Category Archives: Managing School Operations and Resources

A Long Minute

As I stood speaking in front of a large audience, my computer went to sleep and I had to log back on.  I went back to show them teachers different examples that were housed online, but realized that my WiFi had disconnected and tried to get back on.  A simple issue to deal with when I am by myself, all of a sudden seemed to be terrifying in front of 100 plus people as I was not able to connect.  The crowd, although being patient, started to talk while I was dealing with technical issues.  By nature, when I am nervous, I begin to sweat, and when I  realize that, my heart begins to beat significantly faster.  I obviously was getting nervous, but fortunately was able to get back online and continue my lesson. That being said, the loss of momentum in what I was trying to teach also led to a loss of attention from some of the participants.  They were physically there, but their mind weren’t coming back. Those few members of the audience were done listening to me for the day.

It is important that teachers exhibit resiliency in the face of adversity and understand that not everything is going to work, all of the time.  But it is also important that in our work as school administrators, that things work as best as possible to not only serve our students, but also our teachers.

One minute in front of a classroom when something is not working, can seem like an eternity.  Those “minutes” need to be as few and far between as possible.

 

 

 

A Closer View

I tweeted the following yesterday:

This was not directed to any specific leadership group, but to all levels of administration.  As I talked to someone involved in “decision making” as they shared their plan, I outright said teachers will hate the decision as they will feel handcuffed and suggested that she take some time in the classroom before any policy was created.

What I don’t get is how a decision that impacts teachers in their classrooms could be made by someone sitting from an office that doesn’t at least spend some time observing in a classroom.  I am not talking about a “walkthrough” or an evaluation, but actually just sitting in the classroom and getting a feel for how decisions impact students.  As an administrator, you want to become “invisible” in that environment so you can see what happens on a regular basis.  This only happens when a visit is not a “major” event.

A trustee from another school division said (paraphrased) that teachers wouldn’t necessarily want a board member in their classroom.  I know that not all teachers would be jumping on this opportunity, but in reality, not all teachers could have this due to time constraints.  That being said, I know many educators are welcoming to anyone that wants to see what they do on a day-to-day basis, especially when they know that it is about an opportunity to improve what happens with students.

For example, I have heard the argument on technology purchases that the current computers with all of their network protocols and security features, only take “two minutes” to logon.  The difference is they take “two minutes” for an adult, and usually one that is good with technology. Times that by 25 students, with one teacher in the room, and “two minutes” can become an eternity.  The question then would become, how do we keep these computers secure while also ensuring we are creating the most amount of instructional/learning time for our schools.  Sitting in another building and making these decisions, you often don’t see the impact, and that is where tension usually begins.

So as we head into 2014, if you are in the position to create policies, take some time just sitting in a classroom and see what a day looks like.  You might still have to make some type of policy or procedure that is not necessarily loved by all, but you will both build relationships in this process (strengthening trust), while also truly understanding differing perspectives.

If we are true leaders, we are looking to unleash talent, not control it, and we have to do what we can to take the handcuffs off the people that are working closest with kids.

Inequity and BYOD


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Tim & Selena Middleton

Often when speaking to groups about technology and “Bring Your Own Device” initiatives, I will have someone challenge the thinking and say, “Well…what about inequity?”  To break down this question, what is often meant is that you will really shine a negative spotlight on the kids who do not have devices and they will feel worse about their situations.

Sometimes I feel that this argument is a reason to not even try by some that are making it.  But for some, it is a legitimate concern.

Here are my thoughts…

If we are really wanting to help these kids that might be coming from poor situations, we need to rethink the practices that we already have in our schools to provide for them.  For example, many schools have “computer labs” where we take kids once or twice a week, to do something with technology or allow them to type out an essay for us.  This is not a good use of technology anymore and we should know better now.  Technology should be at the point of instruction and be as accessible in learning as a pencil; it shouldn’t be an event. How many pencil labs do you have in your school?

So why are we not taking those labs apart and using those devices for the kids that don’t have the technology readily available.  If you have 15 students in your class that have a device, and five that don’t, can we find a way to provide for them with the technology that already exists in the school?  This is not as good as a student owning the device, but if their family is not able to afford one to bring to school, many times they are not able to afford one at home either.  You are then ensuring that the student does not have access to the biggest source of information in the world either at home or school.  If this true, then what are we doing to break this cycle for the child?  If you do not have a strong understanding to leverage the world at your fingertips, then you are going to be at a disadvantage going into a world with people that can do it with ease.

Now you may not have the technology in you schools to provide for the students that don’t have them now, so what are you doing to find a way to provide them?  The technology that we have purchased in schools before has been at an inflated price because of the need to attach them to a network, make them “secure”, and add a bunch of stuff that is honestly probably not needed as much as it once was.  All of those little add-ons, often not only make the computer more expensive, but slower.  So you are paying more for a slow computer? Makes sense.

The less we trust, the more it costs. 

With the infrastructure of many schools going to open WiFi networks, it is now opening the options of what they can buy.  Before, we were only able to access the Internet in our schools through the division network, but now any device can connect to the Internet, whether it is a school purchased device or not.  This is giving us more options.  WIth open WiFi, you are no longer limited to the $750 laptop, but can buy a $250-$300 Chromebook, Netbook, or tablet.  I am not saying that these are the best devices, and simply looking for cheap is not a solution, but with what much of what is happening in schools, a Chromebook is actually a pretty great option.

If we are start looking outside of the box that we have traditionally been held to within our schools, we have many more options on how we can provide more for the students that are not in situations to provide for themselves.

Learning From Eric Sheninger

It has been almost one week since I spoke at #Edscape in New Jersey, and it was a tremendous honour to have that opportunity.  Not only because I was able to connect with amazing educators in the area, but because I was asked by my friend Eric Sheninger.  Eric speaks around the world, inspiring people all over, has written books, and is one of the most known educators in social media.  For him to ask me, was a great honour.

But what was fantastic about the experience for me was, as it is always, the opportunity to learn from so many other educators, and to be able to spend time with Eric.  There is so much that we learn from informal conversations, and to be able to have three days with Eric, both professionally and personally, I learned that he is the real deal.

Here are some of the things that I was most impressed with.

The first night I connected with Eric, he took me to a restaurant in the community near to the school and it was fantastic to see how close he was with people in his community.  The owner of the restaurant came over and talked about how Eric always brought them opportunities to the school, and in return, the restaurant put money back into the events that were happening.  It isn’t one taking from the other, but mutual support.  

The focus on community continued as Eric took me to his school’s football game late on a Friday night.  This had nothing to do with me being in the area.  In fact, Eric gave me one choice about what to do that night; go to the school’s football game.  This is vital to his work.

As you go into Eric’s school, you see a VERY old facility (I think he told me it opened in 1929), that has a lot of desks and looks nothing like some of the innovative spaces that I have seen in my time.  In fact, some of the spaces seem so old that it was criticized by someone on Twitter about the 20th century space.  The thing is, while so many administrators focus their funds and efforts on redesigning classrooms spaces and bringing in all of these other amazing elements in the classroom, Eric has put money and time into people.  

Unfortunately in education, we sometimes have to make some tough choices, but the best answer is always put time and money into people.  The other things we can get later, but if people do not understand why or how to use these things, it doesn’t matter.  We need to create such a deep understanding of the opportunities that technology and innovative school design create for students that we create a need for these things in the classroom.  This is what Eric focuses on.

What I loved about #Edscape was that it was exactly what the people there needed.  It was not necessarily the same types of conversations that happen at Educon (which is another amazing conference), but it is what the people are interested in that are at the conference.  Many people that attended are just jumping into using technology in their classroom and are shifting their thinking about what they are doing as teachers and learners, and the feedback from their experience was fantastic.  

The vision of the conference, created by Eric and his staff, was to start with where people are, but to push them to their next level.  The best leaders have a larger vision, but they break it down into smaller steps so people develop confidence and understanding along the way. That is what happened in the sessions at Edscape.

As all leaders, Eric focuses on relationships first, and builds from there.  Seeing the growth and development of his school, you see how vital this is to growth.  But what I also loved about Eric is that he knows there is still a lot of work to be done, and that the best organizations continuously grow and learn.  The best leaders celebrate their accomplishments, but build off of them.  As soon as you spend too much time patting yourself on the back, you find that you become Blockbuster.  Eric was proud of where his staff and students have come, but also has a vision of where they can still go.

I learned a lot from my time with Eric and I hope I have been able to share a few of those “nuggets” with others.

The big take-aways from spending time with Eric:

1. Focus on relationships and building community.
2.  Change can happen in “old” environments if you focus on changing mindsets and developing educators as learners first.
3. Start with people where they are at, but help them get to their next level, wherever that may be.

Thanks to Eric and his school community for putting on a great conference and leading by example!

How big is your room? #CEM12


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Dr. Warner

Working in Ontario the last week with teachers and administrators, with many conversations revolving around digital footprint and the impact it has on getting a job, this is a question that popped up in my head, and ultimately our conversations, several times:

It sparked a lot of conversation and strong thoughts on Twitter from many educators who are obviously connected.  Here are some of mine.

Many believed that having a Twitter account and blogging do not make you a great educator. Agreed.  Hence the reason that I try to qualify that you had two great teachers, and if they both had similar qualities, but one of the candidates has a social media presence, does that put them ahead in a competition?  But due to the character limit of the tweet, and pointed out eloquently by others, it depends on how you are using your social media presence.

Obviously no one wants to hire a “Carly Crunk Bear” as an educator simply because she has a Twitter account.  I have said often that social media can create many opportunities for people but only if they do great stuff.

Another great point was that there are many other ways that educators can connect (many pointed out in this great post from Kelly Christopherson).  Ultimately, is it having a blog and using Twitter that are important?  To me, it is that the educator is a constant learner who is connected to others and can learn about whatever he or she wants, whenever he or she wants.

I also would look for candidates that want to share their work with others.  We often think that administrators should have (and rightfully so) a transparency in their work; teachers should be no different. This willingness to learn shows me that they have the “sponge” attitude, and are more likely to be a self-starter.  These are things that I am looking for in a strong teacher candidate.

If you are looking for innovative teaching and learning, I want people that are networked and willing to create on their own, as research shows that the more networked someone is, the more likely they are going to come up with great ideas.  It is also important (to me) that individuals are willing to model the learning that they want to see in their students.

So what if all of the blogs and tweets that show innovative teaching and learning are lies?  That could be very true, and some people that are very intelligent on “paper” are not always great teachers.  Reference checks, interviews, and all of the other things that are part of the hiring process should all be important, but doing a Google search on someone is also a new imperative in our world.  Not in the sense that we are looking for something bad, but that we might just find something good.

The idea of someone having and using a Twitter account effectively to improve their learning will also tell us that they are displaying many of the “21st Century Literacies” as defined by the NCTE.  I found one comment interesting: that they prefer the “Face to Face” interactions as online has too much “noise.”

I believe that when we can get together, it is better than connecting online, but we always don’t have the option.  Filtering through the “noise” is a skill that we need to have and work with our students to ensure they also have this ability.  When you have access to all of the information in the world, how do you find it, know if it is useful, and create something powerful from it?  If I hired someone with this skill-set already, my guess is that they could help navigate students in this world as well.

Here are some interview questions that I have been thinking about:

What is your favourite Ted Talk? What did you learn from it?

Who are some educators that you connect with through social media and what have you learned from them?

Would you ask these questions? What would they tell you?

Honestly though, many administrators out there would not care about those specific questions and answers.  Why is that?  Is it because they believe it is not important or that they don’t know the power that connecting with others outside your organization creates?

I remember being asked in my interviews, “How do you continuously learn?” I gave answers about a book I read a year before or attending a conference that every other teacher in my district had attended.  My answer would be much different now, and honestly, much better. Not just in terms of what I use, but in how I use it, and how it has changed my thinking on teaching and learning.

This quote from Will Richardson says a lot in the new standard that many people are looking for when they are hiring someone to their organization:

“…And truth be told, teachers should be responsible for their own PD now.  Kids wouldn’t wait for a blogging workshop.  Adults shouldn’t either.”

Being connected does not make you a great teacher, but in the long run, it can sure help.  If you truly believe that “the smartest person in the room, is the room,” doesn’t it make a difference on how big your room is?

People-Driven Decision Making


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by epSos .de

I am reading a few books right now, and one of them is Phil Jackson’s, ”Eleven Rings: One Soul to Success“.  To say that I respect what he has done (as a coach) would be an understatement, but what I find really powerful is not what he has done, but how he has done it.  As the winningest coach in NBA history (11 championships), I loved this quote:

It takes a number of critical factors to win an NBA championship, including the right mix of talent, creativity, intelligence, toughness, and, of course, luck. But if a team doesn’t have the most essential ingredient—love—none of those other factors matter.

As more businesses are seeing the importance of focusing on the human aspect of their organizations and seeing the value of people, there is a trend that seems to be happening in education to move towards turning everything into “numbers” and become “data-driven”.

So what happens when your sole focus is on numbers?

“…it’s institutionalized with No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top; teach to the test – worst possible way of teaching. But it is a disciplinary technique. Schools are designed to teach the test. You don’t have to worry about students thinking for themselves, challenging, raising questions. And you see it down to the lowest level of detail. I give a lot of talks in communities and places where people are concerned about education and I’ve had teachers come up to me and say afterwards, you know, I teach sixth grade. A little girl came up after class and said she was interested in something that came up in class, and wanted to know how to look into it. And I tell her, you can’t do it; you got to study for the test. Your future depends on it; my salary depends on it.” Noam Chomsky

When we always focus on numbers, we have kids learning about things that they don’t care about, in hopes that they will get a certain “grade” to justify our work.  The problem is we lose to many kids when we focus on them as a number, instead of just focusing on them.

Data is important, but schools should always be “people-driven”.  It is at the heart of what we do, and who we are.

The Layover Test


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Satish Krishnamurthy

I recently saw the movie “The Internship” (which was a great movie in 2005), that had some funny moments, but actually shared a really cool practice done at Google when hiring new applicants called “The Layover Test”.  In an interview about the movie, Shawn Levy (the director) discussed the process:

It’s something they actually have in their interview process and it is at the end of the day, beyond what school the kid went to, beyond GPA, etc., who would you rather be stuck in an airport bar with on a six-hour flight delay?  They call it the layover test…So Google often accepts people employees and interns with kind of outside that Silicon Valley box way of thinking…

This made me think a lot about the way that we hire in education contrasted with the talking of being creative in the way that we teach school.

As a university student, I remember people in my class that were “average” in their marks, but were amazing teachers.  Yet when many of the jobs opened up, the students with the top marks in school would often get interviews and positions.  Seeing some of these candidates teach, they knew all of the right answers, but they had a lot of trouble relating to people.

When I ended up in administration, that memory stuck with me, so I wouldn’t even look at marks (other than that they graduated), and I would just talk to them.  I had a few questions, but I wanted my time spent with them to be a conversation.  It was more important to get to see how they interacted, as opposed to how they answered questions that often had a generic answer.  I guess at the time, I was trying to do a shortened version of the “layover” test.  Those “interviews” were an opportunity for me to not only learn about the candidate, but hopefully learn.  I wanted to hear some new ideas and grow from the experience as well.

Shouldn’t that we be the type of people that we want to hire? The one’s that push our thinking not the one’s that are able to recite it?

 

3 Important Trends That We Should Focus On in Schools


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Esparta

In our world, parents and students now have access to the same information that educators do, and the hope is that this would improve the learning that happens in school.  The reality of this is though, that educators have access to information outside of schools and we should be looking towards different organizations and industries, and what they are focusing on and improving their practice.  Many educators are doing this now, and you will see things like Google’s “2o% Time” implemented at both the classroom and organizational level with great success.  As educators, I really believe we need to look both inside and outside of schools to create the best opportunities for our students.

Here are a few focus areas outside of education, that we should be looking at in schools and make more explicit in our practice.

1.  Research and Development

Having a conversation at a recent meeting, the presenter continuously talked about “R & D”, while many sat in the room curious to what the initials stood for.  Why is that?  Why do we put such little emphasis on “Research and Development” in schools, while others organizations put a much larger emphasis in this area:

Anthony S. Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has estimated that other fields spend 5 percent to 15 percent of their budgets on research and development, while in education, it is around 0.25 percent. Education-school researchers publish for fellow academics; teachers develop practical knowledge but do not evaluate or share it; commercial curriculum designers make what districts and states will buy, with little regard for quality. We most likely will need the creation of new institutions — an educational equivalent of the National Institutes of Health, the main funder of biomedical research in America — if we are to make serious headway.”  (From “Teachers: Will We Ever Learn“)

Obviously, research is a component of what we do in our classrooms, but are we creating from that process or are we simply reporting?  Teachers should be continuous learners and active research should be a component of this (obviously administrators should be finding time to ensure that this happens), and we are more likely to create this experience for students if we experience this ourselves.  Actively researching best, new and innovative practices, would only improve our schools.

We spend a lot of time having our students look back at the past, but how much time do we give them to create the future?

2.  Entrepreneurial Spirt

The term “entrepreneurial spirit” is something that has been a focus for Alberta Education:

“Entrepreneurial Spirit: who creates opportunities and achieves  goals through hard work, perseverance and discipline; who  strives for excellence and earns success; who explores ideas and challenges the status quo; who is competitive, adaptable and resilient; and who has the confidence to take risks and make bold decisions in the face of adversity.”

Or their simple definition for students:

“I create new opportunities.”

I have seen many amazing things that have been created in schools only because I happened to be in the school.  If students are able to develop an “app”, should they not also have some understanding of how to market it as well?  This just not go for the “business minds” in school, but in any and every aspect.  A student can be the most amazing artist, but if no one ever sees their work, could they ever end up doing this for a living?  I am a firm believer that we should try to give opportunities for students to follow their passions and hopefully make a living from what they love.

Dan Pink shares his belief that all people are in some capacity need the ability to be able to “sell”:

“Physicians sell patients on a remedy. Lawyers sell juries on a verdict. Teachers sell students on the value of paying attention in class. Entrepreneurs woo funders, writers sweet-talk producers, coaches cajole players.”

If you think back to your own post-secondary experience in becoming an educator, were you ever actually taught on how to get a job?  This is more important than ever with “digital footprints” becoming a large factor in how people in all areas are getting jobs.

We want our students to be able to create amazing things; how do we help them share those creations?

(Check out SCH Academy’s “Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership” to see a very innovative program that is really trying to push the envelope in this areas.)

3.  Leadership Development

This is probably a no-brainer for many, but still something that schools need to focus on for their entire community.  When I talk about “leadership”, I am not thinking of “being the boss”, but the ability to empower others and be a part in creating a positive culture.  I also believe that leadership has to do with ownership, and things that we do in isolation also help us in this pursuit (Sir Ken Robinson is considered a “leader” in education but how many of you know of any affiliations that he has with any single organization?).

Developing leaders should be something that we continue to focus on, or the first two areas that I have discussed will end up being moot.

Although there are “electives” in schools in the above areas, should there not be elements of each in the work that we do everyday?  As stated before, this is not just about students, but for it to be successful, these are initiatives that should be available to educators as well.  Experience is the best way to create new learning, and if our staff does not understand this, how will our students?  We should also look at what we do already in these areas and make some of these initiatives more explicit to our public.  Changing the terminology from “staff days” to “Research and Development Day” (or whatever the time length), better communicates the work that we are trying to do, and perhaps creates a better focus for ourselves on what we are trying to do with our professional learning time.

Although a lot of these terms are related to “business”, I see them as valuable opportunities for learning and to create opportunities for our students, not only in their future, but also their present.

I look forward to your thoughts.

4 Guiding Questions For Your IT Department


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Maurizio Zanetti

Recently, I tweeted an article entitle, “The Obsolete Tech Director“, which had some ideas on how to ensure that an IT department stays relevant in the way they serve schools.  With that being said, there was a really strong message being sent regarding IT departments and how many are seeing their work by the author:

“The role of the typical school district technology director has become obsolete.  Speak with your average teacher in many school districts in America, and you’ll find the technology department is better known for getting in the way than for serving the educational needs of both staff and students.  Many technology departments, led by obsolete tech directors, are inadvertently inhibiting learning.  The mantra of ‘lock it and block it’ no longer works in a 21st century digital learning environment.”

The author of the article is a technology director so I feel more comfortable where the message is coming from, yet my concern would be simply shooting the link off in an email to an IT department without any type of discussion.  Having worked with both teachers and an IT department, it is important that we have conversations to work together and understand how we can work together to serve our schools.  Daniel Pink sums it up nicely in his new book:

“Perspective-taking is at the heart of our first essential quality in moving others today.”

So to create a culture where we are supportive and serving of one another, I really believe that it starts by asking questions as opposed to simply making statements.  Here are some ideas of questions that can start the conversation:

 1. What is best for kids? – This is a question that should not just be asked of our IT departments but should be the question that guides all of our work.  For example, the mindset about blocking many social media sites is that we keep the kids safe from doing this work, but in the long term, what seems to be best for kids is to educate them to navigate a really confusing and fast-paced world, as opposed to leaving them to do this at home.  If you decide to open these sites, we have to ask what work is happening in the classrooms to ensure that students have an understanding of digital citizenship and their footprint.    It is easy to say, “open the site”, but it is more important that if sites are open, that we work with kids to ensure that they are safe online.  This question helps us to understand what we can do to help each other.

 2. How does this improve learning? In the past, I have seen software programs that have been pushed out that have a business focus and then pushed as a great thing for schools.  Companies can get very pushy with software and it makes good business sense to take a software and show how it can have multiple purposes.  At any point though, if either educators or the IT department cannot articulate how any new program or software will improve student learning, why is it being pushed to all computers?  IT departments should be able to ask this of educators as well.  If a teacher just went to a conference and saw some cool software that they now think should be pushed to all computers, they should be able to articulate why it is essential for learing to their IT department.  I believe that there is an opportunity to test some programs out in small cases, but when you think it is something that all students should have, we will need to articulate how it serves learning.  If neither side can answer this question, we are wasting time and resources.

(See “Our Digital Portfolio Project” to see how it was articulated that we would be using WordPress for student portfolios and how it would give opportunities for learning.  This was needed before we even went ahead with the project.)

3. If we were to do _________, what is the balance of risk vs. reward? Many IT departments look at risk assessment and they want the risk to be either low or preferably zero. But with that being said, how often do we look at the possible reward that is associated with doing something?  For example, many schools block Twitter for all in a school as there seemingly is a risk of opening social media sites, but when you open up sites and you say to your community,
“we trust you”, there is a HUGE reward that can come out of this.  If you also looked at the learning opportunities for opening up sites like YouTube, we have to look at not only the learning opportunities that are available with the second most used search engine, but also what we may lose.  In my opinion there is a much higher reward with opening the site if you are to work with your students, but we should have to articulate what that reward could be instead of just saying, “Why isn’t YouTube open?”

4. Is this serving the few or the majority? This question is something that is essential when we make any policies on anything, but for some reason, we seem to go overboard when it comes to technology.  If a kid stabs someone with a pencil, they might be writing with it by the end of the school day, yet if we have a cyberbullying issue with one student, some schools block social media altogether.  It seems like quite the overreaction.

So anytime a new policy or procedure happens for an entire school, we have to ensure that we are not punishing everyone for the mistakes of a few.  Innovative environments should be built on trust, not the lack of it.

(This is a great video talking about this exact idea and it is a great view for all staff.)

Empathy is something that is essential to the work that we do, and I realized when I went to central office is that there is a ton of work that our IT Departments do that I do not have the ability or skill set to do.  They do amazing work.  What I would suggest though is that you invite your IT team to observe in your classroom (not necessarily help) what you do on an everyday basis.  If your Internet is slow, computers do not work, and students are having trouble logging into things, they want to know that but it is important that they see this, not just hear about it after the fact.  On the other hand, invite IT teams to conferences on education (not only educational technology) and have conversations on how to get to the next level for student learning.

The success of the school is more likely to happen if your IT team and educators are working together, not apart.  What are you doing to facilitate this?

BYOD: A Bare Minimum


cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Beige Alert

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”.

Huh?

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?”

Really?

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?