BYOD and Personalisation

phoneTechnology has become more and more personalised to the individual user, since the early days when personal computers were introduced.   Back then there was little in the way of personalisation.   Some years later we started seeing users accounts on personal computers, desktop wallpapers and the ability to change icons, however personalisation was still limited.   Now with so many people having their own mobile phone which is personal to them, and not used by others, devices have became personal, and this personalisation has reached out beyond just phones, into the world of the tablet computer and even the humble laptop.     Devices now are configured with the applications you want, laid out in the way you want and set up with your user account details already pre-entered.   But what does this mean for education and schools?

Consider the situation where a teacher shares a resource with students via a blog or a website, or via google drive or some other method.    The student accesses this resource using their browser of choice.    Should they find it useful they automatically bookmark it for later use, or if the relevance is to their studies is very clear they may instantly drop the resource into google drive.   Having done so the student realises that their friend is off ill, so they share the item via google drive with them, sending an email, using their mail client of choice, to their friend to let them know about the lesson and the shared file.   A thought then strikes the student about something similar they have recently read online so they look through their browser history to find the material, before tweeting the URL to the class group so that they too can consider this in their studies.

The above example shows personalisation at work.    The device is the students own device and therefore has the applications they use already setup with the appropriate account details already entered.   As such the student can seamlessly move between applications, sharing, collaborating, researching, creating and more.

As a teacher I find myself doing the same.    I find a useful tweet and I retweet it, and I might email myself the link for later reference.   If it is appropriate to what I am doing or to what my colleagues are doing, I may share it with others via google drive.    If it is an image I may make use of pinterest for sharing or I might include it in a prezi or share it via slideshare.   I move between my chosen applications quickly and easily.

So the question is can we as teachers in the current technological world continue to prevent students from bringing their own devices into the class or should we embrace personalisation and endeavour to reap the benefits which it may present?

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the Middle East. In addition Gary is a Google and Microsoft Certified Educator.

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