the BYOD challenge in the classroom

'Herman Hollerith's Census Device' photo (c) 2008, Pargon - license: of what I’ve read about BYOD (bring your own device) challenges have to do with the IT nightmares of security and access to network data. I understand that it must be challenging, but particularly with mobile devices that are quickly substituting for ubiquitous laptops, we users want bandwidth and access to all campus content. For faculty and staff, that can mean access to drives and the content we have stored there. It is a real challenge, but the conversations have been going on for a while and are not coming as a surprise to anyone who maintains a campus network. In the classroom, however, there are still discussions of how to prevent students from bringing or using any of their technologies, although I think that resistance is slowing.

I’ve been wondering about BYOD workshops for faculty for a number of reasons, although it wouldn’t work with any of the proprietary software that we train on. The Adobe Connect and VoiceThread apps, for example, are pretty nice and getting more and more functional, but in general, mobile devices won’t work for everything we do. On the other hand, we’d like to do workshops specifically about mobile devices, yet we don’t have any to pass around to a group, so it could be interesting to have a bunch of different ones being used to accomplish similar things in different ways, simulating the classrooms where faculty will be teaching.

And it’s that classroom experience I am wondering most about. If you are open to mobile devices in the classroom (I guess that’s the first step), how might you use them? Would you ask students to work in groups with whatever they have to research topics? Would you worry about students being left out without a device or do you think looking over a shoulder would do? What about apps? Maybe you could ask “who has an app that will do this?” Maybe you can suggest some apps to acquire, although you should probably explore what’s available for different devices. It sounds a little chaotic, but, personally, I have always been a fan of the noisy classroom over the one where I am tired of listening to myself. I think I always tried to create a flipped classroom before the term was invented.

We are going to continue to teach face-to-face for some time (you heard it here), but the model has to adapt to a world where all or most students are holding a world of information in their hands. Even at the community college where I am now, where access to technology by students is not a given, it’s clear that mobile devices have become a priority for our students. We just need to figure out how to best use them.

Categories: course design, digital literacy, learning, mobile learning, pedagogy, teaching

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