Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bring it on BYOD

One of the first tasks I need to complete as part of EDEM630 is to select a research topic, under the umbrella of change with digital technologies in education, to direct my own study of the literature during the course in preparation for the final research paper or case study I will have to submit.

It was a no brainer for me as to what I wanted to focus on and anyone reading back through my previous posts will notice I have already started musing out loud about this kaupapa as so much of my work and strategic planning as DP and the lead teacher of e-learning revolves around this - BYOD.

My first task is as follows:
  • STATE your research topic and identify the specific digital technology (or technologies).
  • WHY did you choose the topic? What interests you about it? Do you have an opinion about the issues involved?
  • WHO are the information providers on this topic? Who might publish information about it? Who is affected by the topic? Do you know of organizations or institutions affiliated with the topic?
  • WHAT are the major questions for this topic? Is there a debate about the topic? Are there a range of issues and viewpoints to consider?
  • WHERE is your topic important: at the local, national or international level? Are there specific places affected by the topic?
  • WHEN is/was your topic important? Is it a current event or an historical issue? Do you want to compare your topic by time periods?

My research topic will be: What support needs to be provided to ensure a successful BYOD programme?

I chose this topic because going whole school BYOD is a huge change currently being implemented at Cobham and it will continue to play a major role in our strategic planning going forward as well as all teaching and learning programmes, hopefully in time, play a vital role in improved student assessment and evaluation processes, not to mention opening up learning to whānau and our wider community.  This is a relatively new topic to education, increasing in interest over the last 4 or so years since the iPad/tablet was developed as the introduction of smaller, more affordable devices made the possibility of a 1:1 programme, with all students using some form of personal computer or mobile device, an absolute reality.

There are lot's of fantastic information providers available online who have lots of relevant thinking and resources to share, here are some New Zealand gems!
Virtual Learning Network (VLN) - BYOD in Schools Group
Enabling e-Learning - Learning with 1:1 digital devices
Twitter - BYOD
CORE Education Ltd - BYOD
EdTalks - BYOD, 1:1 digital devices

Besides these I would like to acknowledge that there is a wealth of information shared internationally that offers much to learn from but some of the best learning I have gleaned about this topic and leadership around e-learning has been from other educators blogging about their journey, here are just a couple of my favourite Kiwi bloggers:

Making the decision for a school to go BYOD and move towards a 1:1 device programme is a big one as people have differing opinions on whether this is a good thing or not.  There are plenty of fantastic discussions online debating the pros and cons or the things worth considering before you take that leap:

I personally think it is a must.  Schools cannot and should not have to provide all students with a laptop or tablet but rather take advantage of the fact that most students already have one anyway and now we can use these devices to engage and ignite learning in the classroom by introducing BYOD.  I do believe though, that schools must address the issue of equity and should always make up the shortfall and provide devices for all students who are not able to purchase/provide their own.

The major questions that are driving my own thinking and seem to be the key questions considered in many debates around the topic are...
  1. How do we ensure staff are prepared and feeling confident and competent enough to run a successful 1:1 digital device programme in their class?  If staff are not ready, it is likely that they may not include opportunities for students to effectively use their devices and therefore we have parents spending lots of money on learning tools that don't get used!
  2. How can we track whether the 1:1 digital device programme is successful for both staff and students?
  3. Is it better to mandate what type of device should be used or allow any type? What are the pros and cons of both option?
  4. What can the school do to ensure equitable outcomes for all students? (e.g. access to a quality device, access to all learning opportunities provided, opportunities for engaging learning experiences utilising the devices)
I would love to hear any ideas, thoughts, feedback or links to other interesting reads or research you may know about that could help me on my way - sharing is caring!

* Singh, N. (2012, December). B.Y.O.D. Genie is out of the bottle - "Devil or Angel".  Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research.  Retrieved from

Description: This journal article focuses on the trend of businesses allowing their employees to 'bring their own device' to use at work and the pros and cons of this happening in the workplace.
Evaluation: The information comes from a reputable source and follows the expected model of a research article with excellent information, literature review, data and analysis.  This article was useful for my research as it clearly documented a similar methodology as to what I hope to follow with my own research and had an abundance of information that although was related to the context of a business/workplace environment, it had obvious links to the context of education.  

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