Monday, January 19, 2015

My Thoughts on BYOD...

I have become increasingly worried over this holiday, as the back to school adverts start. There are lots of "your stop for BYOD" type things going on.
What is worrying me is that these devices are seen as the "thing" for school now, with no thought as to what is being bought and how it will be used in school. Do parents know when they are buying their BYOD device for the new school year, just how many other devices the teachers are having to cope with within their classroom?

I am coming at this from the standpoint of my own situation. We are a cluster of schools who are mostly working 1 to 1 with devices. Manaiakalani schools are lucky as we have lots of support from the Manaiakalani Education Trust which enables our parents to fund a device for our students over three years. We all have the same device in our classrooms and as I am one of the teachers who are helping other teachers with the PD for this, I am very grateful for this fact. I can focus my time on Google and online how to's and not have to worry about trying to help with lots of different devices in a classroom. I am a bit of a geek and am pretty confident in fiddling about with a bit of tech till I work it out, but I would not be confident in a classroom full of students with, potentially, a different device each. I want to be able to focus on the teaching tasks and learning using the online environment as a tool, not worrying about whether what I want to do will work on all the different devices the students are using.
Having to try and help staff with problems with all sorts of different devices sounds like a nightmare to me, and one that is loaded with so many negative possibilities that BYOD is setting itself up for bad press when the devices get used as paper substitutes by nervous staff. I know how much staff PD has gone into working the way that we are at the moment and wonder about the feasibility of an unending variation of devices that might turn up. How can we keep up?
Teachers need to be able to move into the 21st century style teaching environment with confidence in what they are trying to do, pedagogy wise. We need to focus on making sure we are using structures like the SAMR ladder in order to make sure we are making the most of the tools we are using. In my experience, this is more than enough to expect.  I feel that this can not be happening when you don't know what to expect in terms of equipment.

If you are reading this and completely disagree with me then please leave a comment as I would love to have feedback from the other side of this.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Class Size and Online Courses....

Here is an interesting read about class sizes of online courses...
Link Here

Personally, when I tried an online course myself, which inspired me to go that direction for my students, the part I found intimidating was the forum. There were hundreds of people doing the same course and the forum was no longer a helpful place, but rather a sounding box for what you "knew" about  the topic.