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5 strategies for building a powerful BYOD classroom

Interesting post from a US writer titled 5 Strategies for building a powerful BYOD classroom. His list of strategies are:

  • Anticipate problems - they will come
  • Teach appropriate device and Internet use constantly
  • Blend the learning
  • Have extra devices on hand
  • Plan your curriculum around BYOD

No real surprises in this list - and perhaps useful for someone at the beginning of the journey - but I'd have to say there's a really big one missing for me - that's to establish "WHY" - 'why are you promoting a BYOD strategy in your classroom, what will it add to your student's learning that isn't there now etc.?"

If this question is answered well then advice like "plan your curriculum around your BYOD" becomes redundant because the notion of planning the curriculum around anything like this smacks of an 'additive' mindset. A powerful BYOD classroom, in my opinion, is where the devices are used in such an integrated way that they're more like the 'air we breathe' than a 'how can we use our device in this circumstance'. 

I wonder what the advice from members of this group might be if we were to construct a list of Strategies for building a powerful BYOD classroom? Add them in a reply to this post - will be interesting to see what emerges...


  • Mark Maddren

    I agree Derek while we still talk of digital classes, BYOD and it rooms/suites we are still thinking of the device as an add on to a class/school. I wonder if when gym classes first started they used the term BYOGG (Bring your own gym gear). When integrated into the class environment the device becomes just another tool alongside class materials and resources. However what an amazing tool when integrated well!

    I think a strategy that the Manaiakalani Cluster use of "making the learning visible" is a key strategy and focuses teachers well into using the device as a learning tool not a babysitting tool. As a parent I have been reflecting on this with my own children's education and the lack of visibility of their learning as a parent.

  • Ngaire Shepherd-Wills

    We are a term into BYOD, with year 4 in a collaborative learning environment. One thing that has amazed me. Is how naturally the students are using their devices when given the opportunity to use them whenever, to support their learning. As you say in your post Derek- more like the "air we breathe" . Embarrassing faux pas last week when I told a student to go and write a user name and password ( not a top secret one!) on a piece of paper. His reply? " Nah, I'll just take a photo of it on my ipad! " Digital natives! So my strategy would be - let the kids drive - they will come up with ways of integrating devices seamlessly that may surprise you. 

  • Josie Redmond

    I have been running a BYOD class for the last three years.  At the start it was all about ensuring the students could put their work in the correct place on Hapara/Google Drive so that I could find it, about ensuring that they knew how to access the internet search engines and be able to sift through the stuff they didn't need, and how to problem solve if they couldn't get onto the internet.  These issues were addressed and the use of Techsperts helped solve them, with some of the issues not within my understanding but the Techsperts has it sorted.  the problem was to make sure theTechsperts learning time wasn't taken up with always being interrupted with solving problems for me.

    Now we are able to have more range in the ways we present tasks with more options as more apps are shared and used effectively to present their learning.  I use the chromebooks to publish writing of course, to record themselves reading and complete a reflection each term identifying what they did well and what they need to work on in the future, to complete power points to report on research and to create short animations to tell a narrative or to use PowToons to do the same thing.  the challenge for me now is finding the time to provide the specific feedback and to have checks in place for the 'phaffers' who like the idea of working on a device, but are not delivering the quality goods or meeting the deadlines and have lots of bad excuses.

    I still see the device a s a tool in teaching and learning, not the main one either.  It is still important for my students to show me progressions in their written language books, evidence of editing and brainstorming etc and then first drafts, second drafts and feedback on devices.

    The problem that I often encounter is not enough devices available when I rely on them.  We have spare devices but sometimes it is the students that forget their own devices or they are broken and need fixing, that cause the shortage.  I have a rule that the people that have their own device, are not allowed to use the spare devices unless the people that rely on school devices are not using them.

    My other problem is when the server is down or the connection is playing up and my lesson is relying on connectivity.  I have been caught out a few times and it is frustrating.  

    All in all I am on an incredibly steep learning curve and finding great sites to visit to access new resources and activities to enhance my teaching.  It's exciting. My next goal is to get the students to self and peer assess independently and store their feedback in a way that it easy for me to access so I can  provide specific feedback to help them in their learning.