Students and staff enter Meriden Public Schools with their personal mobile devices in hand. The days of leaving your device at the door are gone since the adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) guidelines throughout the K-12 district. This shift has transformed learning in the classrooms as well as extended the learning outside the brick and mortar walls. Teachers no longer have to address the forgotten pencil or notebook, students don’t seem to forget their device.
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Checking for understanding at the most basic level in the classroom has historically included teachers observing the body language of his or her students. Are they making eye contact? Are they nodding and showing indications that they are following the concept being discussed, or are they staring quizzically at you with a furrowed brow? When instruction shifts in the classroom to a more personalized and digital approach, teachers find that they are observing and facilitating a class of heads that are bent down into devices.
As the number of districts taking advantage of cloud-based services increase and learning environments move more collaboratively outside of the typical brick and mortar walls, the understanding of data use and privacy have become clouded. More computing devices arrive on desks loaded with applications from app stores managed and unmanaged from district sites. While those education apps are meant to help teachers manage their classrooms, concern is growing over the management of student data tracked by those apps. We live in an age where everything in a student’s past is captured, collected, stored and therefore, remembered.
The selection of software and hardware products is critical. It both augments and restricts the productivity and success for everyone in the system. In your district, how are decisions made regarding which technologies to use?
Let us for moment consider the metaphoric context of yard work. Do you decide to dig up a patch of lawn because you have a new shiny shovel… or do you buy the shovel because you need it to prepare the perfect spot for a flower bed? Do you cut a tree to remove dead limbs… or do you cut down a tree to try out your new chain saw?
With the emergence of the web as a platform where knowledge is free, it has never been more crucial get students in a connected learning space where children are motivated with inquiry and discovery. In education, it is easy to get bogged down in the bureaucracy of decision making.