Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 6: BYOD and social media

6. BYOD and social media alter the education landscape—while also challenging school leaders.

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or Bring Your Own Technology, initiatives have become more prevalent in districts across the nation. More and more students have access to personal mobile devices such as laptops, eReaders, tablets, and smart phones—and school administrators have started to implement BYOD policies that allow students to connect to school networks with their own devices.

Schools often maintain a set of classroom devices to provide access for students who don’t own a personal device, and administrators and IT experts say the BYOD approach helps schools give students one-to-one access without financing costly purchases.

Moving forward, ensuring equitable access still remains an issue, as does the imperative that school networks can support an influx of devices.

Social media continues to influence education as well, from student learning to professional development and collaboration.

The emergence of secure and educational social networking resources has prompted teachers to create class groups and pages they use to encourage students to post discussion topics, collaborate on homework, and more. Educators and administrators also have found a more social way to accomplish professional development, linking to nationwide networks of fellow educators to expand their own improvement tools.

While many teachers use social media sites created specifically for schools with heavy privacy controls, more educators are teaching students to engage with the same tools they use in their social life in a more professional and academic capacity.

Chris Lazarski, who teaches an American Public Policy class at Wauwatosa West High School in Wisconsin, thought about using Twitter as an educational tool after he stumbled across KQED, an alternative media site based in San Francisco. The organization’s Do Now program encourages students to use social media tools to keep up with current events. Lazarski began using the program this fall.

“This seemed like a meaningful way to engage students in current event discussions,” Lazarski said. “It also seemed like a format that could be used to teach students how to use Twitter in a meaningful way.”

See also:

Twelve learning technologies with big education potential

Report: BYOD has the potential to expand greatly in five years


Important steps in a mobile learning initiative


Social media’s impact in schools


Dartmouth foreign language classes embrace Twitter


Five follow-worthy ed-tech Pinterest boards


Google Helpouts will connect experts, info-seekers


Mobile tech offers potential for formative assessment, authentic learning


Social media can help educators improve learning


Crafting a successful BYOD policy


Avoiding mistakes in digital device initiatives


Advantages of the BYOT classroom


Leveraging Pinterest for administrators


Developing and deploying Facebook for school districts


Once blocked, Twitter becomes a classroom tool


eSchool News Staff

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