“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” By Arnold Bennett

This weeks #BYOTchat was my inspiration for this weeks blog post. (Byotchats are Thursdays @ 9:00) The topic was discussing various ways to help technologically challenged teachers in BYOT schools. This got me thinking about how not only do the teachers need to feel comfortable but so do parents. After all, parents are the ones who are letting their kids bring their devices to school.

Many ideas were shared but I think the most important thing we need to keep saying, is technology is not going to replace teachers, as that is many teachers fear. An analogy that @edshelf said, that I think is great is, “Technology can never replace teachers, just like hammers can never replace carpenters. Technology is just a tool.” With that being said, here are some ideas to help teachers and parents feel more comfortable with technology and BYOT that you can implement in your schools.

1. Professional Development (PD) is the most important. Offering many different times along with many different types of PD will help teachers feel more comfortable. For example, offer small group PD to teachers that want to have face to face time and need more one on one but also offer PD to those that are more comfortable with technology and they could do a webinar.  Make sure the PD highlight’s that it is okay to fail and that is how you learn; this concept is also important for teachers to bring back into the classroom environment as well. Also letting your teachers that are comfortable, or your schools technology team lead the PD’s. This lets teachers see that it can work in classrooms. This goes the same for parents, offering PD is important too, it doesn’t have to be the same type the teachers are getting but keeping them up-to-date is important as well.

2. Modeling is very important because teachers can see how technology is a tool and that the real ‘meat’ is the content. When you have staff meetings, PTO events or other professional developments (ex Common Core Training) integrate technology seamlessly is important along with letting the teachers and parents use their devices. When I did a training this past school year for Common Core, I used poll everywhere, to let the teachers use their devices to vote on a question. This showed a way to use this site and devices but for the purpose/content of what I was presenting on. I also created a page on my wiki called ‘Technology in the Classrooms‘ where I recorded teachers using technology in their classrooms. This helped other teachers and parents see how it was being used in the classroom and gain insight and ideas of how they could use it too.

3. I think it is important that we let the teachers and parents bring their own devices to school for staff meetings, PTO meetings etc. I think a great way for teachers and parents to get more comfortable with other devices is by having a ‘petting zoo’ at a staff meeting/PTO meeting so teachers and parents can ‘play’ with other devices besides the one they own. This is also a great time to remind teachers and parents that the teacher doesn’t have to be the expert on all devices, as the students are responsible for knowing their own device.  This petting zoo should happen more than once too because teachers and parents need the time to play.

Please share any other ideas you have about how to make teachers and/or parents feel more comfortable with technology and BYOT.

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Comments on: "Getting Teachers and Parents Comfortable with BYOT" (15)

  1. Nice job! I’m looking for some inspiration as we role out over 300 iPads and several Macbook Airs in a few months. This post was helpful. We will also be looking at students and teachers bringing their own devices this year so your ideas are valuable. Differentiated PD, good modeling, and allowing users to experiment with their own devices and others is all very important.

  2. I love your idea about the “petting zoo”. I will try that out at my school! Thanks as always for the great info!

  3. allaccesspass said:

    Excellent point about meeting leaders incorporating technology into the meetings. Modeling is important for both staff and students. Our administrator is on his way out and not a huge supporter of BYOT. In this case, we will have to work as a staff to share ideas. Maybe voluntary weekly meetings or an Edmodo page to share ideas???

  4. This was a great read. I am new to the concept of BYOT, but agree with it. Perhaps moving toward BYOT in the classroom begins with BYOT staff meetings (even flipped staff meetings). I think that once educators get into using technology to communicate in school, they will see the relevance for their own classrooms as well. Imagine an interactive BYOT school-wide assembly. My students wouldn’t be doodling on their shoes any longer.

  5. Ray Giovanelli said:

    Great job. Teachers need to know and believe this. Tech is a wonderful tool and not a nemesis!

  6. BOYT is a great idea. I’m all for it. However, in that model, how do you plan for students who don’t have a device? In a school where 95% of the students receive free or reduced lunch, having a device isn’t the norm. Most student have a cell phone in middle school but may not have internet access or wifi access.

    I do love the “petting zoo” concept. I’m going to be doing this at the open house in my 1:1 classroom. I’ll have several computers out, maybe a few stations, and have simple activities for the students.

    In the BOYT model, I could see a petting zoo in the school lobby at an open house before school starts. You could have a bunch of different devices so that students and families can play before they commit to a single device.

    • Just like school supplies, you try to do with what you have. More devices in the classroom also frees up the devices you do have in your classroom. I also suggest using the Title 1 money schools do get and put it towards devices in the classroom. I know there is a program called, http://one.laptop.org that offers help with devices. Some info on it here. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2008/may08/05-15msolpcpr.aspx

      • I completely agree that making a device a school supply is key. Put it on the school supply list and see what happens. That would make it easier for schools to have a few devices for students that are truly in need.

        OLPC (laptop.org, One Laptop Per Child) is an interesting program. They are really targeted at the poorest nations in the world, not the United States. In addition, they sell to governments and education ministers who implement OLPC for the country (thousands of laptops at a time). This model allows them to build in bulk and make the cost go way down.

        I was able to get one of the laptops during a Give One, Get One campaign where for $400, I got an XO laptop and I was able to sponsor one for another child in third world nation. While it is a decent laptop, it is, in my opinion, underwhelming for a developed nation that is used to MacBooks and PCs.

        Thanks for the great post and the good discussion. I’d love to hear more about how your petting zoo and implementations go!

  7. @knaus Hi, as mentioned above, go with what you’ve got. Let the kids help you figure it out. Once you convince them you’re on their side by letting them use the devices they do have, there will be some energy produced to get more devices. The world is more than capable of producing enough devices. A bigger issue is whether or not teachers have the mental and emotional capacity to join their students in the exploration.

    • Teachers are the stumbling block. Effective classrooms have discovery built into them and the teacher creates an environment for this to happen. This isn’t allows how it happens.

      The other issue is districts and principals allowing this to happen. Principals are often even less connected than teachers (age, experience, desire, whatever) and it’s even harder to convince them that this is a good idea.

  8. […] Getting Teachers and Parents Comfortable with BYOT (insidetheclassroomoutsidethebox.wordpress.com) […]

  9. […] with curriculum and programs helps build trust. An example of workshops that you can have are BYOT  or Common Core so parents can see how they are […]

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