Bring your own – you’re not using mine!

I am reeling in disarray at the moment! As snow falls outside I am in my favourite coffee shop at a different time from my usual Sunday write my waffle time, my iMac has died and there is foam on the top of my latte! What else can go wrong today :). This week I have been rushing home every evening to be involved in the BYOD4Lchat. After learning so much throughout the week, I thought I had to share my views on this topic by writing this week’s waffle about it. So, get your own device, and let’s get waffling!


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The benefits of having your own device. (Original Image from Pixabay.com

The benefits of having your own device. (Original Image from Pixabay.com

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device and is usually followed by the words ‘to work’ or ‘to session’. There was a time in the darkest and distance past that educational establishments were the places which had the technology and computers and this was the only place where learners could interact with them. Times have certainly changed and now learners have their own smartphones, laptops and mobile devices and teaching and learning needs to embrace this in order to allow for learners to engage with the learning using their own devices. Within my own teaching sessions, mobile devices and laptops are out and on public display. Although I’m sure these are sometimes not totally used for engaging with the session, they are out and ready to be used if needed. So why should the learners have their own devices with them and how can these be used within the sessions.

  • Ease of access – There is nothing worse than sitting someone in front of an iMac when they are used to using a Windows machine – or vice versa. Frequently when handing out the class set of iPads, some learners will exclaim that they are not used to using an iPad or have never used one before. This may not be because they are not used to mobile technology, but more because they are unfamiliar with Apple products. It is important that when using technology to support learning, the type of device and/or the software should not be a barrier to the learning. Having the devices and software which you are familiar with is therefore very important. If learners have their own devices with them, their engagement will not be hindered by unknown systems or software which should.

  • Sharing and storing – As I participated in the BYOD4Lchat I became aware of the term ‘The 5 C’s’. In fact, each of the TweetChats took one of these as their main topic. Two of these ‘c’s refer to communication and curating. When I have my own device with me, I know that it is connected to all the applications I need – from Dropbox to Twitter. I know that if I want to share or store something then everything is connected and set up for this. It is safe to assume that this is the same for the learners. Having their own devices within sessions will allow them to share, store, communicate or curate. If they were using a device other than their own then this would not be completely possible. This also links to last week’s waffle about the flipped classroom. If learners have engaged with resources before the session then it is most likely that their comments/discussion points are stored on their own devices.

  • Any time you want – I am currently trying to develop the role of voting and interaction applications within sessions. Although we do have a class set of iPads available, these need to be booked out and organised in advance. Sometimes, during my teaching, I suddenly think of something or a student says something and it seems a perfect opportunity to collect their views via a voting application. If the class set of iPads have not been booked for that session, then the moment might pass without being engaged with. However – if learners have their own devices then all these opportunities can be capitalised on. The cross platform nature of the applications which are being used need to be carefully considered, although many now are available across all operating systems.

  • Although these are all very positive points, there does exist some negatives to having their own devices within session. Social Media is a distraction – I know this because it distracts me – and it will provide a distract for the learners as well. Snapchats and Tweets are allowed instant access to our attention and these can be problematic within sessions. Having Google instantly available on your desk is great for googling those unknown words – but can again be distracting. Charging is becoming more a problem as more devices appear. I know in my mathematics teaching room there is only a limited number of sockets around the edge of the room and sometimes there is a rush as the learners get their devices plugged in. Connecting to the wifi can also sometimes cause problems.

    Despite these last few negatives, I think that it is important that learners are encouraged to bring their own devices to sessions in order to support their learning. As a practitioner, I try to make my session inclusive not only for all learners but now for all operating systems. Hopefully this will not only allow them to use these effectively within sessions but also actively encourage the learners to engage with all aspects of the 5 C’s – Connecting, Communication, Curating, Collaborating and Creating.

    I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.

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