How would I prepare to teach a BYOD class?

7/24/2011 12:59:00 pm

I've been thinking and reading about what it would be like to teach a (math) class in a school with a Bring Your Own Device policy.

Apple mobile devices / Kenneth / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

My answer: "My class will teach the world what they learn with me. Everything will be accessible online and on a mobile device."

Here's what I would set up:

1. A class blog to tell the learning narrative of the class. It will also serve as assignment distribution hub and reflection archive; the kids will blog. A distinguishing feature of a blog over a wiki is that everything is time and date stamped. It preserves a narrative over time and easily shows growth. Also, with a well thought out tagging scheme, the content can be flexibly reorganized on the fly to show the learning narrative of an individual student or the class as a whole across a unit of study or the entire course.

2. Create a "Hand-It-In" form in Google Docs for each class. The form will include entries for Name, Assignment (from a popup list to ensure consistently), link to [Gdoc, wiki, blog, flickr page, whatever], student assessment based on co-created rubric. That last entry is really important to me. I want the students to  be reflective learners but I also want them to have clear targets so they know what excellence looks like. This also creates a bit of push-back for me to always ensure the students know the assessment criteria before they complete each assignment. They will also know how those criteria will be applied because they had a part in their design.

3. We'll use a group texting mobile app/service, like a closed twitter network, for ongoing communication and peer support such as GroupMe or Swaggle or Grouped{in} (iOS app). Please let me know if you know of other alternatives. I'm not sure which of these would be the best service to use in class. I like that Swaggle limits the number of txts the group can send in each 10 min period. I foresee conversations that are more focused with less "LOL" "OMG" and "ha!" replies although I would encourage "tnx". I would really enjoy the class conversations we'd have as we work together to figure out the best way to do this.

4. I'll set up a group posterous to aggregate SGC (student generated content). (I've done this before for teacher workshops.) This space can also be used to Hand-in work, and share resources w the class. A few nice things about posterous: It just works. Everything you email to posterous as an attachment (photo, video, document, PowerPoint, whatever) is automatically displayed interactively on the site and all the content can be downloaded/remixed at will. It might be a good place for students to collect and share digital artifacts created while learning or working together on projects.

5. I'd also want to have a tagging protocol like I do on my class blogs. We'd use the same protocol on all our digital work wherever it may be: posterous, flickr, wikis, project blogs, etc.

6. I'll create a Diigo group to aggregate links and create ad hoc discussion groups (teacher or student initiated). We'll also aggregate links that respect the class tagging protocol here. Everything on Diigo has RSS feeds so I can move the content around any way I like. I'll likely have windows to the group discussions and link archive on the class blog. In the past I've done something close to this using delicious but delicious doesn't have the group discussion feature built in.

7. Each student will need a flickr account. With younger kids I'd buy a flickr Pro account (about $25/year) and we'd all share the one account. They'll need this for their flickr assignments. I want to use flickr more with students; work more on thinking visual. I've seen some awesome riffs on my idea in other subject areas.

8. We'll need a wiki for our Wiki Solutions Manual. I imagine a wiki or Google site will likely come in handy in many ways for students to collaborate.. Create it and skin it with visuals that identify each class. Ill ask the students to create the images themselves. Past classes have created a mascot like the one on this class blog (top right corner.)

9. I'll want certain apps to be on all their phones, iTouches or tablets; it's easy to find laptop equivalents of all of these. I want this list to be short. I'm not sure yet how this will play out but it'll be fun figuring it out together. One thing I do know for certain is that I'd like the class to make their own student authoured multimedia etext for the course in ePub format. It's dead simple with Pages.

Create Instructional Videos
iMovie ($5) or vimeo (free) app
[laptop equivalents: iMovie, MovieMaker, or jaycut (online alternative, but RIM just bought them out)]

Create Audio Summaries or Instructional Content podcasting apps: ipadio, audioboo, cinch, recorder & editor (99¢)
[laptop equivalents: audacity or garageband]

Create & Publish Multimedia docs ePub (register each class in iTunes, put a subscription link on each class blog, wiki, etc.)
[laptop equivalents and more info about the ePub format]

NB: Every time you see the word "create" I mean the kids do it, not the teacher

I'll also want each student to have the following apps; I want this to be a short focused list:
Dropbox
Evernote
Wikipedia
my6sense
iBooks (or other ePub reader)
Google (Search, YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Docs, Reader, maybe G+)
SonicPicsLite (there are some digital storytelling ideas I want to play with)

I've left out some math specific apps. I'll share that in a future post.

10. The classroom routine will include a different student each week (maybe 2/wk) publishing to the blog and/or sharing in class "My favourite app for this class is ..."

Bonus: Who's going to design the "class app"? We might use Bloapp.


Did I miss anything or do you think this is all too much?
Hand drawn icons by Aleksandra Wolska

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