BYOD means Bring Your Own Devices. From a teacher point of view, BYOD means that you have to deal with any kind of devices, with any kind of restrictions such as parental control active – or not.
First year was iPads only. It was easy!
Last year, all my students had an iPad provided by the school. We was using many apps, I paid for some of them. The experience was easy because the instructions was the same for all the students: Go to App Store and download.
The only challenge was to share an URL without losing my student’s focus. After a few months, I was using less and less Safari and more and more apps. I found my students more focus when in an app. With Safari, it was a little more anarchic: some students was on Facebook when I was expecting them to be on Wikipedia or other.
BYOD because of broken iPads
This year was another story. My school decided to go BYOD for a good reason: many iPads was broken after one year of use. When the students own the devices, we don’t expect this to happen. And when it happen, the school will not absorb the cost.
A good economic decision, but a solid new challenge in the classroom.
First day BYOD
First day BYOD was for me a challenge, because if I am familiar with my Mac and my iPad, I never used an Android or Windows device.
Classroom Browser is a way for me to share the exact same digital experience with my students – as I was doing previously in an iPad only situation.
To did the following steps to get started:
- I downloaded Classroom Browser and created my classroom (nothing more than naming the classroom)
- I asked all my students to download and install the Classroom Browser Student from classroom-browser.com
- It was easy to install on Android and iPad, but more challenging on Windows and Mac. However, I was said by EXO U that the install procedure will be simplified when the app will be available in all the stores, and not via manual downloads (Mac and Windows)
- I opened my classroom to view the PIN number and gave it to my students.
A winning formula for my students and for myself
I had to change my habits, to abandon my main source of content and activities – the App Store.
I prepared my lessons consequently, focusing exclusively on web resources.
Some problem I already had was even more problematic in a BYOD situation:
- It takes time for everyone to join an URL. I always have at least one children not at the good place.
- Some of my students had parental control active. No Internet browser for them.
- I found that my students are more distracted when typing a web link than searching in App Store or opening an app.
I started using Classroom Browser a few weeks ago to share my web links live in the classroom.
My issues was solved:
- Classroom Browser allows me to share the web page I am currently visiting. When I have shared, I ask my students to follow me. They have one click or touch to open the web page. I found this feature efficient because I don’t have to wait for my students to be ready. I share my link and then say “When you are ready you can follow me”
- Classroom Browser Student works with parental control active – all the pages I shared could be seen on the devices with parental control active.
- My students are not distracted because they are at one click from the next page. They don’t have the temptation to go elsewhere as they don’t have an URL bar.
As sharing is now more fun than a constraint, the number of web links I share in a single day just exploded. As a result, my lessons are more dynamic and I feel my students more engaged. The interaction have increased as well as the number of topics we can talk about.
Here are some examples of situations where sharing a web links makes a big difference.
- Before and after a topic, I send a quick quiz to understand where we are. I use the default app in Classroom Browser.
- When I feel an interest for a word or a topic, I do a quick search in Wikipedia and share the result. The students read and follow a couple of links before we talk more about it altogether.
- When we talk about a specific location, I share a map and I wait for my students to discover it, and the surrounding.
- When I feel some stress or difficulties to focus, I share a game or an interactive activity.
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