Monday, September 10, 2012

Sounds Easier than It Looks

Last spring, there was a rumor running around school that wifi would be available in the building next year for use in our classrooms.  A month ago, I found out that this would be a reality on a limited, pilot basis, and that I would be able to be one of the classrooms to be a part of the pilot.  I started planning for what I thought would be a relatively easy transition into a BYOD world.  After all, how hard could it be to include technology, which I was already having my students use outside the classroom, into what I was trying to do with them during class.

Well, let's just say that reality has set in to the world that I was planning for.  And, the reality is that incorporating BYOD into my every day routine has not been as easy or as seamless as I thought it would be.

My biggest problem at the moment is that I just haven't figured out how to use BYOD in my room.  The hardest part has been taking the lessons that I thought have gone fairly well in the past and add the technology piece to them.  There just does not seem to be as much time to do that as I thought there would be.  I have been expecting to have my students create things at the end of each class, but there just hasn't been that time.

Maybe part of the problem is that I thought more of my students would have their own devices and would want to bring them to class.  I knew that not of all of them would have a device for whatever reason, but I thought the percentage of those having them would be higher.  I have to get them used to taking out their phones as they enter the room, give them an activity to work on as they get themselves settled, and come up with some closing activity as they leave.

This should be easier as they have fewer questions about assignments that are outside the classroom, and as we get into a rhythm.  But, I need to do a better job of getting them in that rhythm more quickly so that we can use the gift that we have been given.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Sign-Up Day

The second day of school is always a day of great learning for me.

I have found that I have learned a great deal by watching the sophomores, as I have throughout my career,on this day the beginnings of the "pretenders to wisdom" appear.  They have seen themselves through the "back to the routine" drudgery that often accompanies the first day, and are now in the mood to be entertained.  The entertainment that I have provided them with over the past few years is to have them sign up for the various web sites that we will use during the year.  The list has become longer over those years, and now includes and as sites for them to explore, but the basic premise of the day has remained the same.

As yesterday, there seemed to be a certain degree of shock that went along with their web registrations today, but there seemed to be more of a sense of confidence that I was not putting them on, as many of them believed when we had discussed BYOD the day before.  This group seemed to be genuinely excited about the tools that I was showing to them, but still guarded about the number of sites they felt they would have to "remember."  Only time will tell if I allayed their fears at all with "Don't worry.  I will tell you when you need to use each one."

The excitement for me, however, truly begins tomorrow as Day One of BYOD officially kicks off.  I have both a bell-ringer and a "ticket-to-leave" activity on the docket, in which the students will get to use their devices.  It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"I thought you said not to cross the streams?"

Today, was the first day for students to enter my classroom at Triton Regional High School.  It was my opportunity to introduce to them really what to a greater or lesser extent I had been working my students toward for the past three years.

"Please take out your cell phones."  I got a number of astonished looks around the room.  "It's OK," I had to tell them.  "We are going to be a pilot program in the school for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)." The stunned looks continued back at me.

But the fact that those looks were not followed by anything surprised me.  I thought for sure that there would be some kind of reaction beyond stunned.  I don't know what kind of reaction I was expecting, but it was more than that.

Maybe we have so indoctrinated our students that the technology they have is only for outside of the classroom that they were reluctant to "cross the streams" in a sense?  Maybe we have done such a "good job" convincing them to leave their technology at home or to hide in their bags, that they are now doubtful of a teacher telling them that it is OK for them use the power that they have in their hands?  Maybe, after they see the power that they have and create some things with them, they will realize that there is "definitely a very slim chance they'll survive"?

 We will see what tomorrow shall bring.