Tech Tuesday – Technology in the classroom

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) – As your kids head back to school, Tech Tuesday discusses the latest trends in using technology in the classroom.

The following is from our tech expert, David Powell:

It is that time of year again–where the kids go back to school.  Everyone goes to bed earlier, lunches must be packed and the unrelenting pace of the school year takes over.  So, for the next two weeks, we are going to look at what you need to know about tech before sending the kids off to school.  This week, we’ll explore Bring Your Own Device, also called BYOD.  Here is what you need to know:

*   What is the idea behind BYOD?  The idea is that the students are literally allowed to bring their own devices.  There was a time period when the schools really didn’t want students bringing smart phones, or really any phones, to school.  Everyone used the computers in the computer lab and there wasn’t a real need.  Now, we are all so dependent on our devices and they are such a part of our lives, that the schools have decided to embrace them and integrate them into classroom instruction.

*   Is there a budgetary reason for this as well?  Absolutely.  Ultimately, the schools can’t afford to provide each kid with a device and then replace/refresh them all the time as kids graduate and the technology becomes obsolete.  By lettings students bring their own, they push the cost the of the device to the user as well letting the students use the device they prefer.

*   So, the curriculum must accommodate the use of these devices?  Yes.  One prominent superintendent here in our area told me that he wants the technology people that work for the school to focus on helping the teachers integrate technology into their instruction rather than troubleshooting a bunch of IT stuff.  This is a huge shift.

*   So, what do you recommend people use for BYOD?  I’m a big believer in the “ecosystem”.  If you are Apple family, stick with Apple stuff.  If you are an Amazon family, stick with the Kindle Fire.  If you are a Google family, stick with their stuff.  There is tremendous value in having all your stuff with one provider.  I will say, Google offers a compelling set of devices right now.  Their Nexus 7 tablet has all the stuff you’d expect with a 10 hour battery for $250.  Several hundred less than than the 10 inch iPad.  Also, the Google Chromebook is about $200 and comes loaded with all the Google apps.  For 90 percent of the users, the Chromebook is sufficient for web use, simple apps and those types of things.  For the price of an iPad, you can get a Chromebook and a Google Nexus tablet.  Pretty compelling!

So, as our world becomes increasingly dependent on these devices, I’m glad that our schools are embracing them rather than hiding from them.  The kids are using them anyway, might as well include them in the instruction!

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