Teaching in “desktop” computing environments highlighted my early teaching career that included static workstations that looked very similar to classrooms of my own generation. This far too familiar environment provided the internal motivation I needed to learn new trends and ways of teaching in my classroom.
A good amount of time was spent researching the steady shift that was occurring towards bring your own device (BOYD) in many educational districts across Canada and the United States. My chance for change occurred after accepting a new teaching assignment at Tecumseh Vista Academy, the first K to 12 school built in the Greater Essex County District School Board.
I decided to change my teaching philosophy after discovering the enormous benefits of mobile technology used at the point of instruction in a modular K to 12 school. This design provides a multitude of learning spaces to accommodate this new trend including the use of open, learning, and collaborative spaces., I also wanted to stay more “true to the lesson” by using technology as a tool that must be used in service of the lesson. In other words, technology cannot replace great teaching, no matter how effective technology is.
Several respected colleagues and administrators have been instrumental in focusing my thought process on how technology should be used in the classroom. Using effective pedagogy that is not device or platform specific really helps to influence the rise of BOYD in the classroom of today. “Teachers need to shift from learning a tool and then developing lesson to fit the tool” a superintendent of education recently told me.
The years of advocating mobile technology has been an exciting challenge while trying to develop best practices with staff and students alike. I was honoured to have my story published in two recent articles titled “Don’t put that smart phone away; Tecumseh teacher turns tech and wins award” and “Ontario Class Uses BYOD for Project-Based Learning” by the Windsor Star and The Journal respectively. Both articles discuss my passion for using BOYD to extend learning outside the traditional classroom along with my entry into the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program.
My next step is to further investigate how Office 365 can facilitate collaboration, document sharing, and site blogging. Better utilization of OneNote as a teaching tool is certainly on my radar.