What Students Have to Say About BYOT

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 6.28.54 AMNext month I will be a presenting a session entitled, Leveraging Mobile Devices to Develop Autonomy in Reluctant Learners during the 2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference, RSCON4. After learning from such prolific leaders last year, I was truly honored to be invited to share my perspectives with a global audience.

I’ve been working on collecting feedback from current and former students about their thoughts on everything from technology and social responsibility, devices in the classroom and the transition into where mobile devices fit into  their normal lives. All of these students currently or formerly attended a high school that does not encourage or offer any mobile solutions. Below are a few snapshots of thought.

Social Impact

One of those students, a 16 year old high school junior, credits the use of technology with building relationships amongst students that would not otherwise exist. She credits social media with formulating a bridge that made communication much easier. Students, who would not normally interact at all are speaking freely through twitter. Prior to twitter, those interactions happened through myspace and/or facebook. She said that she feels more comfortable and free to speak in ways that she would not have felt face to face. When adults talk about mobile social interactions, the focus is normally on the negative, especially concerning  student behavior. She believes that our focus should be on reinforcing positive interactions because, to her, there are more benefits to social mobile interactions than are acknowledged.

Information Access

Another student, a college junior, who had zero technology access in high school says that one of his greatest finds since being able to leverage his device at will was cloud storage. He spoke of school limiting him to an 8gb flash drive to save all of his information. The cloud enables him to free space from his mobile device yet access media and other documents as he needs it. To him, that alone was empowering. He reminded me of our school trips where we printed mapquest pages prior to leaving the parking lot. Now, we can’t imagine not being able to access mobile navigation. I had not even considered that analogy.

E-Books Rule!

A recent HS graduate, a college freshman, attends a university where most of her textbooks are contained on her device. This was new territory for her as she did not have access to ebooks during high school. It was not a choice that she would have made for herself as technology STILL makes her uncomfortable. After a few weeks of use, her feelings regarding her ebooks have greatly improved. The immediate highlight was being able to access more information with the search bar or a single swipe versus digging around in a book. She studies now, when before, she did not and credits that to convenience.

My 2 Cents

This information is only a small snippet of what students think. Of course they want access to the information. They want to connect and they want to do it in a way that is natural and not forced. Our goals, in preparing students for their future, should reflect as such.

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