Mal Lee and Martin Levins
It is increasingly apparent that BYOT is but a phase, albeit a critical phase in both the evolution of schooling and the quest by schools to normalise the whole school use of the digital technology.
In writing Bring Your Own Technology (Lee and Levins, 2012) Martin and I stressed at the outset that BYOT was first and foremost an educational development, and most assuredly not simply a technological development to be left to the technology team. It was a development that would impact every facet of the school’s operations.
Since making that observation and conducting further research with the pathfinder schools in the UK, US, NZ and Australia its significance has continued to grow and today we would posit that until schools are ready and willing to embrace the educational principles underpinning BYOT the school’s overall evolution will be stalled and it will likely be unable to move to the Digital Normalisation evolutionary stage and beyond.
What is now strikingly evident in the pathfinders is that when all the children naturally use their own choice of digital technologies in the classroom, and normalise its use the term BYOT disappears from the vernacular and the school’s evolution continues at pace with the new normality. The school is now able to build upon the every child having in their hand, from a very early age an increasingly powerful and sophisticated ever evolving suite of digital technologies that they can use in their learning and teaching anywhere, anytime 24/7/365.
It was with that thought in mind that Martin and I have decided to phase out the separate BYOT blog at – www.byot.me – to move the key past posts on the School Evolutionary Stages blog at – www.schoolevolutionarystages.net – and in future to address BYOT in the context of the quest to normalise the use of the digital in all facets of schooling and to further the school’s evolution.
Just to remind you Lee and Levin’s defined BYOT as
Bring your own technology (BYOT) is an educational development and a supplementary school technology resourcing model where the home and the school collaborate in arranging for the young’s 24/7/365 use of their own digital technology/ies to be extended into the classroom to assist their teaching and learning and the organisation of their schooling and where relevant the complementary education outside the classroom (Lee and Levins, 2012, p11).
BYOT is based on a philosophy of distributed control of the teaching and learning process – a model that sees the teachers working in collaboration with the students and the parents in the 24/7/365 teaching of the young. It recognises the parents, increasingly the young and the school all play a vital part in that education and that the best way forward in a digital and networked world is for all parties to work together, to genuinely collaborate, both with the teaching and the provision of the technology.
BYOT is based on trust in and respect for the learner, the desire to better individualize the learning and the educational belief that the job of schools is to assist each young person gradually take control of their own learning.
BYOT also recognises the current reality in society is that in the 80% of the children’s learning outside the school walls the young from the pre primary years choose, learn to use, care for, maintain and update their own suite of digital technologies when they choose and use that technology everywhere but the classroom. Vitally their parents trust them to use that technology responsibly unfettered.
It is vitally an educational philosophy where the school remains its control and actively encourages the young, their parents and grandparents to normalise the use of the ever evolving digital technologies and to use it astutely in their holistic education for the rest of their lives.
In contrast both 1:1 computing and BYOD (bring your own device) are approaches to the use of the digital that are based on distrust of the young and their parents, and the belief that that school and its ‘ICT experts’ have to unilaterally control every facet of the young’s use of the digital within the school walls. Only the experts within the school know which technology is best for each child, and only the school knows how to best to use it in the teaching.
They conveniently forget that the school controls less than 20% of the children’s learning time each year, that the young of the world have long normalised the use of the digital in their out of school learning and teaching and that no school employing a 1:1 computing or a BYOD approach has ever normalised the whole school use of the digital.
They also conveniently overlook the reality that the young of the developed world have their own ever evolving suite of digital technologies, not only chosen to meet their particular needs but invariably which are more powerful and functional compared to the one size fits all technology specified by the school, and that the school is requiring families to provide school specified technology for BYOD are duplicating and wasting technology.
In brief BYOT recognises the reality and the rapidly evolving reality of the real world where the digital has long been normalised while BYOD is a short – term rear guard action by the school to retain an insular, unilaterally controlled mode of schooling.