Light Offerings

Will BYOD go the way of 1:1?

Posted by jturner56 on October 11, 2014

In the ever thickening forest of digital’s impact on school (replete with falling tress and poison ivy aplenty) where lies the path to the promised land?

Perhaps a revisit to MLC in 1989 as the first 1:1 laptop school might be instructive. It’s basis of constructing knowledge was well founded on strong learning and pedagogical principles. Yet where does it lie today up against standardised knowledge and conflicting demands as its students transverse towards the higher reaches?

Too often digital ‘solutions’ are presupposed on Field of Dreams expectations. “Build it and they will come.”

My thought is that any digital consideration to be truly valued it should first find a place in a sustainable curriculum. Education after all is about agreement on what should be “value added” and in what ways. Increasingly I see this as needing to include a digital base. While digital remains as not “mission critical” in education this might be a tall order.

But such a curriculum would need Digital Literacy benchmarking as a foundation for processes of learning that enable constructive thinking, dynamic problem solving and valued approaches to social learning (such as balance, identity and connection). Areas to be reconceptualised would need to include Information Literacy, Informal Personal Learning, Opportunities for Authentic Specialisation, and Lifelong Learning (for teachers too). Assessment would need to be dynamic, not standardised.

Opportunities for deep learning could then be supported through personal projects that lead to authentic outcomes (authentic in that the project outcome is valued without having to be “graded”.)

To this end it is increasingly in the cloud where lies the possibilities and the risks.

BYOD needs to start there; if not, we are likely to be decrying its lack of systemic success in similar ways to all the other digital developments in education that have come before. Proponents will be left hanging their hats on individual or sub-group “justifications.” Or perhaps this is enough to justify a assimilation approach with how school has operated for over 100 years.

In any case, as put forward by the Alberta Government through Bring Your Own Device: A Guide for Schools, if combined with the right pedagogy and used responsibly, BYOD technologies can add value in a changing learning landscape facilitated

by web-based tools and resources.

So what changes are we making to the educational landscape to support this? Is this primarily a resource question that has seen us bogged down in not being able to see beyond this to the promise of digital as a personal learning device? Or will school evolve through new accommodations with digital in ways foretold by the likes of McLuhan: “It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame.”

Week 1: Bridges
Week 2: Busyness
Week 3: Beliefs
Week 4: Build (1) School Community + Digital Learning Ecosystem
Week 5: Blog (cross posted here)
Week 6: Build Learning Opportunities
Week 7: Balance
Week 8: Beliefs
Week 9: BYOD

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