The 6 hidden tricks for Bring-Your-Own-Device success

4. Consider the “BYOD Mindset.” For Forsyth, bringing devices into schools meant shifting teaching and learning as well, spurring what Clark refers to as the “maker movement.”

The “maker movement,” described Clark, is allowing students to create original products to illustrate learning through content creation—movies, blog posts, demos, and more—rather than simply consume content.

Though Clark acknowledged that with the use of devices comes more project-based learning, there’s also a lot of “back-channeling.”

“’Back-channeling’ means activities introduced in class that can stimulate student participation through the use of their devices,” he explained. “For example, if a student is watching a movie on a projector in class, the student can use his or her device to have a conversation on what they’re watching with their classmates or teacher at the same time.”

Forsyth uses Socrative for ‘back-channeling’ for younger students.

Teachers also need to focus on the process of learning through a device, rather than the end-product of learning, said Clark, specifically when it comes to device functionality.

“Teachers should focus less on finding apps for students and more on what they’re trying to get students to learn. If they focus on the process of learning, and then relate that process to their students, teachers should allow the students to find their own apps and software–allow them to use their personal preferences and individuality to hone their digital skills.”

That being said, Clark also emphasized that the tools used on the device should try to be as “authentic as possible,” or as close to tools and functionality students might use in real life on their device.

5. Update the school’s physical environment. For Forsyth, implementing BYOD also meant providing physical spaces within the school to make the most use of student time with their devices.

“This means we took a lot of space we were currently using for bookshelves and reading dens and turning them into more collaborative centers,” said Clark.

For example, by placing couches, tables and screens around the school, students can connect their device to the screens to show other students their work or to collaborate. Students were also encouraged to eat at the spaces while working on their devices.

A collaborative learning space in earlier grades.

“We wanted these spaces to be less DMV and more coffee shop,” he explained.

6. Redesign your assessments. Though the district is currently still in the process of designing new assessments to measure student learning growth through the use of multi-media and student-created pieces, Clark concluded that many assessments that need to be updated were due for an update, anyway.

“With the Common Core in schools and the focus less on memorization and more on student growth through 21st-century learning skills, the assessments needed for BYOD implementation should be a good fit for upcoming changes.”

Meris Stansbury

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