Last week our school started a BYOD trial with my class. We have been wanting to increase the ratio of devices to students for some time and after talking to @annekenn about her classes journey this year (and getting some great resources – thanks Anne!) at the last educampdunners we decided to try our own leap into the future!
Here are the agreement / disclosure forms we asked each student to read and fill in with the parents in this box.net folder – feel free to download. Below is also the parent letter that was sent home introducing the trial to the parents, as well as the link to the classroom blog post that explained what we are doing and how it’s going so far.
On the first day of our trial we created a ‘stem chart’ of possible issues that may arise and how we could address them. The two ideas that we decided to promote to our parents were;
– make sure you have really good contents insurance – damage is the responsibility of the owner (within reason, excusing deliberate damage by another student, obviously).
– students with personal devices should be sole users unless collaborating with another student under supervision.
We’ve also discovered how to do a search in icloud to find our ios devices which could be a handy deterrant from theft in the future. – (plus it;s just so cool to see how accurate the GPS is on our devices!)
Here is a recorded interview with some students from our class about how the trial is going so far. It was really interesting to also hear from 2 students who don’t have their own device at school and the impact the trial is having on them.
Here are our next steps
1. Upgrade our wireless to cope with the increased device connections. We are in the process of getting high-speed broadband (the diggers are outside my office window as we speak) and we’re also investigation getting a ‘robust’ wireless network that is industrial standard. A bonus of this, we are told, will be the ability to trace the user’s footprints on our internet connection by tracking the mac address of that device (an important part of the BYOD registration process which we collect off each user’s device when they arrive at school).
2. Planning a parent workshop for all parents interested in a future BYOD policy across the school. Having the trial in our school will give us some excellent data, experience and student reflections about the use of personal devices in class – rather than talking about some other school’s experience.
We have decided to gather advice, make informed decisions and work with our students and parents as we go. I know of some schools who are taking a cautionary approach and working through ALL possible pitfalls before they jump in. There are pros and cons to that approach but, so far, we are enjoying the collaborative path; working with parents and students as we go.
So far…so good.