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How BYOD is impacting learning – initial thoughts

05 Nov

The iPad is to learning what the calculator was to mathematics

Are iPads the new calculator?

Bring your own device (BYOD) is the latest catchphrase to be bandied around schools and education conferences the world over. Coupled with the rise of portable devices like the iPad, we find ourselves in exciting times.

When thinking about BYOD for my own school, I constantly come back to the iPad over any other mobile device – smartphone, iPod touch, laptop, tablet pc, netbook, eReader.

Why?

  • Relatively speaking, the cost of an iPad is cheap, or at least on a par, with devices of similar performance (yes, netbooks are usually cheaper, but they don’t perform on the same level)
  • The variety of software (apps) available is astonishing (compare the number and range of apps available on the App Store with Android’s Market Place)
  • The minimal cost of apps is not going to be a barrier or induce a ‘have vs. have nots’ situation
  • The iPad’s battery life versus that of a laptop, for example
  • The screen size versus that of a phone or mp3 player
  • The fact that the iPad is incredibly easy to use and has yet to have a serious contender for the slate crown

Sure, the iPad does have it flaws (such as weaknesses in file management, limitations on printing, the availability of extension ports, and a sometimes less than adequate browsing experience especially with Flash and AJAX etc), but given that it takes up very little space in a students bag or desk yet can store a large amount of data, it’s hard not to consider the iPad for BYOD in secondary classrooms.

I’m sure the education sector would have had discussions about the introduction (and later mandatory student ownership) of scientific calculators in the 1970’s and 1980’s that had similar sentiments to the discussions in schools today about the benefits, or not, of implementing a BYOD programme. You can see the two camps can’t you; those teachers and senior management who are willing to sacrifice a large amount of their own time researching, thinking and experimenting with different learning opportunities that new technology may bring versus another group who simply want to do things the same way they have done for years. I remember not being able to use a calculator in Maths in Form 3 (Year 9) – mine was confiscated – yet in Form 4 (Year 10) we were expected to have one (an FX-82 I think).

When considering different approaches towards BYOD in schools, I always have that analogy of the scientific calculator tapping me on the shoulder. It’s not solely about the hardware or whether your slate or calculator is branded Apple, Casio, Samsung or Sony. It’s not solely about what software a device runs (regular calculator or graphing calculator anyone?). It’s about how the combination of hardware and software, mixed with infrastructure such as a wireless network, enhances learning.

A number of secondary schools in New Zealand are seriously considering mandatory BYOD implementation. Others are still in the early stages, but have an eye open to the possibilities, and hitches, that can and will surface. Schools in NZ that are at the forefront of this include:

Imagine what a typical high school classroom will look like 5 years from now. Will we see printed exercise books and text books, or will they be digital? Will we see any paper at all? Will students be engaged or disengaged? What kind of technology will teachers use on a daily basis? What technology will students have in their pockets and/or in their bags/on the desk – will it be a pocket calculator or will that just be one of many functions fulfilled by a device like the iPad? Will students be using technology all of the time and in every class, or will BYOD be a natural tool that is expected of and by students and teachers rather than being at the forefront of educational debate?

So much to process!

BYOD - so much to process!

 

 

 

 

Jenny

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19 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2011 in BYOD, iPad

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

19 responses to “How BYOD is impacting learning – initial thoughts

  1. lenva

    November 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Great blogpost. Not only happening at high schools. We at Bucklands Beach Intermediate have had students bringing their own devices (ipads, ipods, laptops mac or pc) for 2 years now. Currently one third of the school take up this option.

     
  2. composerinthegarden

    November 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Hmm, my students play iPads as music instruments in my music ensemble (great music apps!), I read e-mail, manage my online sites, use iWork apps, and I just read part of a downloaded Brian Greene physics book in a restaurant while waiting for my husband to meet me for dinner. It fits into my bag so I always have it with me – the greatest innovation in the world to date.

     
  3. Bruce Henderson

    November 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    We’re getting to the stage it doesn’t matter about the platform. The apps are so varied, you have a choice in Apple or Android, it’s what you do with tbem. BYOD needs to become ubiquitous.

     
  4. Kerry Cook

    November 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    This would be a great resource for teaching especially for assignments that require research and for group work or collecting information on excursions.

     
  5. Andy

    November 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Don’t forget to look at the Manaiakalani Cluster in Auckland (http://www.manaiakalani.org/) . A different approach from BYOD. They have chosen to provide a standard device (I believe students can choose to provide their own, but very, very few do once they have looked into the differences of this approach)

     
    • Jenny

      November 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      Hi Andy

      Yes, I guess the Manaiakalani Cluster have gone down the path of providing devices because of the decile rating of the schools involved. They seem to be doing some great work with students and IT. I know Pt. England Primary have a really good reputation for student-created podcasts and such.

       
  6. ag4it

    November 16, 2011 at 5:32 am

    To facilitate BYOD schools must give students and staff easy but secure access to the school’s applications from various devices (including iPads, iPhones, Android devices and Chromebooks), while minimizing the intervention required by IT staff. An ideal solution for such a scenario is Ericom AccessNow, a pure HTML5 RDP client that enables remote users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server (RDS Session Host), physical desktops or VDI virtual desktops – and run their applications and desktops in a browser. AccessNow works natively with Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer (with Chrome Frame plug-in), Firefox and any other browser with HTML5 and WebSockets support.

    Concerned about security? Ericom AccessNow also provides an optional Secure Gateway component. This Gateway enables external clients to securely connect to internal resources using AccessNow without requiring a VPN.

    For more info, and to download a demo, visit:

    http://www.ericom.com/html5_rdp_client.asp?URL_ID=708

     
  7. ag4it

    December 1, 2011 at 3:29 am

    To facilitate BYOD schools must give students and staff easy but secure access to the school’s applications from various devices (including iPads, iPhones, Android devices and Chromebooks), while minimizing the intervention required by IT staff. An ideal solution for such a scenario is Ericom AccessNow, a pure HTML5 RDP client that enables remote users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server (RDS Session Host), physical desktops or VDI virtual desktops – and run their applications and desktops in a browser. AccessNow works natively with Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer (with Chrome Frame plug-in), Firefox and any other browser with HTML5 and WebSockets support.

    AccessNow also provides an optional Secure Gateway component enabling external users to securely connect to internal resources using AccessNow, without requiring a VPN.

    Ericom offers special pricing for education customers.

    For more info, and to download a demo, visit:

    http://www.ericom.com/html5_rdp_client.asp?URL_ID=708

    Note: I work for Ericom

     
  8. spiketown

    June 8, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Hi,

    Interesting read about BOYD. What we have found is that schools are beginning to roll out 1:1 devices (mainly the iPod touch so I was interested to see some of your thoughts above – the kids see portability as a bigger factor than screen size when we give them the choice each year) as homogenous sets and once the pedagogy and ethos is established a year or two down the line, allowing a more BOYD model. Students can still buy a “school device” but the option is to bring their own if they want. So far we have only encouraged devices using the same OS though. There is no reason longer term though why that should be the case as long as there are killer app types on different devices (a word processor, browser and so on). I CAN see where a problem might occur where you are wanting to do something like green screen films and the apps on one platform might be great but not on another. All surmountable though:

    http://www.spiketown.wordpress.com for constantly updated examples.

    Andrew

     
    • Jenny

      June 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Andrew

      Are you working in primary or secondary? I’m finding that high schools are siding with iPads rather than iPod touches, at least in 1:1 programs where the school provides the gear, whereas primary tend to have a mix of both as a minimum.

       
  9. spiketown

    June 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Jenny,
    The main take up so far has been in primary. The secondaries are taking it much more slowly, possibly because of the complexity of the larger numbers of children/timetabling/staff “training” but also as they seem fearful of the possible misuse of the devices.
    Although we started using mobile devices as a perceived need for some sort of personal mobile digital device in the classroom (much as we as adults would expect that for our work) some schools are definitely being seduced by the “big and shiny” aspect of using devices and of course the iPad is probably the shiniest of the lot right now. It is really interesting to see how the younger children respond to the devices. Some of the vids on the EYFS section of our blog show how children use the different size devices interchangeably (though the larger form is better for some tasks) but when questioned they were just as happy with either device. The marketing hasn’t reached them yet and the fact that both devices did great stuff meant they were held in equal esteem. When I go into older classes where every child has an iPod touch carrying my iPad I still get a lot of “woah, an iPad” type comments. When it comes to actually using using the device day in dog out though they still go for the pod as the mobility is the killer app. The most successful secondary school that presents at a lot of the Apple conferences in the UK alongside us (as primaries) also uses iPod touches, not the pads.
    I think it comes down to how the device fits your life though. My pad fits my life at work as I carry a bag with me, in my personal life my pad tends to stay in the house. However I take my pod everywhere, I take most notes on there, tend to use it for my diary entries and also for quick browsing. It fits pretty much wherever I am as it sits in my pocket and doesn’t take up an arm!

    There is always a trade off and we are looking at the advantages of the bigger form factor against the sheer hands free portability but at the moment the pod is the device that moves with me and the children. The pad allows me to be a mobile learner in that I am the mobile element (along with my pod acting as the data hoover) and the pad is one “terminal” that I sometimes use in the appropriate circumstances to then retrieve or use that data. It sits alongside my laptop and my mac.
    It is such a variable landscape though as I am sure you are finding?
    Andrew

     
  10. Christian Louboutin Boots

    March 1, 2013 at 5:36 am

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

     
    • Jenny

      July 31, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Glad it’s helped! :)

       
  11. Lucille

    July 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say great blog!

     
    • Jenny

      July 31, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks! :)

       

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