BYOD Update

Update to my daughter’s usage of BYOD at her middle school – I think we’re at two instances of classroom usage. Here’s my October post:

And then I read this article about a teacher’s experience of using electronic devices…in THIRD GRADE. The socialization skills of her students are being stunted by an overreliance and overuse of the iPads. The quietness of eight year olds all mesmerized by screens? Maybe needed for a 15 minute break when the children have behaved well and the teachers need to chat? But dominating their schoolday?

I had been thinking about the inconsistencies of what pediatricians tell us about limiting screen time and what these policies are encouraging. Although the AAP focuses on entertainment, they encourage the non-electronic formats of books and magazines.

But this article also elucidated the issues of what we expect our educators to be for our children. Are they supposed to be tech experts? If a book online is assigned, should the ability to track student progress be available? What Pandora’s box could that open up? When tablets and wi-fi don’t work, what’s the backup plan? Are educators expected to have constant analog backups on their lesson plans? (Given they’re already employing those backups here due to the partially working grading/learning management software HCPSS currently “uses” I guess that would be a yes…) (That article is ten weeks old, but trust me, students are still “disappearing” from classes.)

Do I sound like a Luddite? I am NOT. I LOVE technology and make many of my consumer purchasing decisions based on that. Our children should be exposed to computers sometimes, but not to the exclusion of student and teacher interaction. I remember a lesson I witnessed as a volunteer in kindergarten. The teacher used Google maps to show the kids the satellite view and to talk about roads and buildings and the surrounding community. She asked them questions about places and the kids and she interacted and shared common experiences. That was cool and meant something, but it didn’t stifle socialization.

At the recent town hall held by a bipartisan group of Howard County legislators, one speaker mentioned BYOD and felt the lack of a plan as well, plus the holding back of information regarding the policy. It’s not just me at my daughter’s middle school.

But at lunch today across three periods, I saw plenty of device use. During their downtime, kids are hopping onto their devices. Good thing they get social interaction during class.

4 thoughts on “BYOD Update

  1. Marijane Monck says:

    I like technology too, Kirsten. I also like beer. I’m an adult; I can enjoy an alcoholic beverage. That doesn’t mean it is good for children. They are not mini-adults. They are being force-fed an unhealthy diet of academics and technology at too young an age. They have so much developing to do without that interference.


    • I like the word interference, Marijane. Working on sight words and math facts doesn’t need to be overcomplicated by technology. Tech doesn’t improve the retention of those building blocks. I believe most of us learned the foundations of language and math sans technology. But I would add, IMHO, that this article demonstrates the interference on the side of the educator. Why does tech have to be brought in to “help” teachers teach? I’m pretty sure good instructors know what they’re doing and adding this extra layer doesn’t seem to add anything. Hence, part of my campaign – focus on the classroom where meaningful interactions happen and empower educators to make decisions to inform their instruction of their students. A little bit of technology is fine, but it should not dominate the school day. Thank you for your input and let’s continue this discussion.


  2. Lisa says:

    This is to usher in the age of CBE (competency based education). The children will be tested every week or everyday. Classrooms will be larger as there won’t really be a teacher needed for lesson plans since the lessons will all be online. Teachers, if they survive this mess, will simply become proctors. There are so many EdTech companies out there just chomping at the bit to get a hold of the millions of tax dollars invested in education. I think technology is a good thing when mixed with good teaching techniques and proper lesson plans. If we have a mess right now, just think if we are forced down this rabbit hole of hell!

    And another thing….my kids are at ELMS. My daughter has worked on a French project (a French menu) over the past week and had the weekend to finish up for Monday. The IPads were collected Friday and she hadn’t saved the project to Google Drive yet. All of her work is sitting on Pages on an IPad that she can’t access. Guess who won’t have her homework/project for class Monday? Guess who will be an angry parent when the grade given will be 50% of the actual grade for turning it in late? These IPads have been more trouble than they are worth.


  3. This is going on all over the country. My stepson has a school provided tablet now, in 7th grade. I substitute in his school occasionally and I have noticed something serious and unfortunate. There are tricks out there now that you can do to restore factory settings to the tablets so that you can download all sorts of apps to the tablet. Students will download all sorts of games onto the device at home, and as long as the tablet still has the name given to it by the school tech department, the tablet still has access to the school’s wifi. Students are now Facebooking, messaging and gaming during the day instead of paying attention.


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