Tag Archives: BYOD

To Teach is to Learn

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I am at an interesting point in my career….

I love what I do… but I want to do more! I feel like  have a lot to offer other teachers and sometimes my brain feels like it is going to explode with all the ideas that I have that I want to try. I have been so lucky with the experiences and opportunities that I have had in my school. I guess I am one of those keen beans who gets asked to participate in lots of different things. This has then led to the development of my own ideas, new approaches to the classroom and changes in my teaching values.

Last week I was inspired by two things. These things have made me further think about what I am going to do in the future.

ONE

I have often wondered why I thrive off being given new challenges. Many mornings I walk past my Deputy Principals office and she stops me… “Jess….. I have this idea…….”. For the past 8 years I have been at Mosman High School, I have accomplished a lot of things and am always busy.

It began with a literacy project, then the completion of my NSWIT accreditation and involvement in an Element 5 professional development project for this, then I did my Masters of Cross Disciplinary Art and Design for 3 years, had a studio residency and an art exhibition, have been involved with different technology roll outs, gone to and presented at MANY conferences, worked towards and received the Ministers Quality Teaching Award, done my maintenance of accreditation, have been teaching Year 12 HSC Visual Arts, done HSC marking, have been teaching the GATS class and have gotten engaged and married.

This is just a brief summary of my accomplishments – but I won’t bore you with more!

After watching this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, I realised that I have embraced the stress around me – and I LOVE it! It opens my mind and it inspires me to do new and better things.

TWO

In a staff meeting last week, two colleagues presented on their learning at the GATE Conference. At first I was frustrated and annoyed… and then I was sort of happy.

Why?

Well, they were focussing on differentiation and some strategies they had heard about at the conference. Then one teacher was saying how she had learnt about ideas that focussed on a student- centered classroom. And that she was slowly trying to change her approach to how she teaches, getting students to ask the questions instead of her. This annoyed me at first, because I have been saying this for at least 2-3 years when I present to staff!!!! But then I was happy, because FINALLY, maybe, a shift was happening! The teacher commented that it takes 2 years for reflecting and change to happen…. and she claimed she was only at the beginning of her journey!

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*sigh*

Thinking about these things made me think of this graph:

A graph of Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model

A graph of Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model

I wonder where to from here?

Change is slow, despite the forces that push for it to happen. And it is frustrating for me, out here, by myself, seeing how this change can be good. (I am not really by myself – there are many people like me, and I am not discounting the role they play in my life – this is just a figure of speech!)

I believe that as I teach, I learn. I am inspired to try new things and this has led to some exciting lessons in my classroom.

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I like to take risks and challenge my students think creatively and problem solve. I have embraced technology and the potentials that this offers. Now I want to see a shift into more blended learning with cross KLA projects and collaboration across schools and across the world. I have researched differentiation, Project Based Learning, collaboration, Games Based Learning, gifted and talented strategies, an array of assessment strategies and creative thinking.

So, for the future, I see myself as a leader who wants to make change happen. But this is not as easy as it may seem. What type of leader should I be?? Where can I be most effective? Would I miss the classroom? Would I miss my school? Does the role that I think I want even exist? Would I be a good leader??? These are crashing through my brain right now. I think I can only do so much within my classroom context and see potential for more.

I think I am lucky to have a great PLN around me and great friends to keep me stimulated… but I will still keep looking for an answer to my conundrum…

To teach is to learn. 


How is BYOD going?

It has been a few weeks now and we still have the one class enjoying having their own devices in the classroom. We are looking at expanding this by the end of the Year to include all of Year 7 and 8.

However, this will have it’s set backs. There are still teachers who don’t really use technology in an integrated way in their classrooms, and the network at school may need a little oomph! But these are things can be worked through.

Sometimes I think that it would be better to have no choice of device, and support teachers better with one system that can then be managed and monitored and have professional development modelled around it. I don’t have a preference for a device I guess, but do like the workflow of iPads. This however, is not a device that would last the students through the whole of high school… as by the time they are in senior school, they would definitely need a laptop instead. And really, my philosophy of education is not about the technology, but about the teaching pedagogy.

As part of the implementation of BYOD, I had the GATS class do an assignment on what they thought it would look like in our school, and how lessons can be transformed with technology. They presented to a panel of myself, the principal, and two kind parents who are a part of the P&C technology committee.

Check out some examples:

Student ONE

Student TWO

Student THREE

My reflections

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While their presentations were great (albeit some had WAY too much text on their slides that they proceeded to read), I was saddened. Saddened that they still believe learning to look like the teacher is at the front of the room, and they have to take notes and do tests. It is so embedded in them to think this, that even when told they could make the changed lessons anything they wanted, they didn’t know what that could look like.

I watched Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on TED on the weekend again, and hope that I can at least change the landscape of education in my context.

How do you think you will bring the LEARNING REVOLUTION to your context?


And then… more BYOD!

It has been over a week now that the students in one Year 7 class have had their devices in the classroom.

So far…..

TALKING TO TEACHERS

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When I realised that there were so many different types of devices being used, I told the principal that there needed to be a meeting with the teachers to explain the different platforms and capabilities. I also felt that I should encourage them to experiment with new approaches to their lessons so that they were more student-centered and driven by the access to technology.

Questions raised were things like:

Q. What do you do when they are playing games?

A: Ask them to stop, sit with them ask what the game is. Ask them if they think it is relevant to the class. Sit with them until they die and lose the level!! (A teacher sitting next to the is a little off putting!! HEHE)

Q. How can I get the PDF of the textbook onto an iPad?

A: There are some apps that allow you to share files… or you can chunk the textbook and break the file up by chapter using Adobe Acrobat Pro. (Or maybe there is an alternative to using a textbook….??)

Q: I wanted to use a flash resource, but I am disappointed because students with iPads can’t use this resource

A: Sharing is caring… or ask students to find an alternative

Q: Are we here because the parents have said we are not using the laptops in class?

A: *pause* *shocked look on face* No, you are here so I can answer any of your questions

I gave them a sheet that simplified the tools on each device and summarised what the students had.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

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The epic tech dude and my twitter PLN helped us to figure out why the PC’s weren’t connecting to the schools DER wireless network. Because we didn’t give any specs to kids about laptops, and perhaps we didn’t realise at the time…. but if students are to have a PC – they need their wireless card to run at 5GHz…!! Many PC’s seem to have 2.4GHz cards and these will NOT connect to the network. There is a way to get a USB adaptor that converts the 2.4 to a 5GHz – but of course this is not ideal.

THE STUDENTS

The kids are total keen beans and are loving the freedom having their own device has.

I was amused in class the other day, when I saw three boys huddled around some papers. I looked and saw that it was a 5 page worksheet stapled together. I asked what they were doing.

2 said, “We haven’t done our homework!”

ME: “And??? What are you doing now???”

BOYS: Copying his work

ME: See, this is why I think technology can make class more engaging. You guys are never going to remember this stuff if you are just filling in a cloze passage and a table. What if we googled what was on the sheet.

*insert google search here*

ME: Look at this, heaps of sites that can explain this content to you….

At this point I walked away, shaking my head. 3 minutes later, one of the boys came up to me and asked for my help.

He had found a tutorial online relating to the content on the worksheet. He was following the steps, and inputting data into Excel but needed help making it into a graph. I showed him how.

ALL 3 BOYS: WOW! That is so cool Miss!

*smile on my face*

ME: Yes it is… and how much more have you learnt now….!!!!


Introducing Bring Your Own Device aka BYOD

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After 4 years of the Digtial Education Revolution (DER), and the governments commitment to giving all Year 9 students a laptop to keep until Year 12, it is all coming to an end.

Now that pedagogy’s are shifting, there has been equal access to technology between rural and city schools and students are all excited to be given a new learning tool – the funding has stopped. We all knew that it would end, but we were enjoying the ride too much. Realistically, now that the revolution has started, it is up to schools and educators to maintain the momentum.

I know that many Department of Education and Community (DEC) Public schools are seeking solutions to the gap in technology that is imminent. Does each school fund the continued access to laptops and computers? Or do we rely on the school community and parents?

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At my school, we have decided to trial BYOD.

Bring your own Device.

One class in Year 7 (My gifted and talented class) are the experimental class. Parents are keen to support it, so we have jumped in the deep end. We have decided to let the students bring whatever device they like.

Uh oh!

Yup – On Tuesday when they first brought them in, I looked around and knew this was going to be interesting!!! While this gives them ownership over the device they have chosen – someone hasn’t thought about the impact this will have on the classroom management and teachers. While I am capable of dealing with different platforms, as I am experienced and confident with technology, others may not be. It was interesting to note the percentage of students with Mac devices vs PC. Only 3 of the 28 had PC and they have had trouble connecting to the DER wi-fi network at school. (If you have a solution to this, I would love to know!)

A few parents from the class have been calling me and asking for my advice on which device to get. I have given them my opinion and are letting them make their own choices.

Over the next few weeks I will evaluate how I think this has worked in our school….

Just little old me, being a teacher, but loving technology and learning!

Just little old me, being a teacher, but loving technology and learning!

And the Students?

To drive the students and get them ready to have BYOD in the classroom, I have given them a great project.

They have been researching and comparing devices and prices, learning about digital citizenship and figuring out the problems they may face.

I also want them to be pushing their teachers to use these devices (after all, their parents have invested in them to be used!) SO the students have to redesign a unit of work based upon something they have already done, and see how using technology would change it.

I want them to present to the key stakeholders: parents, principal and teachers on a panel. They are super excited and really keen to be using their new ‘toys’ in the classroom.

Let’s see how this goes…..