Curricular Change for a Successful BYOD Implementation

Photo by  Holger Link

Photo by Holger Link


I am very happy to to have been able to witness several successful rollouts a 1:1 program either where every student has a laptop, or where every student brings their own device (BYOD).  When success happens, more are likely to want to follow the lead. However, success does not come overnight.

Yes, I know, these are very famous words.  But, in fact, success does not come in a few months.  From what I have seen, the most successful fully technology integrated schools take a full year to research and plan before they roll out a plan with the students.  

There are several important questions to consider, and Diana Benner, of TCEA, provides an excellent resource bank for consideration when going BYOD. See what Benner designed for a presentation at the 2016 TCEA Annual Conference.

In this post, I will address what I feel that I know the most about: Curriculum.  What considerations are related to a successful development and delivery of a curriculum that is adapted for a BYOD school (or really any technology integrated school)?

Check For Understanding With A Flipped Classroom

Referring back to my infographic on the 3 Tiers of Technology Integration in Education, the most basic level of technology integration is when the teacher uses technology to make a presentation or to grade papers.

But, what happens when a device is put in the students' hands?  The classroom can be flipped, and students can access electronic presentations at home and be ready to discuss the material when they get to class.  "This sounds great," you say. "But my students need be be held accountable."

Yes, I think most people need to be held accountable.  That's why a check for understanding can be taken for a grade at the very beginning of the class. Or, alternatively, a five-question check for understanding can be turned in via a Google Form, email, an assignment in Google Classroom, or any other way the teacher finds easy to collect and grade.

Videos With Questions

Consider what can be done with video, and think about how much YouTube has developed in the past 11 years since it's creation.  With #Education YouTube and YouTube/Teachers technology empowered teachers can expand beyond a lecture-based classroom.  Apps like Blubbr allow questions to easily be integrated into a YouTube video.  

The blog entry 8 Good Web Tools to Create Video Quizzes for Your Class, by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, addresses several great tools for integrating video in an educational setting.  For a great idea on how to use, see my blog post Reflective Communication with Google Hangouts on Air +

What To Do With More Class Time?

If lectures are assigned as homework, and if quicks checks for understanding can be automatically graded by using apps like Google Forms with Flubaroo, and Socrative, then this frees up a lot of classroom time that would otherwise be spent on direct instruction and grading of work.  What to do with so much extra time?

Teachers can turn their classrooms into laboratories where students practice applications of what they are supposed to be learning.  A science class can turn their classroom into a laboratory intensive setting. A history class can have students researching and debating topics.  A world languages classroom can be conversational focused. Any class can work on intensively developing an interactive digital portfolio, which I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Supporting Faculty With Capacity Building

Some teachers may need help on coming up with ideas on a new practice-intensive classroom structure. Professional development and capacity building of campus-based technology specialists are necessary for a successful implementation.  Also, training on project-based learning can be very helpful. Some local schools have been employing the help of the Buck Institute.  Other schools are getting training and building capacity with a  Google Certified Trainer.

Benefits Outweigh The Costs

Returning to the presentation by Diana Benner, going 1:1 and BYOD will likely have increased costs for professional development of faculty and staff, and there are likely to be serious challenges if implementation is not planned thoroughly.  However, if the plan is well-researched and applied well, all types of learners are more likely to be engaged and play a more central role in their learning.