Thursday, March 26, 2015

BYOD/1:1 and Differentiation

If you are thinking about or contemplating a BYOD or 1:1 initiative for your school, you should do it just for the amount of differentiation that will occur in your building and/or classroom. Teachers and students will find new & original ways to use the devices to master content. Some interesting ways that students & teachers use devices to learn content are:

1. Video & Pictures
Using video is a great way for students to demonstrate how they understand content. Students will amaze you by the number of ways they use video to demonstrate mastery. Students like to use apps such as YouTube Capture, Videolicious, and Screencast-o-matic to video projects & use as assessments to demonstrate mastery. Students also enjoy using Collaaj and ShowMe to use whiteboard functions and voice-overs. Students also use different video applications like Kahn Academy or EduCreations to watch videos to learn different material.

Students also use pictures to tell their stories. There are many apps out there that allow for collages & poster creation. One app that is a good poster app is Phoster. App allows students to create posters and save them as images. Teachers need to be flexible and allow students to demonstrate mastery in different ways than just summative assessments. Be flexible because your students are.

2. Peer-to-Peer
Following up on videos above, students love working in peer-to-peer environments and devices allow them to do this. Students can use the apps mentioned above and Google Drive to share documents with each other, edit documents at the same time, and create forms for input. There is nothing better than watching student collaboration & student discussion that creates critical thinking and growth.

3. Learning Management System (LMS)
Another great way to create differentiation is using an LMS such as Edmodo or Schoology. Students are able to express themselves on a platform that is similar to Facebook. Students can blog, ask questions, download documents, and communicate/collaborate with the teacher & other students. Students can post blogs and participate in discussions that allow them to demonstrate their knowledge of the content. Students have a voice and are members of a learning community. Collaboration can be a form a differentiation when students get support from their peers.

4. Basic Research
Sometimes students just use basic research as a form of differentiation. Students research answers or questions on the devices and find answers & explanations. Students improve their research skills & find different ways to learn content other than in the classroom.

Devices really do open doors for students. The apps I listed above are just a few that are used. Don’t get caught up in the reasons to fund or not fund or support a BYOD/1:1 initiative. If differentiation opportunities for students is important for you, then you have a great reason to go BYOD/1:1.