Thursday, October 01, 2015

BYOD if you dare

Some observations related to the state of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in School District 57:

1. Since a series of cuts began in 2010, our school district has seen a reduction in:
  • technology leadership (district tech team, tech coaches, key tech contacts, tech innovation grants, tech coordination, etc.)
  • technology options available to teachers (single platform, lack of teacher-directed customization, purchasing restrictions, wifi restrictions, banned devices)
  • school technology budgets (ours is half what it used to be)
  • communication about technology (for example, many of the "decrees" that guide technology decisions can't be found in print)
2. We have not had a "tech plan" since 2005, although in 2011 there was a district meeting in which we learned that cloud computing, support for mobile learning, and BYOD would be the new normal, and a way to address shrinking budgets and "21st Century Learning."

3. We have lots of talented tech analysts who are quick to respond to tech issues, who are experts with networks, and who are able to balance security, stability, and function.

4. We have, in the last two years, had surveys and meetings about renewing technology leadership and support for BYOD & mobile devices.

5. The BCEdplan and various Ministry documents suggest that the internet, not texts or traditional learning resources, will be the main source for curricular material.

Given the above, and that we are well into the 21st Century, is it unreasonable to expect that teachers should be able to access stable wifi on a BYOD in order to a) teach using the internet, and b) print?

This functionality is spotty in our school district, but is available in most public institutions and corporate environments, as well as other school districts. As one of my colleagues puts it, "I get better wifi on a greyhound bus than I do at my school." I would encourage those who are still connected to the decision-making processes around district technology to raise this item up a few notches on the priority list. Our wifi, to put it lightly, has lots of room for improvement.