This is a true story.
I wish it wasn’t , but it is.
A good friend of mine, who is a brilliant mind in education, sits down with me at a table during a conference keynote with his superintendents joining. As we are promoted to have a conversation about initiatives that are happening in our separate school districts, the notion of “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) comes up. As I talk with his direct report, she lets me know that wireless is enabled in all of their schools but staff are not able to bring in their own devices to use because they (the staff) are “not there yet”.
My friend turned red and you can see the embarrassment in his face. He knew exactly what I would think and he was powerless.
This was not a matter of “things not working” but simply not allowing staff to bring in their devices. I wondered, “do they need professional development on how to use their own devices?”
This wasn’t even about working with staff to help them determine what students could now do with their own devices, and preparing staff to lead in their classrooms, it was about not letting the adults that they have hired to care for their kids to use their own devices.
Why even have wireless in the buildings if no one is able to use it?
My recollection of this was sparked by reading another article talking about BYOD and how powerful it can be. Not about the learning that happens because of BYOD in a school, but just that kids can now bring their devices to schools and use them.
So what? What has this really transformed in teaching and learning?
I am not arguing that BYOD shouldn’t be implemented in our schools, because it absolutely should. But it should be the minimum standard of what is done in our schools. As a good friend and colleague of mine says, it is the “low hanging fruit”. If it doesn’t exist in your school(s), and you are making it happen, that is great. That being said, it absolutely needs to go much further than the idea that we can bring our devices into schools. It should be about what are we doing with them that improves learning?
We shouldn’t be too excited about an infrastructure that already exists at McDonalds and Starbucks should we?