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Introducing BYOD in Room 4 Ouruhia School

The Context

The introduction of BYOD and utilising online learning environments was a trial in one classroom to see what difference it would make to motivation and learning for the students (in particular writing), the shift in pedagogy and also the logistics of how the devices would be managed, how our wireless system would perform and the implications for timetabling.

The Yr 5-6 classroom chosen to trial the initiative also had a strong focus on the development of individual learning pathways.  We were interested to explore the potential of  BYOD and online learning environments to enhance/support/scaffold a differentiated learning approach.

The devices we used were the iPod, iPad, Tablet, Android phone and the online environments used were Study Ladder, Mathletics, Reading Eggs, e-Time Virtual School, Class blog. Our wireless system we are using is Ubiquity and we are very happy with its performance.

What was important for us?

  • That use of the device and online learning environment were clearly linked to improving student outcomes within targeted curriculum areas.
  • The devices were to be returned to one place immediately after use.
  • No giving of own device to another person to use, but okay to share a device if on a project.
  • The devices were not used at break times or in the playground.
  • That parents did not feel pressured by the school or their child to supply a device 
  • That we constantly reflect on whether this trial would be a viable way to conduct classroom learning.
  • It was important that the ‘bells and whistles’ of devices and online environments didn’t overshadow our intended learning outcomes even though they are a motivator.

How we went about it.

Over a few weeks the students were exposed to the idea of BYOD and using online environments for supporting their learning. The class talked about the pros and cons and were enthusiastic about embarking on a trial.

The class already had good self-management skills established and were used to working with a timetable that moved them from one learning time to another with their group – this was a precursor to the success of the trial.

Each learning group were set learning tasks appropriate to their level for reading, writing and maths (which supported the classroom plan) and also some Social Science and Art activities. This allowed the teacher to teach small groups and one on one for targeted areas. Reading and writing is mostly integrated and math is stand alone because of cross grouping with another class.

Blogging time and e-Time Virtual School also had timetable slots.

All of the online environment’s intricacies were initially modelled on the data projector to the whole class. From that, student experts helped less able students with the orientation of the different environments.

At one daily writing time (Personal Comment), iPods, iPads and computers were timetabled for individual use. The writing is shared with the class via the speaking function on these devices.

What have we learned?

The improvement in attitude, motivation, improvement and engagement towards writing for about a third of the class (who could take writing or leave it) and especially for the 'tail end' accelerated very quickly.

Students who did not consider themselves “good at writing” quickly found success. They had instant access to a dictionary and thesaurus and a spell checker (not always helpful). Most students felt encouraged by seeing their writing in printed text. But the icing on the cake was when their writing was read back by the device. Punctuation and sentence structure became more obvious if it wasn’t sounding right. The daily language feature used was able to be identified by others through listening to the shared writing.

In numeracy the online environment enabled students to go over and revisit areas that needed practise and consolidation of maths concepts. Reading is highly engaging and meaningful and this has contributed to students being more intrisincly motivated.

Each online environment offers rewards for achievement and this was exciting for all students even those who can work independently regardless of the context.

What are our next steps?

To explore ways in which we gain gather data of student progress within the online tools

Sustaining the development of our BYOD use and sharing our learning with the other classes