BYOT and Balancing Equity

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.” By Bill Gates

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Our Bring Your Own Technology implementation is going strong. (See Rolling Out BYOT Post)  We are averaging about 10-12 devices per classroom ranging from iPod Touches, to Samsung Galaxies to iPads. One of our School Leadership Team (SLT) projects this year with the BYOT implementation was to come up with a way to help balance the equity among students. We knew this wasn’t a reason not to implement BYOT but we also wanted a plan.

We decide to have a donation drive. We created a ‘Wanted’ Poster (Click to view) that we are sending home to all the families in our school and giving to local business. We are hoping that with the holiday season approaching and all the new gadgets, people will donate their old gadgets to us. We are running the drive from Nov. 26th- January 25th but we will also always continue to collect. Our SLT will then take the devices and wipe the devices if they aren’t already, inventory them and donate a few devices to each room. We are hoping that between the computers the school already offers and these extra devices it will help balance the equity issue better.

Here are some more articles/blogs about Equity and BYOT:

Issues of Equity in BYOT by Tim Clark

The Importance of Equity in BYOT Implementation by Chris Hubbard

I would love to hear how your school or district is trying to do to help balance equity with your BYOT implementation.

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Comments on: "BYOT and Balancing Equity" (9)

  1. Ray Giovanelli said:

    This is our opportunity to even the playing field for all kids. So exciting!

  2. Equity is the foundation of good schools–Finland chose to build on that principle rather that excellence, as North American schools have, and look where it took that country.

    But let’s remember that if we look at learning as a collaborative activity, we can see that not everyone needs to have the same devices. One person can look things up on a laptop, another can snap pictures of notes on the whiteboard and post them to a class site etc.

    What we want is equitable access to the learning, not necessarily the devices.

    • I agree with you but I also need to work with what we have in the US. We, as educator, need to provide for students that don’t have access to materials such as books, pencils etc including devices and technology as they are also tools for learning and preparing every child for the real world.

  3. I like the donation idea but it leads me to a couple of questions.

    Often when a device comes to end-of-life for the owner, it’s battery is ready to be put out to pasture, and in some cases like with iPhones, the battery can’t be replaced at all. Does your school intend to invest in new batteries for the devices that can have their batteries replaced?

    Also, what is the plan for when the devices start having problems? Will attempts to repair them be made or is more of a “use it until it no longer functions” approach?

    Thanks for any info you can provide!

    • Thank you for your comment. We have decided we could come up with a million different ‘what ifs’ so we decided to take it one device at a time. We know some batteries will have have charging issues so we are going to make charging stations for these devices. We are still looking into if the device has problems. We are lucky to have a few parents that are part of our SLT program that are ‘techie fix it’ people. If the device is not fitting for our needs then we plan on donating them to a local goodwill or local police station.

      We never know we could get only a few devices or we could get hundreds….we will see. 🙂

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