The 15 Minute Forum tonight was led by Assistant Head and ICT/ Business teacher Pete Kelly. Pete was getting us to think about how we can enhance student learning by them using their own mobile devices in lessons.
The following video was used to introduce the idea:
Some of the issues associated with BYOD:
- How do we know they are working and not getting distracted by games and videos?
- Unmonitored social networking could lead to bullying or other associated issues.
- Consumption and creation of inappropriate content.
- Social stigma of certain devices – ‘My phone’s better than yours!‘
- By using their devices to ‘learn quick’ are we diluting the struggle and grit that is needed for learning?
Are these real issues, or just excuses not to encourage BYOD? As teachers we monitor and intervene with distractions all the time, so will this really be any different? If we show trust and encourage personal responsibility, most students will respond positively and use their devices appropriately, won’t they? Especially if there is this culture of expectation within the school. The last point is an interesting one and needs careful balance – using the devices thoughtfully and not just to replace the essential skills of learning for a ‘quick fix’ i.e. thinking, discussing, questioning etc.
Whatever our thoughts, mobile devices are here to stay and are only going to get more sophisticated – and become more and more a part of our everyday lives.
So what’s the reality?
- Personal computing and hand held devices are the norm for most of us, so why not in schools?
- Students are familiar with their own devices – so can use them quickly and efficiently.
- Most students, if given trust and responsibility, will use them appropriately. Those that don’t, probably wouldn’t anyway – irrespective of BYOD?
- It enables us to find the answers quickly. Is this the modern day equivalent of ‘knowing what to do, when you don’t know what to do’?
Some uses of BYOD
- Research – mobile devices provide students with the biggest library in the world, so there are obvious advantages in terms of research. They will need reminding though that just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true! So this in itself is a good discussion point about opinion, validity of information etc.
- Socrative – students can use their mobile devices to respond to a question or give an opinion on an issue e.g. true/ false, agree/ disagree. The results can then be viewed by the whole class. What do you do if not all students have a phone with the app? Get them in groups with at least one person who has, discuss and then agree on a response.
- Edmodo – Similar to the above – set the students a task on Edmodo and get them to complete it on their own devices.
- Padlet – Students can respond to a question, state an opinion, share a good link etc etc and then post it on a Padlet page using their mobile device. The page can then be shared with the whole class. Emma Morgan, one of our English NQTs, has been using this very effectively – read more here.
- Twitter – get students to tweet a response to a question there and then in the lesson using their mobile devices – using a specific hashtag. Introduce challenge by not allowing any responses that are the same. They could also use twitter, to ask questions of specific people e.g. get agreement of a local business person for students to tweet them questions about setting up a business.
- Notes – encourage students to take photos of their notes, mind maps, teacher board notes e.g. a model answer to a question etc and then use these later for revision purposes.
- Homework – take a photo of their homework task from the board. Take a photo from something at home and then discuss it in lessons e.g. a domestic application of science; a newspaper headline; a piece of art in their house; their meal for science/ food technology.
- Practical work – in practical subjects e.g. science, product design, art, dance, PE, video their work and then critique it. This principle could be applied elsewhere e.g. video book reviews in English or after DEAR time (Drop Everything & Read).
- Organisation – take a photo of their timetable and have it as their home screen. Use the calendar function for their exam/ revision timetable.
- QR codes – These can be used for a variety of purposes e.g. scanning a homework task into their device; scanning revision websites; scanning a Padlet page to post to later; scanning podcasts that can be used for revision. Once these QR codes are produced by teachers, they can be displayed around the classroom/ school for students to scan. Great vide here from Jon Tait on this:
- Camouflaged learning – Encourage students to see the many different applications of their learning….even ‘Angry Birds’:
Take a screen shot of what they are aiming for….
Get them to use Skitch (a fantastic free application) to annotate a screen shot with where they are aiming and complete the triangle using skitch. They can then measure lengths and use Pythagoras theory to work out lengths and 180 degrees to work out angles etc.
- Podcasts – YouTube, The Khan Academy, BiteSize etc etc all have thousands of videos that students can use when they get stuck.
A final thought….