Kate Friedwald describes step-by-step the process she went through from researching BYOD to setting up a classroom learning programme using BYOD. She talks about how she involved parents and what she did over the first weeks to ensure students were confident at using the technologies to support their learning.
So during 2013 I had a few ipads in the class. They were working well but the pitfalls were: access to them all the time, students not being able to carry on their learning at home.
So I investigated the idea of one-to-one. I visited a number of schools that were running a similar trial with school-owned devices or with a BYOD but not compulsory option. I spoke to my previous high school, Orewa College, about ways that they made it compulsory in their programme. A lot of learning online, especially through the VLN, and that got me to a space where I could put a proposal to the Board on what we could be doing.
After the learning that I undertook into one-to-one and BYOD programmes, I decided what did I want to take away from that and put into my own teaching and my students learning. I went away and had a big think about what the most important things were. To me that was independent learning, it was ownership of learning, and it was resources and capability to learn where, when, and as far as we wanted to learn. I took that into the classroom, into my planning, made me realise my planning has to be transparent for children, for parents, to understand what they are going to be doing, when they can do it, how they can do it. I then needed to put that in place in the classroom. So, I worked with the children on how they could change their learning to work with their device, how they could learn through email, how they could learn through the Internet, how they could learn at home, and we formed a responsibility model of how everybody’s parts, my part, what I need to do to provide the digital learning and what the children need to do to learn digitally, and that formed the base of our programme.
So, the responsibility model, every child when they enter our BYOD programme signs a BYOD agreement, and that’s between the parent, the children and myself on behalf of the school. So every party has responsibility. The children's responsibilities: to bring their device, leave it in their locked tote tray, ensure it’s charged overnight, things like that. That they visit suitable sites, use suitable apps. My responsibilities: to provide digital learning, to educate on digital citizenship, to inform parents of any problems that their child’s not meeting their requirements. The parent’s responsibilities: to make sure that their child remains safe on their device while they are at home, that their apps are always updated, that they’ve got the required apps on there, and to inform us of any concerns.
So, I got together with a lot of the parents and a lot of the children in the school holidays before the term started, and we sat together one on one setting up ipads. We set up things like email connection, Internet connection, turned off the sounds, and really just got the iPad working and functioning for that child.
When we started school, the first day there was a lot of excitement. There was a lot of hey look at my cool case, look at my new cool apps. So I let them do that. I think that’s important. We then went sort of one-by-one, in the first day it was all about how does our email work. We sent emails around to each other. The next day it was setting up things like their Blogger and working on how that went. So it was a step, one step at a time into the independent learning. The first few weeks there was very little movement. They could just decide the order they did things in, then the next week there was one less thing they had to do and they got to structure that time a bit more, down to now we are in Term 3, there’s a few must-dos they’ve got, and they might have 40 minutes to an hour of time where they can structure it how they want during the day.
One-to-one ipads is a fantastic way for learning in the 21st Century. The children take so much ownership of their own learning. Student collaboration through their ipads, especially during one to one, is at an all time maximum. It allows them to work with each other, to understand their learning better, and to fulfil their needs better.