BYOD Red Herrings


There have been a number of thoughts about BYOD posted recently.  I think that many of them are red herrings, detracting from the real issues.

I should state right up front that I’m a big supporter of the Bring Your Own Device movement.  And, it’s not for the reason I’ve heard so often “They’ve got their smartphones on them; they should use them”.  I think that makes wild assumptions and is easily refuted.

Some of the red herrings I’ve heard/read…

Digital Divide
The use of BYOD reinforces the difference between the haves and the have-nots.  This makes an assumption that simply isn’t there.  Not all “haves” have the technology and not all the “have-nots” don’t have the technology.  And, just because a school invites students to bring their own technology to the classroom, it doesn’t mean that it will happen.  Many parents will be afraid of loss or theft and ask that they be kept at home.

SmartPhones
So often the discussion about BYOD focuses on the SmartPhone, and one brand in particular.  That’s a narrow focus.  There are tablets, netbooks, and laptops that can do the job so well.

Dumbing Down the Curriculum
Because of the diversity of technologies, teachers will dumb down the curriculum so that everyone will be successful with BYOD.  I would hope that never happens.  The curriculum is why education exists.  Everything else is assistive.

Texting Is Distracting
Absolutely, and there’s no question that it is.  So were spitballs and writing cutesy words on a calculator upside down.  Somehow education managed to deal with that!  We’ll deal with this as well.

We Can’t Implement Until We Have a Policy
We have a lot of policies in place.  I’m sure that you do at your place of work too.  Do you know them all?  Are they enablers?  Are you only able to function once you have a policy in place?  Maybe we should step back and take a good look at common sense?  Doesn’t being a good student and being a good digital citizen mean that you know when and how to use it properly?

BYOD Promotes Single Use of Technology
Actually, any activity in the classroom could promote singularity, if you let it.  No classroom is going to go from 0 to 60 overnight just because of BYOD.  However, given some time to polish your practice, it won’t take long.

BYOD Takes the Responsibility of Buying Technology Away from the School/District
This is a biggy.  If it does, then it takes away from the whole premise of BYOD and the School/District gets a big “for shame”.  BYOD should be an enabler, allowing students to learn about their device and how it can be used to enhance their studies.  

All of the above are definitely issues and I don’t want to belittle any of them.  But, I think that they are all distractors from the bigger issue.  We’ve predicted the end of the educational world before with ball point pens, calculators, and even the desktop computer.

Instead of the negatives, a BYOD should focus on the positives.  Instead of doing things differently, why not focus on doing different things altogether?  Instead of focussing on one school purchased application, why can’t we allow for learning on the fly with diverse applications and technology enabled solutions?

It won’t be long before we look back on posts like this and say “Gee, that was really archaic”.

OTR Links 05/02/2012


  • Many people go through their childhood years and are confronted by a bully at some point. Simply because this is a common occurrence certainly does not make it acceptable. While many parents might be tempted to brush it off, consider this: each day, around 160,000 students skip school due to fears of attacks from bullies. Bullying is a serious threat to children that affects them physically, mentally and emotionally.

    tags: being school understanding bullying

  • Fraser Institute flunks on grading high schools

    tags: british columbia globe mail

  • Technology in classrooms isn’t necessarily good or bad — it’s how you use it that counts, an audience of educators, technology experts, parents and policy-makers heard at a conference Wednesday.

    tags: impact tech children

  • I’ve spent many years analyzing, understanding, and deploying education technology. As Edudemic grows up into a more professional site (slowly but surely), I’ve noticed that I get pitched a lot of products in hopes that I write a review / share it with you. Terry, Edudemic’s editor, and I routinely go through pitches and submissions to see if they have some worth.

    tags: edtech twitter ifttt rubric

  • Looking inside this folder, I found that it contained three dated folders, one each for the past three days. Inside each of those were a number of files; many, I could tell, were from my shared project folders. Because we use a versioning system on one of those projects, I could see multiple versions of many files. In all, I found 8 GB of cached files.

    tags: dropbox cache drive space macworld

  • Ah, the end of the year. Everyone’s tired and losing focus. Some tests are behind you (state tests, AP exams), some may be ahead of you, and probably no one – you or your students – is really at their best. So what’s a teacher to do?
    Choose a goal to make the last month of school an effective one.

    tags: activities

  • A few weeks ago, a school administrator shared a story about how he tried to block Google’s chat feature, but his students created a workaround. They opened up a new Google Doc, shared it with friends, and used the sidebar chat to talk with each other.

    tags: google cloud

  • You do not need to register to watch the Hangouts On Air. Visit the Conference Schedule tab to find sessions that interest you and add them to your calendar. All Hangouts will be live on the presenters’ Google+ Page on May 2nd at the appointed time. 

    tags: education conference google+ google hangout edtech edchat

  • News that Microsoft has sunk $300 million into a venture with Barnes & Noble sends a clear signal that the computing giant and the bookseller aim to shake up the e-book market with new ammo in their fight against Amazon and Apple.

    tags: microsoft cash will barnes noble cnn cnn com com

  • Back in January I first posted about initial progress on the Ubuntu Accomplishments project; an effort to present our users with fantastic documentation and guidance for a range of different community activities and automatically award our users with trophies when they accomplish those activities. The end-goal is to make opportunities on your computer and in your community more discoverable and satisfying when accomplished.

    tags: ubuntu release

  • Give GNOME Shell a spin if you’re looking for a slick, new Linux desktop environment. It’s similar to Unity in some ways, but more flexible in others – GNOME Shell supports extensions, which can add missing features.

    tags: how to gnome shell ubuntu geek

  • Ubuntu 12.04, codenamed Precise Pangolin, was released last week, and I’ve been updating my Linux boxes to the shiny new version of the operating system. The upgrade system has gotten a lot smoother in recent years, but I still like to do a fresh installation for each release on my PC and netbook. In this short roundup, I’ll look at some great third-party applications that you can get from the Software Center to augment your Ubuntu installation.

    tags: free favorite open source source apps ubuntu

  • A personal cloud storage service from Canonical, the commercial team responsible for the Ubuntu Linux-based operating system. Ubuntu One isn’t limited to use on just the Ubuntu OS; rather, it’s a free suite of cloud services that provides users with online cloud storage, syncing, sharing and streaming capabilities for managing personal data across numerous devices operating on a variety of operating systems.

    tags: linux term ubuntu

  • Voki is a web based interactive avatar that is fully customizable to say dialogue that you type or say. It’s great for students to do creative storytelling, recite poetry, sing songs or pretty much anything that requires voice.

    tags: notebook voki

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.