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Bring Your Own Device

Bring Your Own Device

Written by David Baroody
September 22, 2013

The original posting, with images, can be found here.


For the past several years, I have repeated a mantra with my students that they need to use their personal devices as tools, not just toys.

Throughout this year, I have modeled this concept for my students and highlighted specific ways that I use my own phone as a legitimate tool: tracking positive behaviors usingClassDojo, using the still camera to document student work for later analysis and reflection, using the video camera to record and then reflect upon discussions, presentations, and group interactions, taking and sharing notes… the list goes on.

Lately, I have invited my 6th graders to identify ways they could use their own devices in the classroom. Primarily, I do this to draw the students’ attention to the transformative devices they keep on their persons. Secondarily, I do this to legitimize that device in the face of pressure from other faculty members who see no place for it in their classrooms; many would prefer it was turned off and buried in a locker until after academic hours.

Below are a few examples and explanations of student uses of devices in the past two weeks.

1) BYOD- Note Taking

All the laptops were in-use one morning, and our Tech Department AND Library were out of computers. What to do? “If you have a web-enabled iDevice in your locker, go and get it!” Students worked in collaborative groups to complete an in-depth topic review, collecting information and organizing notes from portions of a textbook and several vetted web resources. They then designed and created “quick and dirty” presentations (<45 words/3 pictures/ 3 minutes) to share their findings with classmates. Students employed preziiMovie, and Google Drive to create these presentation… all on a day when computers were “unavailable.”

2) BYOD- Writing Conference


A student and I were reviewing the biography she had written on an independent author for English class. She had taken a picture of the board several days earlier when I outlined the basic format of a biography, and was using the image to check that she had followed format. With the format checked, she and I turned the topic of our conference from basic format to a dissection of the information she included, in order to gauge whether she had successfully answered the essential question “How do the events of an author’s life influence her/his writing?”

3) BYOD- Recording Device


Students were analyzing a video about the Viking invasions of medieval Europe in order to answer the question “How did the Vikings and other barbarian invaders help or hinder the development of economic and political stability between the years 800-1000?” Recognizing the need to review and “re-read” the video “text” outside of class, several students took audio recordings to listen to later.

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