Key components of a successful BYOT initiative include the following:
- Begin to change the way students view their devices by changing the language when they are referenced. Students need to fully understand that they are tools for learning. Make consistent efforts to refer to them as mobile learning devices.
- When in the classroom, the teacher must ensure that there is a specific learning outcome connected to the device.
- Ensuring equity is important, and we must be cognizant of those students who might not own a device. Determining those that do not in a confidential manner is very important. If using mobile phones, teachers can easily pair students up.
- A BYOT initiative can actually supplement what a school already has in terms of technology and increase access. For example, a school with a laptop cart but only 20 devices for 25 students in the class could utilize student-owned technology to close this gap.
- Develop appropriate support structures that align with current acceptable-use policies.
- Provide professional development and resources to teachers so that they can successfully implement mobile learning devices.
- Treat students like 21st century adolescents. Many of them own and use these devices outside of school. If we can focus use on learning, then why would we not allow them to bring these tools and use in school?
- Deal with unacceptable use based on the school discipline code. This should not be considered different than any other infraction. Off-task behavior in the classroom is most likely the result of a poorly planned lesson or ineffective classroom-management techniques.
- Promote use of student-owned devices for learning during non-instructional time. At NMHS, one can routinely see students using devices during lunch to conduct research for projects, complete homework assignments and organize their responsibilities. Additionally, we have seen a dramatic reduction in behavior issues.