If you’re reading our office’s TIPS blog, chances are thoughts of BYOD have drifted through your mind. The idea is intriguing and you can see the immense impact using personal devices can have on students’ learning. However, the day-to-day aspect of integrating technology into lessons just leaves you twitching in your chair. Where do you start? What tools do you use? How do you find out what works while still making time to plan lessons, grade papers, call parents and juggle the million other things on your plate?
Obviously notifying parents and considering classroom management are some important portions of the process. For this post, though, I thought I’d jump ahead into the part that often causes the most hesitation — technology tools, particularly those which can serve as stepping stones into BYOD. Consider them as the go-to resources for activities you already have in place. I’ve chosen them because they are easily matched to the curriculum and don’t require much time to either set up or use with students. In addition, most of them can be used on multiple platforms (Android, Mac, etc.), and several utilize apps that can be downloaded to devices.
One area that allows for easy integration of personal devices is assessment, so consider Socrative, GoSoapbox or Infuse Learning. Whether it’s flashbacks, exit slips or any other type of formative or summative assessment, these tools offer a great way to get started with BYOD. Come on, you’re already doing these activities, so adding in technology is not going require a huge commitment. Beyond the initial learning curve for creating quizzes and teaching students how to use the tool(s), there isn’t a ton of time invested. Don’t forget, too, the district resources that allow for assessment, such as Edmodo or iSchool.
In addition to collaboration and assessment, communication is another simple way to begin using technology tools as part of BYOD. For an almost mindless step into these waters, use TodaysMeet or Poll Everywhere to gather student thoughts and questions. Create a room, turn on the projector and the entire class can contribute and see what others are discussing. Using Edmodo also allows for great communication in a Facebook-like environment, while iSchool has forums — thus showing how some tools can be used for multiple purposes.
No matter what your content, these tools can serve as quick starting point in your BYOD journey. Starting with communication, collaboration and assessment will eventually provide you with the confidence to venture into a deeper and richer use of technology through student projects and much more.