The positive feedback: • Graphic Design/Web Design students use devices to: • Check out code writing for errors. • Develop and use QR codes. • Advanced class – Create and play board games with QR codes. • Check Edmodo/Blogs
The positive feedback: • Foreign Language students use devices to: • Look for answers to questions. • Figure out “how to “ say certain phrases. • Translate articles. • Get ahead by getting notes off of Edmodo.
The positive feedback: • In any setting, the students are able to use their library card to upload reference books from the Library. • If the reference books in the OMHS Media Center are being used, they can take their devices, use their own North Shelby Library card, and log-in to the North Shelby Library to use their reference books. They can do this from any room in the school, so they don’t have to be in our media center to use reference books.
Summary of Positive Feedback: • Lots of Edmodo use. • Teachers are becoming more creative with how to use the technology, due to the fact that they are able to use it more often. • Most of the teachers see that the positive uses really help to ENGAGE the student as a learner.
HOWEVER…………………… • Teachers also had negative experiences: • Most teachers felt that the students would break policy and play games/surf the web when they weren’t supposed to. • Teachers do not like having to “police” the students and keep up with what they are doing with their technology. • Some devices have been left sitting around and have turned up missing. • Social Media issues during lockdowns, fire drills, or other big events. • Cheating – sharing of information, pictures of tests, etc using devices. • Some math teachers do not allow the use of devices as calculators on tests. – Cheating
Previously, we did not allow devices due to students: • Texting • Sexting • Cheating • Gaming • Making Phone calls home without permission. • Taking Inappropriate pictures • Devices get stolen or broken.
Solutions? • Some teachers feel like a more unified policy for BYOD would help them to “police” the students misusing the devices. • Some feel like they should just not be allowed. Like everything else, “if it is not broke, don’t fix it.”” • Some feel that the penalties need to be more harsh on the student’s, thus discouraging students from using the devices incorrectly. • Some just want to add more rules/procedures on how to manage the use of the devices.
Reality… • Looks like the same list of problems that we are having now. • Bringing in the devices has not raised our number of discipline referrals for misuse of devices. • Students will always push the limits of what we tell them is allowed.
Reality • The more rules you put onto the use of the devices, the harder they will be to enforce. Stick with as few rules as possible. • When making policy, Stick to the “Misuse” of devices at school as the guide for disciplinary action, as opposed to just “possession” of the devices
Compare to this… We don’t close the interstates because drivers drive too fast. We give tickets to the speeders. All the speeders don’t get caught. If the same speeder gets caught enough times, then the speeder loses his/her license. We educate our drivers to drive safely and follow the rules of the road.
We should educate our students on proper use of devices at even younger ages. These devices are part of their daily lives. This is what they know, what they use, and what they like to do. To keep them from using the devices in an educational setting does not make sense.
We must decide as teachers, administrators, etc, as to whether our policies need improving, or if our compliance with the existing policies just needs to be more strictly enforced. Once this is done, and the rules are enforced, then problems with misuse of devices will diminish even more.