Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Successes & Challenges of a Bring Your Own Device Initiative

Photo Courtesy of User Denharsh on Flickr
Today at ESC Region XIII's ViTaL (Visionaries in Technology and Learning) spring meeting, Joe Griffin, Executive Director of Technology for Keller ISD, spoke about Keller's Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Initiative. Even though he feels like his district isn't very far into this, it sounded to me like they've hit the ground running!

With budget cuts looming/towering/impending over public education in Texas, we need to start getting creative to get more technology learning devices into the hands of teachers and students. I enjoyed Joe's presentation and learned a great deal from it. I thought others could glean from Keller's experiences, too, so I am posting my notes from his presentation below.

Thanks to @cteitelman for arranging to have Joe speak to us today!

Keller ISD Website

Everyone has to be invested and involved for the initiative to succeed.

Started initially with Verizon wireless devices in a 5th grade classroom. Whole district now has wireless access capability.

Most of the content used in BYOD is web based or web enabled so students access content as if they were at home via internet.

Two vlans – one for teachers and one for students.

Next year going to use authentication so they can log in through LDAP and access network resources.

Before rolling out BYOD they revised their AUP. Had teachers involved. Whole model of instruction had to change.

Biggest challenge for instruction is multiple types of devices that the students bring.

No teacher is required to participate. Teacher has final decision making authority as to whether or not they will use devices in their classrooms.

Timberview Middle School – open concept school built with teaching collaboratively in mind. One challenge is what do they do with devices so they aren’t stolen? Parents sign a release, but still expect school to do things to prevent theft. They have had to make arrangements for device storage when students go to PE, electives, etc.

Timberview Website

When they first started BYOD at Timberview, they did not involve parents enough. You need a good strong philosophy and have parents engaged in the initiative from the start. Parents wished they had known before school started exactly the types of activities teachers would be doing with the devices. There was a misconception that the students would just be doing a lot of texting. Bring parents in early – PTA and maybe some others involved in school. Be transparent. Let parents know when you are working through issues. Let them know everything  students access through district wireless goes through their filtered proxy.

Cell phones are not filtered if they are using their cell service. This is incorporated through the AUP – teachers spent a lot of time going over the AUP and making students aware they are responsible for the content they access whether via school wireless or via their own cell signal.

AUP: Overarching philosophy that technology will be used to empower. Up until now, students were not allowed to use cell phones at school at all. Not all Keller schools are choosing to participate in bring your own device at this time.

AUP will be posted on their website in the next two weeks. Looked at Columbine as one of their models.

Start small – start with a campus and teachers that are instructionally strong and willing to take risks because it is not going to go smoothly.

Five other campuses have adopted the model in addition to Timberview. Seems to work best at middle school and high school.

Philosophy cannot be “everyone doing the same thing at the same time”. Research and inquiry seems to work well. Skill and drill does not work as well.

Keller ISD would like to create a group in Project Share with other districts who are doing BYOD in order to share ideas.

Worked with Keller ISD Education Foundation to get MyFi cards for students to check out and use at home if they do not have Internet access.

Because students are using district wireless, they should not incur additional data plan charges.

Keller just signed an agreement with Dell on a BYOD initiative. Some campuses will have optional bundled lists of technology that students can purchase from Dell on payment plans.

Keller ISD Technology Initiatives

NOTE: If you were interested in this post, you might also be interested in my February 8, 2011 post Bring Your Own Devices - How Do You Do It or How Do You Get There?