The decision to ask students to bring their own devices to class must be a collective one, taken together with the rest of the teachers: when the school accepts students’ personal communication devices for working in class, teaching and learning become part of the expanded, enriched culture of our digital age. It helps create trust and confidence, merging formal and informal learning, and developing inquiring attitudes in and out of school. There is no better way to get started than to create a BYOD network among the teachers!
If students are allowed to use their own digital learning tools in class, they will learn how to develop both habits and skills for accessing the net when they need to. Some of the subjects that students can practice when BYOD is allowed in the school include transferring abilities from classwork into daily experiences, self-protection on the net, respect for others’ privacy, distant social interaction, and international collaboration.
As soon as BYOD is embedded in school policy, attitudes can be transferred as much as skills. Whether they use smartphones, portables, or tablets, students can discover processes in class that mirror their own day-to-day situations: deciding to search instantly or not, postponing answers to arriving messages, modulating feedback (tone, register, vocabulary), or managing their time, are some of the real-life experiences they can reflect on in the classroom. Does this sound risky? Empowering freedom is always risky, but it’s worth it! Sometimes, a simple “classroom contract” is useful to avoid cyber-bullying and establish clear rules for the use of devices in the school!
Raising students’ learning autonomy, and promoting their participation in solving problems in the classroom, makes it possible to stimulate their inquiring mind and, eventually, their learning consciousness. By learning how to do this using their own digital tools, they can continue their personal investigations at home and use classroom time for active learning and practical implementation.
Ready to try? Why not start by inviting your colleagues to join our teachers’ community, here in Microsoft Partners in Learning, and ask them to develop their personal professional networks?