I sit here after ready the latest education tech mag and wonder, with all these changes with BYOD are schools really changing.
The photo from the magazine shows students using new technology and interacting with it, but have a look closer...
sorry photo is upside down, this is to protect the identities...
The room hasn't changed, they are sitting in lines, here is an example as one teacher puts it...
Nothing cracks me up more than seeing articles on schools implementing [insert gadget here] but the photo is of kids sitting in neat rows
Here we are, the room looks like it is a modern teaching space, yet we are still showing 1950's setups, ok, in the latest photo they are smiling at least.
I do realise that this is the case in many schools, even my own, but with change needs change.
That's the thing: [insert new gadget] is a tool that allows us to break free from traditional pedagogies, not reinforce them.
We need to aim for change within our classroom, where are the groups, collobration, change in layout design. Why is it that we have to teach from the front of the room?
The latest gadgets offer mobility & information anywhere but schools have HUGE self-interest in tying students to 1 place, 1 time
Are schools looking at changing timetables, changing the way they do things? Or is it still still 50-60minutes and change at the bell? Why are we locking students down to a classroom when we have all this space outside?
Clay Shirky: Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.
Is this because, this is the way teachers were taught, so we must teach our students the same?
BYOD in school allows for change, allow for change in structure and classroom design, change for use of spaces outside the classroom for group work and networking. We need to be developing these as well as what is going on in the classroom.
As one of my teachers has said, he wants to be able to sit in a coffee shop and work with collobration and skype/google hangout and have the students connect from home or school and interact with the lesson using the Learning Management System to obtain attendance and rubics for marking.
Unfortunately, when you say 'this is the way teachers were taught, so we must teach our students the same,' you may not be far from the truth.
I don't think BYOD is the answer to the issues that our schools may have. Plonking a device, individualised as it may be, down in front of a student, still won't ensure that our teaching improves. And it certainly won't promise that a student learns any better.
In order for BYOD to be a catalyst for change, there does need to be a shift in the way we think about teaching in the classroom (or in the cafe as the case may be), and that won't happen quickly.
This is a picture that the magazine used of Orewa College taken in the first couple of days of the year.(dont worry about privacy just use the technology to flip the photo over it is in the public domain)
What you will see now and what you would have seen in the summer days later in term one is significantly different. But at times also the same.
You are right teachers need to change the way they are teaching we need to teach the students a new way of possible learnings. For all of their lives to this point the both have been "conditioned" to a particular model of learning. We have undergone significant PD with staff starting about June last year before any students arrived with devices in year nine. It seems that early on a necessary "safe(for teachers) " first step for staff was to digitise existing pedagogy however since those initial first steps both the students and staff are changing the way they teach and learn significantly. Both students and staff are buzzing with initiatives and ideas.(you gotta try it to see it)
This is a transition to a transformation. From what I have observed it cannot and will not be a matter of merely flicking a switch in order to make a paradigm change, particulary so in schools built physically to accomodate 19th and 20th Century treaching. We are talking of human beings and habitual change it will take time sprinkled with success, failure and learning which we recognise at Orewa College but the change will happen and it is important to manage the change encourage it take.
As Mao said the longest Journey starts with a single step and instead of sitting writing about it get out there and start the Journey.
Gerard is correct the use of portable wireless technicnology and ultrafast Broad band will fundementally change the teaching and learning paradigm. We at Orewa College believe that education will look back at the years 2010 -2015 and recognise them as a water shed in our Education system. The doors and the possibilities that we are beginning to see open, the school will fundamentally change from the length of the day the timetable to co curricular and the way we manage and take advangtage of these is vital, ensure we hold onto the strengths that our system offers currently and grab onto the advangtages that this journey may take us.
The key however is to stop talking about it look at and learn from others who are courageous enough to institute such change and take the step. The whole step, not optional BYOD but compulsory, because only then will you really start to see how things can be.
Nice reply Mark and I like your honest response about the journey your staff are on and I have no doubt your complete commitment to BYOD will result in a much quicker shift than optional BYOD. I was really impressed at the level of buy in and renewed energy I witnessed when observing and listening to Orewa staff. There is definitely some awesome stuff happening.
However, I do stand my gut instinct that modernising our pedagogy and shifting to increasingly student centred learning doesn't just rely on one to one devices (our flipped classrooms) and that when the device is compulsory and more specifically the type of device is pretty much specified we are not even providing student choice or necessarily responding to student voice. We can also end up kidding ourselves that we are getting all modern, when in fact the technology is really smoke and mirrors.
In terms of compulsory BYO(very specific)D - where is the opportunity for students to use their prefered tools and/or technologies being enabled, so as to manage their own mode and means for learning. I also suspect the uniformity of the device can actually lead to the teacher managing their learning (and use of the device) for them in a way you simply can not when your students have genuine choice...and doesn't this then create a bit of a walled garden that flies in the face of openess, creativity and innovation.
I guess in a sense I am torn - I think the "boots and all" compulsory BYOD approach might change pedagogy more quickly however I do think it shifts it in the direction that I am not entirely convinced is what we ultimately want - student centred, collaborative, open and innovative teaching and learning, because doesn't all of that involve more personal choice and voice?
Personally I would rather see 'Teaching as Inquiry' become compulsory and all teachers having to engage in genuine action research around modern, blended pedagogical approaches to improve student outcomes and student engagement.
This is a great discussion, people, and it's pretty clear that while BYOD might be a driving trend at the moment, no technology is going to shift teacher practice. In fact, Fullan last year identified using technology as a driver for change as being ultimately flawed - coincidentally I just blogged about his paper today:-)
As you have all identified, shifts in teacher practice, around technology or otherwise, only come from sustained and continuous, evidenced-based inquiry into our practice. And even then, it can be done piecemeal and in a fragmented way - inquiry can be just a challenging a process as integrating technologies, as I'm sure we all know;-)
The recent NZCER report on future-oriented PD explored three schools that were all illustrating exemplary approaches to professional learning - and even there, the learning was not deep or critical enough to really make a change for the long term. So it certainly isn't easy and I think you capture the complex nature of the journey well, Mark.
Recent conversations I've had with a principals' group identified that many of the challenges are not tech related but values and beliefs related...for example, a teacher who doesn't subscribe to the notions of personalised or differentiated learning in their non-tech classroom is unlikely to see the 'what's in it for me/my students?' in a BYOD debate.....
What I do think is really encouraging, though, is that this type of conversation is, I feel, becoming more prevalent. I think schools do know, in their heart of hearts, that the tech won't change the teach...it may just be that the professional learning design also has to catch up;-)
Perhaps the real discussion is how to change values and beliefs about teaching and learning? Hmm....
[and apologies for shamelessly linking twice to my blog;)]
Gotta agree and disagree with some of Claire’s contentions. Absolutely agree that a change in pedagogical approach or even a whole paradigm of teaching and learning is not reliant on a piece of technology or a device but I certainly would contend that some technologies such as the internet 15 years ago (into schools) and latterly the ability to use mobile personal devices, in our opinion have been real catalysts for change and change enablers.
I look back in my memory at mathematics in 1976 to the 5th form at Naenae College when calculators became compulsory. It was a game changer in the Mathematics curriculum. It changed curriculum content and pedagogy. At the very basic level it created more time in the classroom, we did not have to use time consuming Log tables and learn how to handle those pesky slide rules, teachers had more time to be alongside students, students had more time to think and solve rather than the physical mechanics of calculation.
Again, as I said earlier, not at the flick of a switch but as professionals, teachers with years of wisdom and experience in education start to see the educational advantages of such technology, they are generally good enough educational practioners to adapt and adopt practice to new technologies. Ditto could be said of the internet and its evolution in schools over the last 15 years.
So we have to take a wider view than a single paper on Technology by one educational researcher to make an assertion about something. Because any study will have lots of constraints provisos, what ifs and biases, just as my point of views have.
Like any tool its how you use it, how you as a professional body of teachers (in our case our staff and leadership) perceive the tool and the educational advantages (and pitfalls) it may bring, and from this understanding use the tool to best benefit both directly for our current learners and as a lever to enhance pedagogical change within our professional community with a common vision and understanding and belief. (The common vision and understanding and belief amongst a staff or professional group is the real silver bullet in pedagogical development)
Absolutely agree with Claire re an Inquiry based approach to our classroom, perhaps I am wrong, but this model has recently been repackaged and re articulated by the “Edu Sphere” based on what I was taught 25 years ago as a beginning teacher.
Use formative assessment in all its guises to evaluate the learners in front of you for any particular unit, term, year. Plan and modify your approach to engage and inspire the learners differentiating to their abilities while delivering content and skills. Evaluate your teaching embedding changes in your approach to the unit, or term of work BUT remember people are different, next year that approach with a different group of learners may not be appropriate.
But the key is to embed this modis operandi if you like, of teaching in your practice.
This is certainly the model that is emerging as a result of the implementation of BYOD at Orewa College, a model that we would have been hard pushed to achieve without forcing this fundamental change.
Perhaps we may have lost thisInquiry approach as a profession in the increased eternal load of NCEA implementation and change. Perhaps we are loosing the “time and Energy” for professional discourse and experimentation to the bureaucratic requirements of our assessment system.
Again first we are humans and the human brain has only a certain capacity to deal with “life” and when more and more is added some stuff drops out.
At Orewa College we stipulated any Internet capable wireless device, When we made the decision in May last year we reccommended the iPad 2. It has proven to be the correct recommendadtion at the time and we are still reccomending it , but not stipulating it in 2013. It was important when we moved to make this fundemental change that we removed any barriers that may have hindered our pedagogical journey, have a consistant device has taken a small but irritating glitch out out of the implementation. This was new to students and their families so to assert that we are forcing a device, or not responding to student voice is perhaps a long stretch. At this stage it is for the younger learner, "you dont know what you dont know" just as we as a staff did not know what we did not know" Wefelt it irresponsible to parents we were asking to invest in a device to not give them sound advice on a device we knew would work.
As technology improves, as strudent understanding of use of devices for education improves and becomes more common place then I am sure students will make the choice of an appropriate device that suits them but certainly from our surveying and experience those that have brought iPads are much more satisfied than the android pad users and netbook users(and yes I know there could be alsorts of other reasons and conditions that have caused this result). The laptop users are a pretty happy bunch and certainly our senior students tend towards laptops rather than tablet type technoloy.
However to get the ball rolling in year 1 of our journey it was a good decision to try and get a relatively consistant base of devices both from a student and a teaching point of view. (Don't get me started on teachers manging their learning on a base device with a set of programs and applications, I would contend now that students have got the knack of finding web based tools or apps the exact opposite is begining to occur)
I'm really enjoying these conversations!
It would be easy to take the following quote from Digital devices pupils' new pencil cases (Shared by Gerard Macmanus) out of context:
"The core teaching won't change, just the kids' access to information . . . It's very exciting for teaching, not just our school."
When you have all identified the necessity to, challenge teacher beliefs and practice, so that, “teachers grounded in effective instruction.” (Fullen)
Mark, your specific references to developments at Orewa are encouraging to read, I can almost visualise the stages of development. As you reference Mao’s quote, it makes me wonder - where the longest journey is taking us?
Envisioning the future of educational technology is a fascinating blog with an equally exciting infographic. Factors in future trends include elements you have already touched on:
WARNING: Lots to take, in, click to enlarge.