As I was making my rounds last week, during our first week of school, I stopped in the room of one of my 8th grade math teachers, Ms Sams. She was explaining some first week rules and working in some creative review when I noticed this cell phone cut out on the desk. I asked one of the students what it was for and got blown away by the answer. Unfortunately, I couldn’t record that student because it was end of class but here I’ve recorded Ms Sams and her detailed explanation about the policy and what students need to know:
Ms Sams is one of our deep and early adopters of technology and integrated practices. We are fortunate to have many teachers like her who see and understand the value add that technology brings to learning and teaching. I am particularly proud of the next level Ms Sams has gone to incorporate and plan for technology usage in her classroom. I ended the video a little early but she shared that all 8th grade teachers are using this same approach to plan for cell phone use in the classroom. We try to standardize some practices but not all. This is one the great times when we have a grade level that has taken some great initiative and put some great plans in place ahead of time to make sure kids see structure AND the value we place on integrated tech practices.
We have a BYOD policy in place. It took a while to build our official plan because we wanted to make sure teachers would not only understand it well but that they would be encouraged to implement it. I once heard a teacher say that any school that has an open guest network, has a BYOD policy default. That’s not so. A BYOD policy is more than allowance or capability – its understanding and structure and protection as well. One thing that our teachers brought to the table early was the need of clear rules for students to understand and follow. We made efforts to build a good framework that classrooms/grade levels could operate within.
We want students to bring their devices to school and use them. Its a responsibility of schools to show students that their devices serve different functions, social, personal, educational and that they are all intertwined.