BYOD: Extra Hardware Enhances Teacher Efficiency

BYOD: Extra Hardware Enhances Teacher Efficiency
Summary: Is it wrong to compare technology in education with the Six Million Dollar Man? There really is an important blend of human and technological components that make the system work. The question is how to make it best work for teachers.

BYOD In Secondary Education

Is it hypocritical for teachers to use electronic devices (iPhones) in school when students are restricted from using them? It may be late in the game, as systems nationwide are finding creative ways to implement -rather than extricate student devices. I firmly believe in BYOD in secondary education. Don’t think of it as giving in, rather as students having a tool free from school funds, that carries tons of educational applications. Where have you ever seen this before? But is it fair for me to have my phone out and tell students to put theirs away in the remaining “phone free” schools?

Ok, first I need to explain that I do not lounge in my chair, make calls, texts, and download apps all day.  My phone is connected via USB to my teacher computer. It sets on my desk to the immediate left of my laptop (which our staff just received at the beginning of the year). Yes, I am charging my phone, but that is the extent of my personal use. I am very busy (as most teachers are), and to be perfectly honest, I need more hardware.

I constantly have two email accounts open. My work email is for, well, work email, plus answering student emails. My other account, which I have at fingers touch on my phone, alerts me to important technical organization updates, certain social media sites for Instructional Designers, and dates and times of technology events. Sure, I could keep a hundred tabs open, but why? I have quick access with my phone, plus it is wireless; therefore, I can send for help should my network crash. Which it will, at least once each month.

Then there are the intangibles. I keep my phone on vibrate. With a five year old in kindergarten, who somehow contracts strep six times per year; the phone is a nice safety feature. Plus, my phone gets messages much more quickly than our internet (the new snail mail). Thoughts that, as a forty-five year old, can be quickly recorded by the voice app before they get lost along with the zillions of single sock thoughts in my head. I have never had a student question me about why I have a phone out even though they are not allowed to.  “Respect" and “Honor” are my two classroom rules. If I have a phone hooked into my system, then I must have a good reason. It all comes down to versatility. I do not think it is hypocritical at all. For me it is a necessity that helps me be a more efficient teacher.