Blog #5 — Limited Technology in a Blended Classroom

I want to run my Workplace and Apprenticeship Math 20 as a blended learning classroom next semester.  I taught this class online last year, so all of my lessons are electronic already.  With the ability to enhance some of the lessons with face to face activities and collaboration I am thinking this would be an excellent opportunity to experiment with the format.  The problem is, however, that I don’t have access to computers all of the time.  With the technology limits within my school, I’m not sure I would be allowed to book one set of computers for one period for an entire semester.  It would be difficult to plan around when I would and would not have access to the computers.

Some of my students have been asking me if they can bring their own devices to school and I have been saying yes.  I’m not actually sure if this is sanctioned by the school division, but I guess I will eventually find out one way or the other.  Sometimes it is better to remain ignorant and ask for forgiveness later.  There seems to be two camps that currently exist in education today.  There is the BYOD (bring your own device) versus the 1:1 camp.  My school is definitely not in the 1:1 camp, so I will assume, for now, that they are in the BYOD camp.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

With sporadic access to technology it is difficult to become completely technologically oriented, but a blended classroom may be the best way to go.  I’m looking forward to trying it out!

Links to check out:

4 Key Benefits of Blended Learning
http://edudemic.com/2012/11/benefits-of-blended-learning/

BYOD Classroom Vs. iPad Classroom
http://www.keithrispin.com/byod/byod-classroom-vs-ipad-classroom/

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6 responses to “Blog #5 — Limited Technology in a Blended Classroom”

  1. Patti J says :

    Our district is in a state of change in relation to policies for technology. We have a one to one pilot in one school and have some IPad projects, but do not have a BYOD policy yet – so that means no BYOD. This is, in part, because of infrastructure – our existing network will not support a huge increase in devices unless there is a substantial upgrade in bandwidth. The system is at risk of crashing if we move ahead without the improved infrastructure. Another concern is security – schools wanting BYOD want students to have access to the district network; our technology department isn’t prepared for that due to risk of external viruses, intrusions and so on. One last concern is equity – we do not have enough devices to lend to those students who don’t have a personal device of his/her own – and we do not want to create a two tiered system. We aren’t ready – we have lots to work through first – which is definately unfortunate for those teachers and students who are ready.

    • K-Allin says :

      Thank you, Patti, for your comment.

      We have issues with bandwidth at our school as well, so I do know what you are talking about. I think sometimes a person needs to push the envelope a bit to spur things into action. School divisions need to know that we are ready and that we are limited because of them, not because of our lack of embracing technology. The more of us who ask and explain what a disservice we are doing to our students, the more action will be taken….hopefully!!!

      Karen Kennedy-Allin Weyburn Comprehensive School Physics, Science, Biology Teacher http://www.kennedyallin.blogspot.com

  2. Pat Stokes says :

    I like the idea of students bringing their own devices. Our division does allow students to use their own devices, but I do caution you that one of the most important things to start out with is the criteria for their use. Students need to know where they stand and what is and is not appropriate.
    With limited budgets having students supply the technology is definitely a cost savings for the school, but then it does lead to the problem of equity. How can we make sure that all students have access to technology. Not everyone has or can afford these devices. I know these are the questions we are facing and still trying to find the solutions to.

    Pat

  3. Dan Rawlyk says :

    Yes. More devices would be good. In our school division we are in the process of revising out entire acceptable network policy for students and staff. Staff can pose as much of a security risk if smartphones or flash drives without encryption are stolen or lost — backdoors into district servers. Our district grew by 7% last year which was 500 more bright faces in a district of 7000–we received 5 portables. Even if we had the cash for devices, we don’t really have room for conventional ones. If we go wireless, we need to improve access points. Most of the students do not pose a problem, the ones that do already cause issues with school devices. We need to continue to be vigilant, and proactive with our policies and classroom expectations. The days of the school controlling all of the information and the means to retrieve it are over. Play around with possibilities in your 20-3 class and as you said, “forgiveness is easier to get than permission”. Keep your deviance in the gray zone, not black when white is the norm.

    • Krista Francis-Poscente says :

      Maybe the students who are already causing a problem would be less of a problem if they had better access. Perhaps they are just trying to solve an access problem

  4. Greg Luterbach says :

    Hi Karen

    Go for it! Does your district have a calculator policy? Probably not, they are just devices we expect students to access and leverage to support their learning within the bounds set by the teacher. Tablets, smartphones, etc are really just fancy calculators… if it is okay to use the calculator without a policy it must be okay to use these too. 😉

    Good for you for taking the risk and allowing students the opportunity to learn in multiple modes. Ask your principal, department head, parents group, Director/Superintendent for even 5 devices to support those students without their own devices.

    Most of all… just try it. Allow, encourage, support, enable kids to bring whatever they have that will help them learn.

    Greg

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