We Didn’t all Learn to Drive in the Same Car.

We Didn't all Learn to Drive in the Same Car.
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BYOD is cool in my books. The problem arises when we focus solely on the app or device. That is to say I used to live by the best app first, then the curriculum. I’ve grown over the years and realize the curriculum task determines the app – or apps to use – and not vice versa.

Why, as educators, do we keep buying bulk sets of the same tool? Sure our students will be Apple experts but let’s not forget the fair share Google has in the Android world.

We didn’t all learn to drive in the same car. Just like the piano isn’t the only tool for music.

Here is just another reason why I love twitter:

So, my question becomes “why do we purchase all of the same” ? I understand “bids” and “contracts” for corporate worlds, but we never used to tell our students which pens or pencils they had to use.

We seem to be about inquiry these days. Do you let students inquire about tools and apps? Do you tell them what app to use? Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple. But I also love Android.

And what about those students less fortunate? BYOD in many schools leads to students receiving affordable devices – which are never Apple. Does their device become an internet machine?

I have no answers to these questions. My twitter conversation has me thinking about them. Any insight from others is appreciated.


Piano image courtesy of: https://westallhead.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/back-of-the-queue-piano/

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10 Responses for this post

  1. Michelle
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    My only tiff in opposition is that it’s nice to work within and ecosystem. I think continuity in the device reduces some of the noise and intellectual drag that happens when workflow starts to overwhelm the teachjng and learning. Switching devices and lack of continuity can mean spending time hunting for buttons rather than worrying about the big ideas. Also, devices and their broader ecosystems do have slightly sofferent affordances. I think brand agnostic thing is cool, but balance is key. I have heard of some schools purposely going to Chromebooks from ipads for the variety. That’s not the point either. But, sometimes it is easier to debate the colour of the shed and the brand of the device as a way to procrastinate the larger challenge which you acknowledge so nicely in your post. It’s about thinking and learning … Let’s get on with that. Another gem Aspinall. Brill:)

  2. Magdalena
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    Interesting question. For me it would be the practicality of it. As Michelle pointed out, there is usually one teacher to facilitate the learning of 20+ students so trying to troubleshoot technical problems between the different devices is a bit of a waste of time. To build on your analogy, we learn to drive in different cars, but it’s one instructor per student, which makes a big difference. Good point about student devices that are other than the ones provided by the school. I guess having most students on the same device reduces the number of students who might need help figuring out technical issues with different devices.

  3. Sharon Drummond
    Sharon Drummond
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    Michelle has nicely articulated part of what I wanted to say, so I won’t go down that road again. I will add that when considering what will work across a large system, we have to keep in mind the people who have not yet begun to embed technology into their practice. The “hunting for buttons” becomes an overwhelming barrier for those who aren’t yet comfortable with mobile technology. While I do think that BYOD is the ultimate answer, I see common devices as a stepping stone to that destination. I think that people who are comfortable with multiple devices should encourage kids to bring in the device that works best for them and for the task at hand. I’m thankful that our board is both implementing 1-1 programs AND allowing teachers who are more comfortable the freedom to use BYOD.

  4. Brian
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    Count me as one who has banged the ‘hardware independent’ drum as loud and as hard as I could. In an ideal world it wouldn’t matter what device someone brings in, just being able to connect would be enough. But I’ve slowly come to realise that this drive towards sameness is a hindrance in most cases. I liked @alishateaches analogy of the ‘how’ being more important than the what. It is definitely more in line with what I practice now.

    I think the biggest step forward in learning that my board took this year was switching our student goal from ‘Every Student will improve the ability to communicate their thinking in writing’ to ‘Every Student will improve the ability to communicate their thinking’. Dropping the ‘in writing’ portion tells me that the board is really embracing the idea that we use many means to arrive at an end, and gives me the go ahead to allow my students to dig deeply into their own toolbox.

  5. Andrew Forgrave
    Andrew Forgrave
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    Back in the day, folks learned in the family car from a family member, or possibly with a relative or family friend. We did not learn to drive using the same car! We learned with whatever was available (standard or automatic, compact or truck), and hopefully, over time, we all learned to obey the same rules of the road as everyone else so that we could all get along and avoid collisions and such.

    Along the way however, things like Drivers’ Ed came along, with third-party instructors. It became less likely that you would receive instruction in the family vehicle, and more likely in a standardized fleet vehicle that might be donated by a local dealership. The choice of vehicle maybe became more a result of relationships between company running course and those providing the vehicles, and not necessarily a choice of either the student driver OR the driving instructor. In support of reduced insurance premiums for new drivers, more standardized curricula was developed so that there would be even more harmony on the highways once everyone “got off the course and out onto the real road.” I’m sure that in some instances, the choice of vehicles was influenced by the most prevalent brand around — “this is what everyone around here drives anyway, so let’s get our kids off on the right foot by teaching them to drive it …”

    Sure, you can still learn from a devoted family member, and the family car can still be an option. Just be sure that the vehicle isn’t too discrepant with the other things out there on the road (right hand drive, silent electric, funky three wheeler) or it might be difficult for the instructor or the examiner to see their way clear to let you learn with it. After all, they have standards to adhere to, and you don’t want to make their life difficult.


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