Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When a school goes BYOD - A teacher's reflection

When a school makes the decisions to go BYOD it is often after a lot discussion, work, PD, rewriting of goals and St Andrew's College (StAC) is no different. You can read on the St Andrews College Eblog about the school and student experiences; as well as what some teachers are doing. This post on  Digital Citizenship is interesting and gives a clear picture of the school vision. It is worth taking the time to read through the blog as it is full of interesting posts, images and video.

At a department and classroom level the exciting challenge was what can we do to embrace the change and vision the school has for: innovative, engaging and collaborative learning. At first it can seem a little overwhelming, all the possibilities.  Below are some of the tools we use and my experience with them:

One Note is part of the Microsoft 365 suit and a brilliant tool. At the start of the term I had every student create and English OneNote and share it with me. The ability to check a student's workbook in real time and provide feedback quickly is definitely a positive. A negative was that I suddenly felt I needed to check the student work all the time. I have had to put in place my own guidelines, for example, sometimes students don't know written feedback but want to know you have looked at the work; I use images for this.  My Senior students suddenly felt that it was all a bit 'big brother' as my expectations of the amount of work completed didn't necessarily match theirs! 
I like that I can create a workbook for different topics that can be constantly evolving and organize the activities differently to Moodle.

Moodle definitely has its place. I like how students can submit work here and it doesn't get lost! At the end of the year it is easier to get students to pull formative assessments from Moodle than their folders or even computers! Moodle has the ability to lock in student submitted assessments and this is something that I take advantage of as it means assessments don't clog my email and I can provide feedback in the form of track changes and up load it to Moodle again. I could use OneNote here but OneNote doesn't yet (from what I can see, but could be wrong) lock assessments. 
I have also used Moodle for one off relief tasks when absent. I used the create a page function and was surprised at how easy it was to embed media and links to the task on Slam Poetry. This St Andrew's College English Department Moodle Page

Education Perfect
The opportunity to change from a paper based write-on text book to an online tool for grammar, punctuation and other such 'English' based skills came about with an email in my inbox from Education Perfect. After discussing it as a department and having a tutorial from the Matt Foster who is in charge of English. We decided to give it go. All our students in Year 9 have access to this program as well as students up to Year 13. As teachers were were impressed with not just the student engagement of the website but also the amount of data and how it could be tailored to student needs. Students enjoy the competitive nature of the program and it has had a flow on effect with students learning key content through multiple learning opportunities. It will be interesting to see how this online software evolves to maintain student/teacher interest and needs .

TED Talks have now created TED Education and it was through this that I put together a lesson on Slam poetry. Whilst you can use the lessons and tasks on the site I tailored it to my class (using Moodle) and used this article from Stuff as well as my own tasks.

These are just 4 of the tools I am using in class with students from Year 10-13. I do give students as much choice as possible. It is about the integration of technology rather than replacing one form of writing/researching/learning with another.