3 years ago my principal, Dr. Sandy Chambers challenged our staff to participate in a district pilot program in which students would bring devices to school from home (Bring Your Own Device – BYOD). This included a lot of push back, a lot of challenges, and a lot of awesomeness! I’m not gonna lie – I didn’t think it would work in kindergarten! They couldn’t keep track of their jacket! How would they keep track of a device!? It took a few years but I think I have learned some lessons that might help others get going on BYOD with littles!
My school has a contract for each family participating in BYOD. If students don’t follow the guidelines they can lose the privilege of BYOD. You will need to teach, model, and repeat these expectations with both parents and students frequently. Expectations include:
- Use the device for learning.
- Carry it with 2 hands.
- Only the owner can use it.
- Devices come to school charged.
- How often the kid should bring their device.
- Apps or settings kids need.
- Digital Citizenship
Procedures, Procedures, Procedures!
Procedures are what keeps your classroom running smoothly. Teachers have procedures for everything from going to the bathroom to solving student disagreements. BYOD needs its own set of specific procedures. You will need to teach, model, and repeat these procedures frequently. My procedures include:
- Sign in devices daily so you know what is in your classroom. The sign in let’s me know what I have available each day.
- Our devices are to stay in student bookbags until we need them.
- I have a call out to check what students are doing. When I say, “device check!” Students immediately hold their device above their head facing in my direction. If they take a long time or you can see them tapping their devices they are most likely off task.
- When instructing or giving directions I ask kids to put their devices in “listening mode.” This means they are upside down on their lap.
- Kindness matters! When responding to other’s work digitally, be kind.
Allow for students to become experts!
Pick a few apps you want students to have on their BYOD and use them frequently! Let the kids become experts. These apps should become second nature and a “go to” for responses and reflection. Try to pick open ended apps that can be used for creation. Here’s a list of my favorites:
- Do ink green screen,
- Felt board
I use and teach other apps too but these are the ones we use the most. I also use raz-kids/kids a-z daily, but it isn’t a creation app.
I also like to keep a running list of things I want to try. Here is my list of creative apps I want to try:
- book creator
- sock puppet
- coma coma
Devices can add to your lessons in meaningful ways. A true blended classroom integrates technology seamlessly. Think creation and not just playing on apps. Use apps that are open ended and allow students to create: draw, photo, video, and write. Playing games and doing rote practice is not a sustainable way to integrate technology. Creation can be used for students to share their learning, respond to questions, or reflect on their learning. Allow students choice in how they share, respond, and reflect. Remember those favorite apps… They are all choices! Students choose them for different reasons depending on what they are trying to communicate.
You will find things that work and things that don’t. Be flexible and take a chance. You’ll be surprised what littles can do with devices, they are digital natives after all! Modeling and involving them in the problem solving process is key to success in BYOD for littles.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions about BYOD and littles!