The trend that interests me the most at the moment is that of BYOD in schools. Having been a high user of technologies in my classroom for many years and more recently trying to encourage a school of teachers to use technology to enhance their teaching and programmes, this trend is the one that is forefront in our school and my classroom.
While I have a number of varieties of technology in my class we still have not yet gone BYOD. Only recently with the SNUP upgrade has our infrastructure been robust enough to possibly support a BYOD plan. Now….plans are being developed and discussed with myself as the eLearning teacher and my Principal. We have an idea and plans are beginning to be formulated, in the hopes that this will come into our practice in 2017.
According to the Horizon Report 2015, “The use of mobile and other technologies, combined with new instructional approaches and the ubiquity of the Internet, have led to more student-centered learning where students have autonomy over the tools and materials they use” (p.28). To my mind using their own devices develops more of the child’s 21st Century skills necessary for their life outside of the classroom and beyond the classroom. The skills needed today are very different from the skills we needed when we left school [too long ago to mention]. Students need to be able to communicate in person but safely and clearly online too. It has for many years been hard to manage online interactions and make sure all get a fair crack of the whip when there are limited devices in the class. I imagine much more scope and creativity in my class if each child had their own device, their learning would be more about them than me directing and delivering. My role would invariably change as it has over the last 10 years, it should evolve and develop as times change and I want to bring this change to other teachers in the school that are just beginning to see the possibilities available to them by using technology in the class.
In the priority learners report 2012 “ ERO encourages schools to develop systems, processes and connections that put students at the heart of learning and teaching, rather than on the periphery of school decision-making and the curriculum” (p. 6), why should our students not have a say in how they learn? The only problem with this in our school at the present time is the funding to support it, therefore BYOD is the only logical progression.
Of course for our unique situation this does pose problems. We have a small community that is the only means for fundraising. The same people are required to pay all the time – at present our situation is that we have lost a playground and are trying to raise funds to rebuild…with the vast expense of 240K to do this hanging over us it is difficult to ask parents/community for more funds to buy personal devices. Although I agree with Future- Focused Learning (2014) that “taking devices home also has consequential benefits” (p.11) it does become problematical when the same peoples finances are being stretched. Future-focused learning also stated that “schools and their funding and hardware partners could provide back-up devices in case of technology failure and breakage, and ensure no student misses out” (p.11) again this becomes problematical with insufficient funding to support this.
It is important for my role as eLearning director to facilitate the use and implementation of technologies in our school. Future-Focused Learning indicated that “every student and educator is to be a confident, competent user of digital technologies, we will need to provide curriculum resources and professional development opportunities for teachers” (p.9), my question again is who funds this? It has worked really well this term me being released to support staff, model and encourage in their classrooms with the technology, but this release time is unsustainable due to financial limitations. It’s a grave shame as some staff have really begun to gain traction in our focus on Film Making – it’s a worrying to think that this will dwindle if it’s not a focus and that support is not at their fingertips. Staff need to be comfortable and confident in the use of ICT’s in their class and this is/was beginning to improve with my support and guidance within their classes. In the European Survey of schools they also indicated that teacher confidence and ability were some of the biggest obstacles in implementing successful technology programmes in schools and BYOD.
The Ministry of Education’s draft outline vision for education in 2025 (2015) stipulates that education institutions should change and that all educators and students become the teachers and the learners (p.2). This IS what we want for our school, this IS our aim and our focus….the only problem will be when can it feasibly be implemented in our current situation.
21st Century Learning Reference Group. (2014). Future-focused learning in connected communities, (May), 1–37. Retrieved from http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Initiatives/FutureFocusedLearning30May2014.pdf
Baas Ton. (2013). BYOD - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Retrieved from http://blog.bizzdesign.com/byod-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly
Johnson, L., Krueger, K., Adams Becker, S., & Cummins, M. (2015). NMC Horizon Report > 2015 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf
Stoop, G. (2012). Evaluation at a Glance : Priority Learners in New Zealand Schools August 2012, (August). Retrieved from http://www.ero.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Evaluation-at-a-Glance-Priority-Learners-in-New-Zealand-Schools-August-2012.pdf
Ministry of Education. (2015). NEW ZEALAND EDUCATION IN 2025 : Lifelong Learners in a Connected World. Retrieved from http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Initiatives/Lifelonglearners.pdf