By Tiff Setzler


Bring your own device

In looking at the program for the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference, held in Hershey, PA, Feb 11 – 13, I saw constant references to BYOD in the presentation topics, and it was an acronym with which I was not familiar.
But it turns out that I was BYOD’ing at that very moment, as I was able to pull out my smartphone and Google BYOD (in fact I was triple BYOD’ing, as I was also carrying my tablet and my laptop).
If there happens to be any one else, like me,  unfamiliar with this term, 

Bring your own device (BYOD) (also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own PC (BYOPC)) means the policy of permitting employees (students) to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace (school), and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.[1]

When you Google BYOD and education you will find that there is a great deal of discussion about the pros and cons, about the benefits and pitfalls, about the costs and benefits of implementing BYOD in the schools. I am not going to attempt to present any reasoned analysis about this right now.
There are many reasons I find this interesting, the first of which was that in my second teaching position, I was brought in to help implement a “Computer for Every Student” program. This was in 1985, and the computer of choice at that time was the Apple Iic. (I will always have a special place in my heart for that machine.)
There are a lot of different ways to go with this, but my first thoughts turn to what this means for Alice.
  1. Should we start thinking about developing a version of Alice for mobile platforms? (We often receive inquiries as to whether such a version exists.) This is certainly something we cannot tackle in the near term. As always, available resources dictate what is possible.
  2. What would be the purpose of a mobile Alice? Does a different platform imply a different expectation for the tool?
  3. What would a mobile version of Alice look like? We may not be able to start working on such a version, but that does not mean we cannot give this some thought.
    • Is simply taking Alice in its current form and migrating it to work on mobile devices a good idea, or even practical, given the form factor?
    • If there is a different goal for mobile Alice (see point #2), then how does that inform the “shape” of Alice?

But if we cannot do anything about creating a mobile Alice software package right now, we can certainly think about how BYOD can and should inform Alice curriculum.

  1. There seems to be some linkage between BYOD and the flipped classroom. Does the curriculum materials we have and continue to develop support flipped learning?
  2. I made the observation yesterday that the textbook in K-12 seems to be dying. Are we overly textbook-centric in our approach to developing curriculum?
  3. How well do our curriculum materials transfer to different mobile platforms?
  4. Delivery of content. Do our current models of curriculum distribution make sense in a BYOD environment?
  5. Evaluation. I have not seen much on this topic yet, not that it is not out there. How does BYOD change evaluation of student learning?

Lots of things to think about, and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

From under the bridge,