Innovation

Rationale:
There is no doubt that the industry of the future is digital. Numerous districts and schools are making the shift towards an increase in student centered learning with technology at the forefront. As Roswell North prepares its students to become functioning citizens in a digital world, we are in search of ways to use technology to increase the level of rigor and critical thinking our students engage in during daily school activities. One to one technology access will make achieving the technologically integrated, student centered learning environment we desire for our school more attainable. Enabling students to bring their own devices to school can exponentially increase the level of access during the school day for all students. Research has shown that in the average community, 60-80% of students will take advantage of the opportunity to bring a device to school (Costa, 2013). There are many barriers to think through and hurdles to overcome, but if one to one technology access is the goal, BYOT is the fastest and most economical method of getting the technology into the hands of the students in every classroom.

Features:

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), just as commonly referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is an increasing technological trend in schools at all levels. BYOT encourages students to bring their own personal technology devices to school for use in the classroom. These personal technology devices include laptops, tablets, ipods, e-readers, and smartphones. The BYOT movement is being seen not only in education but also in the business world and even U.S. government agencies.
  • BYOT is a feasible means of accomplishing the one-to-one technology access which is desirable in all schools but financially impossible in most (Costa, 2013).
  • It provides the technology needed to make the shift from primarily teacher-centered technology to student-centered technology in the classroom (Costa, 2013).
  • Students are empowered to use the real-world tools readily available to them to authentically learn and share information (Nelson, 2012).
  • It eliminates the initial learning curve associated with learning new technology since students are using devices with which they are already familiar and comfortable (Stephens & Fanning, 2013).
  • Student responsibility for their own devices aides in the reduction of pressure on a school’s tech support structure (Nelson, 2012).
  • BYOT provides the opportunity for digital natives to learn in digital learning environments that are true representations of 21st century classrooms.

Five Attributes of BYOT-green.png

Relative Advantage: Compared to its alternatives, the Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative is an exceptionally valuable venture. There are many evident advantages but a principal benefit is cost. “True 1:1 programs in which the school provides a continual stream of technology for every student can simply be unsustainable and unmanageable” (Nelson, 2012, p.14). Additionally, BYOT allows students to be accountable for his/her device, costing the school systems less and mitigating tasks for system technical specialists.

Compatibility: Students in this day and age are dominantly driven by technology. Social media, blogging sites, media sharing tools, and other Web 2.0 components govern a large part of today’s digital learners. Hence, the need to advance technologies accessible in the educational realm is apparent. According to Nelson (2012), “We have the exciting opportunity to teach students to ask the right questions, use the real-world tools that they have in their hands to find the best answers, and share that in an authentic way with those around them” (p. 15). In order to close the achievement gap, educators must provide students with relevant, authentic ways to assimilate information.

Complexity: A probable challenge for establishing a BYOT policy is the uncertainty from opinion leaders on how to incorporate student devices while successfully maintaining the classroom. However, classroom management is a continuing complexity. Combating the use of personal devices when they are not permitted will remain an ongoing battle. Reluctance to adopt a new innovation can likely be a result of unfamiliarity. Furthermore, it is recommended that students use a distinct, wireless network that is regulated by the school system, which could induce refusal to participate in the initiative.

Trialability: Opinion leaders are able to employ the BYOT initiative on a provisional basis. If the project produces desired outcomes, the policy can become a permanent fixture. Seven Forsyth County Schools in the state of Georgia tested the initiative in the Spring of 2010, whereas now, more counties are embracing the initiative, one of them being Carroll County.

Observability: The outcomes of BYOT are positive, for both teachers and students. When students are actively engaged in the classroom, authentic learning is taking place. Thus, the teacher can focus more on reinforcing the information rather than being the enforcer. Eric Sheninger, a high school principal, states, “We launched a BYOT program at New Milford (NJ) High School last September after piloting it with just the senior class the previous spring. We have learned many lessons from this journey, the most important being that the students have greatly appreciated this shift” (Sheninger, 2012, p. 61). Isn’t the objective to prepare students for the future using real-world applications?

References:
Costa, J. P., Sr. (2013). Digital learning for all, now. Education Digest, 78(8), 4-9.

Nelson, D. (2012). BYOD: An opportunity schools cannot afford to miss. Internet@Schools, 19(5), 12-15. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1153782427?accountid=15017

Sheninger, E. (2012). BYOT: No excuses. Principal Leadership, 13(4), 60-61. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1346631460?accountid=15017

Stephens, W., & Fanning, S. (2013). Bring your own excitement. Library Media Connection, 31(4), 12-13.