BYOD Days: See What They Bring To The Table

BYOD Days: See What They Bring To The Table
Summary: Digital devices or pen and paper: Should it really be one or the other, or does it depend on the student and the subject that is taught? We suggest you find out on BYOD Days!

What BYOD Days Bring To The Table

Devices form an eternal point of discussion as eLearning is working its way in to our school systems. As we wrote in our previous article, many educators and sometimes students, are skeptical of using digital devices during class. It is argued that on-screen learning would be less effective than using pen and paper to study. However, this is a premature statement. At eFaqt, we think digital learning is something our students are getting used to, and that earlier stated preferences can change. This change in preference is something we have noticed amongst students and teachers who use our online study tool eFaqt.

The most exciting thing about learning in a digital age, is that students get the opportunity to study under circumstances that help them work at their full potential. Every educator knows that not every student is the same: Different things can work for different students. Of course educators have experienced many students over the years, which is why we have our recommendations. However, times are changing due to technology. Thus, we should experiment and explore the difference devices can make.

Only by experimenting, trial and error, we shall see what is most effective for which type of student.

Therefore, our suggestion is to set up a BYOD Days and see what your students bring to the table: Yes, by this we mean every student can choose to bring the device they think works best for them. Next, you can teach and evaluate its effectiveness.

BYOD days are about exploring the possibilities and limitations of devices per class, per student. Here are a few basic questions and tips an educator can take in to account:

  1. Which device matches which type of class?
    Is it a history lesson or a lesson in statistics? A history lesson involves a lot of note taking, keeping up with what is being said, asking questions and registering a story. One could say digital devices would be suitable for this class as it gives students the opportunity to type quickly and keep up with everything they understand or don't understand for that matter. A lecture in mathematics might involve drawing graphs, diagrams and writing out formulas. This might be easier when pen and paper is used as a device.
  2. Which type of student matches which type of device?
    Some students struggle to keep up with long lectures: they have difficulty recognizing the "main points" and tend to write down everything a teacher says. Using pen and paper, these students might miss out on things, as handwriting is slower than typing. For these students, digital devices may be a solution to get the most out of their lectures. Other students may be far too distracted using a laptop, tablet or phone to take notes. They may be moving away from the lecture towards social media and may therefore be better off bringing their traditional notebooks.
  3. How does one device influence the students overall?
    BYOD-research could also entail trying out 1 device for 1 day for every student. By this, we mean a teacher could opt to lecture in a computer classroom, and have every student take notes on the computer. You could even try and see what happens if every student takes notes on their phones for a day. This could illustrate an influence a particular device has overall on interaction, attention, and understanding during class.
  4. Measure the progress of your students.
    Though the questions stated above are useful when trying different devices, measuring it can also identify the true effect of using a variety of devices. As we test and grade our students all the time, why not test the level of their knowledge after they used their favorite devices in class? An idea could be to quiz your students and see whether their grades drop or improve. The quiz doesn't have to be for a formal grade, but you could reward good achievements with bonus credit on their formal exam later on.

To optimize the learning experience of our students, we should be open to the environmental and technological changes that influence the quality of their learning processes and academic performance. BYOD Days is a way to do this. If not every athlete wears the same shoe, why should every student use the same device?