I’ll be honest: At the moment, I have a somewhat Jekyll and Hyde relationship with the concept of BYOD. While I enthusiastically embrace BYOD based on the fact that it will allow my students to have a 1:1 tech access, I also recognize that there are definite limitations to the transformative impact of BYOD.
Take, for example, the SAMR scale of technology implementation (which can be found here originally):
- Does the device have a camera function?
- Does the device have video editing software such as iMovie?
If a student is using an eReader, then the answer to the first question would be a resounding “no.” If a student is using an Android device, eReader, or PC laptop, then the answer to the second question is also, “no.” Of course there are ways around these issues, such as asking students to share devices, but that sort of defeats the 1:1 purpose of BYOD and also therefore limits the transformative learning that can occur.
More effectively, districts might consider a specified BYOD program. As in, a “Bring Your Own [Blank]” program that could target a specific device students could bring to use in the classroom. For example, about half of the students in each of my classes is using an iPod, iPhone, or iPad for their device. I think the potential for awesome exponentially increases when devices are equalized. Instead of school supplies, students could purchase certain core apps and download a ton of free apps for classroom use. The limited funds the district and individual school sites have could then be directed toward purchasing supplemental devices that sustain the momentum created by the BYOI(pod, pad, phone) concept.
Ultimately, it comes down to the type of learning in which you want students to engage. Podcasting, video production, multimedia presentations – those are not expressions of learning that can be universally accomplished. There are plenty of Web 2.0 tools to help fill in the gaps, but can those really compare to a creative suite of apps? Whatever the platform or device, there’s something to be said for uniformity. Would it be too much like reading a fortune cookie if I said something along the lines of, “In uniformity, we find creativity”…?
Well, I’ll leave you with this, then, at the risk of letting my Apple geek out of the box: