A common misconception from people in my generation or older is that BYOD is a threat to student learning; that student access to a digital device in the classroom somehow undermines the learning process. What a load of codswallop!!
If approached with common sense, creativity, patience and a willingness to learn from (technological) failures, BYOD could be the vehicle for transforming underachieving students. There’s no reason why high performing students and all those in between wouldn’t reap the benefits either.
I’m encouraged that I’m not the only teacher out there that thinks like this. I came across Bill Ferriter’s blog today – The Tempered Radical. His post, My Beef with Paper, is brilliant! It made me think about a conversation I’ve had recently regarding the use of iPads in classrooms. Whilst some people think iPads are only useful in terms of Internet access and subject-specific apps, I think they offer so much more to students. Think note-taking, for example. Why force students to take notes by hand for them only to lose individual pieces of paper 5 minutes after they’ve left the classroom? (Yes, I was one of ‘those’ students…) Taking notes in class has no correlation to a student’s ability to write essays in exams. They’re different skills. If your lesson is focused on developing an exam-specific skill, get students to use pen and paper. But if not, digital options provided by BYOD could actually benefit many students. Since when did BYOD mean the absence of any other tool? You wouldn’t use a chisel to hammer a nail because it’s the wrong tool for the job, so why do people expect an iPad for example to do everything? It’s. a. tool.
BTW, when I think ‘note-taking’ I’m not talking about ‘word processing’ or ‘desktop publishing’ as these are quite different skills. If you’re interested in some excellent note-taking apps for the iPad (and some have Android options too), try Evernote, inClass or Microsoft OneNote (PC or app (iOS or Android)). They’ll help ‘those’ students, trust me…