Thursday, 23 May 2013

Stages of BYOT from a yellow belt

Recently in a BYOT Twitter chat aptly named #BYOTchat, participants were reflecting about their past BYOT year.  A lot of great highs and lows were shared, but as usual, the conversation got to Bring Your Own Technology basics--when and how do the devices get used in class.  In the midst of tweets about...
- giving students more control
- when to allow students to take devices out
- not forcing device use as its not needed for every lesson
...I realized that I have a certain level of comfortability now that I expect won't always be the same.  On a continuum of teacher versus student control, I make choices that tip the scale somewhat toward teacher control.

From May 16, 2013 BYOTchat
At this point, my students use their devices every LA lesson.  And the device is the forefront and focus of the period.  At the beginning of the class I give a mini-lesson that requires my students to use their device to accomplish a certain outcome. I feel I have to for several reasons:
1) we have an hour and twenty minutes together and I don't feel comfortable giving students that much unstructured time
2) I want to keep reminding my students about new ways of using the device
3) I want my students to make a habit of using their devices for educational purposes

Tim Clark (@BYOTNetwork), the facilitator of the BYOT chat, brought up the idea of stages.  I mentioned that I have often looked at the SAMR model of technology integration to remind me about including redefinition use in the classroom.  I brought this model up as a rookie (who hears of one model, and it becomes gospel), not as an expert who has carefully chosen from amongst many.

I have spent some time thinking about the BYOT journey.  In a previous post I talked about baby steps to BYOT. These are the steps that I took in order to get myself to do BYOT in my classroom.  There is a difference, however, between steps and stages.  Now if I was asked to outline BYOT stages from what I know now as a "yellow belt", here is a starter:

Pre-BYOT : "Put those away, we're learning now!"
Teachers are coming from different places.  Typically they have a lot of technology integrated in their program, but not necessarily classroom device use.  There can be a familiarity with ideas around "going to the lab" and using MS office, making presentations, using application software, going paperless.  Some might dabble in hand-in boxes, or even blogging.  This is a pre-BYOT stage.

The Transfer: "What am I going to do?"
I believe the first stage is the planning around BYOT.  It is the picking brains, reading blogs, joining chats stage. It is what I outlined in my baby steps to BYOT post.  I include this as a stage because I believe those in this stage are "one of us". They are grappling with the ideas, brainstorming solutions to challenges, doing all that the rest of us do but without devices in the students' hands. The Decision (D day) to allow devices in the classroom is done and the day when the devices become Vital Educational tools (VE day) is coming. 

The Handheld Honeymoon: "Guess what we get to do..."
This stage is marked by the fumbling and fascination.  The questions at this stage are: "does everyone have a device?"; "does everyone have internet access?"; "what apps and activities are we going to use?".  Students at this stage, though most know their device well, are trying to figure out what it has to do with education.  The stage is marked by complete teacher control.  Some teachers may slowly dip toes into the pool of device use; others may jump in whole hog.  But everyone is getting wet.

The Trust Tango: "Don't let me catch you playing Angry Birds!"
Here we see a gradual release of teacher control.  Everybody is relatively savvy with the device so the testing begins.  Students are checking out where the lines are.  Teachers are checking out where the lines are.  Here is where trust becomes the big issue.  Do the students trust that the teacher is going to provide activities that inspire and awe?  Or is the class in some kind of glorified lock-down filled with rules and "can't dos"?  Does the teacher trust that the students, on the most part :), will stay on task? 

My assumption about the "final" stage:
The Tool Tipping Point: "Here is the task; go figure out the tools!"
Freedom.  Synergy.  Discovery.  Excitement.  Not every day.  But a culture of it.  The device blends into the background.  It becomes a tool, not unlike the geometry set or the calculator or the pencil for that matter.  And mutual learning leads to even cooler activities.  The mind-blowing kind of stuff.

I am positive there are many other ways of looking at BYOT stages.  What have you found?  What am I missing?