#BYOD does support student engagement – Here are some tips for productive usage

Students participate in a class chat on Twitter with the class that meets next door.

Students participate in a class chat on Twitter with the class that meets next door. Some use cell phones and others use laptops and tablets to participate.

Some schools may frown on it, ensuring compliance with policies and protocols written. Some teachers may insist they distract. Some students may only know how to use them for distraction…

Technology is here, though and it seems futile to shun it or ignore it; by embracing it, we can harness its power for educational good and help create more well-rounded, tech savvy students.

Currently, students can use devices in all of my classes. My school is limited in its technology – many classes need it and there are a finite number of laptops and only one dedicated lab. To compensate for this, my juniors and seniors are allowed to use smart phones, tablets or home issued laptops to facilitate their learning.Here are some protocols I’ve put in place to ensure “proper” and appropriate class usage:

  • Kids take out phones when they come into class – appropriate behavior doesn’t need to be secret or hidden, so the devices come out right away and are left in plain sight on the desks, face down.
  • Directions are given for the class
  • Students are allowed to be on their devices to participate in class chats on #twitter, do research related to class, read on readers through email or internet, work on Google drive to access work
  • Three strike policy for students who are caught off task – students aren’t allowed to go on Facebook, or text each other. If they are caught texting, the phone is to be put away for the class period. If they are caught a second time, the phone is taken away. The third time revokes phone usage for all. (I have never gotten to 3).

Although I’m sure some students are off task more times than I catch them, I allow for a certain latitude. We all stray for moments, I don’t find that offensive. Students have been distracted by a paper and pen for a long time, a device is no less or more distracting if a child isn’t engaged. The goal is make sure each child is excited about the learning.

I’ve had a lot of success using the devices in class. Understandably, it isn’t for everyone – but why not try it before you decide they won’t be effective.

What’s one fear you have about implementing a #BYOD policy in your class? Or how are you successfully using devices in your classes?

 

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