“We need to replicate in the classroom the world in which students are living.” by The Innovative Educator, 2008
Tomorrow starts the day that seems like I have been waiting forever for! My school starts the pilot in our district, for bring your own technology- byot. We are piloting with our 5th graders first and then our plan is to work our way down to K. Below I share how we have rolled it out so it was not a surprise to our teachers or our parents.
1. We researched! We read articles and blogs. We participated in the #byotchats (Thursdays at 9PM) We set up phone conferences with other districts and schools. We visited Forsyth County Schools who have been implementing it for years and took their tour. Their tour info is here and I highly recommend it. (See previous post BYOT Tour Recap)
2. We made it apart of our schools improvement plan. Our School Leadership Team (SLT), consists of a mixture of parents and teachers. Here everyone had a voice on how they wanted to see BYOT in our school. This is where we came up with our goals as a school along with ideas of how to best implement. We decided even though our district had an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) we wanted one that fit our school needs more. Here is ours, adapted from Forsyth with permission. We also decided a brochure would be helpful to parents and a website. We (SLT) are also in the process of figuring out how we can best support our equity students with devices. (When completed I will be sure to write a blog post on it :-))
3. Getting the Word Out! On way we have done this is though ‘coffee chats’ something my principal (@rjgiovanelli) does once a month at our school. The coffee chats are designed to inform parents what is happening in the school. Each month is different but for Oct. Mr. Giovanelli focused on technology. He explained to parents what we were doing with technology, what is to come (byot) and why it is important. We also video these chats so parents that are not able to make it can also view. (Here is Oct videos Video #1 http://youtu.be/W1833cWutPw Video #2 http://youtu.be/jGSqseUBhoI Video #3 http://youtu.be/Md6OlDRJ3Y0) We also get the world our by using our schools Facebook and Twitter page; both these social networking sites have benefited us in informing parents what is going on. We have taken pictures of students using the technology so parents can visually see what their students are doing with the technology. We also post the coffee chats here too.
4. We are training our teachers! Why didn’t I say ‘trained’ because we are always providing continuous Professional Development (PD) and not just a ‘one and done’. We have offered all our teacher’s a technology training each month (Tech Tuesdays) along with modeling it in staff meetings and other professional developments for Common Core and our Essential Standards. I have also made a page on my wiki that shows how teachers are using technology in the classroom that teachers can refer too.
5. We are having discussions with our teachers! I went into one of the 5th grade planning’s and shared tips and tricks/best practices of BYOT. Here they were also allowed to ask questions, share concerns etc. One concern was that because they departmentalize, they were nervous they would not know who had returned the AUP permission slip and who hadn’t. We came up with a solution to put on garage sale stickers (those little dot ones) that are bright orange and initial the inside (so they couldn’t just buy them). The students would then put them on their agendas because all the students have to have those in each class. We also discussed that if they have any problems we will find a solution together. This way they know they are not alone on this. We also plan to have weekly ‘check-in’ meetings for the first few minutes of planning to make sure there are no concerns etc.
I will do a follow-up at the end of the month discussing what has worked and what we need to do to make it better as we know there will be some bumps. I would love to hear any advice others want to share as we are always learning and improving.