Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What’s in a name….BYOD, MLC, BYOT?

I have taken a journey over the past 6 months or so regarding my own personal learning as it pertains to the bring your own philosophy in schools.  I have been hearing, seeing, reading and talking about it and never really knew what the big idea was.  It seemed to me to be a good idea but when I would ask people how they were using the devices most of the time I would receive a blank stare or a half-hearted “because they are great for kids to use.”  I wasn’t satisfied with this answer and needed to get more information. 

Back in April our department began working on a plan to help outline and prepare our teachers for this bring your own concept, normally termed as BYOD or BYOT.  Even though this is how most people refer to it we decided, with the guidance from Marty Creech, to rename it as a Mobile Learning Community (MLC). 

As our team worked throughout the month I began realize that I needed to change my outlook on how I saw the ways that devices were used in the classroom.  I do not have as much time in the classroom as my colleagues so I needed to do some extra work by asking question, talking with others to see what they thought of the concept.  At first when I talked to educators their ideas were that they had this great app that would help their students.  When I would ask them how would one app benefit the entire class if it is only on one type of device the response was usually a blank stare or “but it’s a really great app I found and they can use it.”  My response would be to ask if they would pass their device to a student to use or pay for the app on their device.  The usually response was I will show it on the screen for them to follow along.  Which made me think; how is this helping the students.

We looked at it from a new direction.  We said that it should not matter what type of a device a student has it should matter how they are engaged in the learning process.  I had read Daniel Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind” and Ken Robinsons’ “The Element” and had seen Pinks’ new book “Drive” and started reading it.  As I was reading and thinking about motivators and why we do things the way we do I started to think about how this could translate into the classroom.  Sure enough by May our department was hip deep in the “Process of Learning” something which grew out of many different approaches of teaching.  From Project and Problem-based learning to CERTL and Learning Focused and even Socratic methods of teaching.  We put together a Process of Learning guide that took the best things from all the others and put it into a smaller more manageable format that could be set up quickly and most of all could be used regardless of whether or not there was access to technology devices or not.

I was still not feeling comfortable in the how my limited classroom time would translate into a convincing discussion with teachers about how this new training approach and the Process of Learning.  With some guidance, coaching and assistance from my co-workers; Marty Creech and Celia Gossett, I started to feel comfortable that I could be a guiding spark to teachers during this new approach to training.  I now feel that I can talk and offer suggestions to teachers based on their needs with curriculum that I did not have before starting this process.  My co-workers have empowered me by supporting and guiding me through this learning process which has proven successful throughout the training workshops we have delivered.

photo credit: eflon via photopin cc