So. Are you an Apple Fanatic or more of a Windows lover? Or perhaps you’re happy to stand by a Chromebook and sing it’s praises? Then we have Google and Adobe and all their app offerings? There are then also an abundance of netbooks and other random laptop and desktop devices that schools are happy to swear by. At the end of the day, which is it or you?
There is always discussion and debate around what digital tools and technology is best and what devices and tools are ‘better’, what ever that means, at promoting student learning.
I am finding and seeing lately that educators in all settings are being pigeon holed and or railroaded into using specific digital tools to support students in their quest for knowledge.
Now those who know me will be the first to say that I have come from a setting that was an ‘Apple Mac’ school, Apple Distinguished even, and that all 1800 students were asked to provide themselves with an Apple device under a College wide BYOD framework. This I can say worked. And worked extremely well.
My current setting does things a little differently and without going into details we have the majority of our year 3 – 8 students with iPad devices. There are other devices thrown into the mix such as Lenovo Yoga Windows 8 devices and stand alone desktops. It is when students head to the senior campus that we then have an ‘open door’ policy allowing students to utilise just about any device to support their learning. A true BYOD framework.
Now this in itself has many challenges, of which I am not going to go into right now, however from what I have seen, and for those students who have a device, the more varied devices the merrier. Students will select a device for their needs based on a great deal of reasons, all of which are specific to them as an individual. As teachers we are not bound by the type of devices we use. Nor would there many people I would argue that are told they can only use on specific devices in their workplaces. Dare I say I have been to Australian Google HQ in Sydney and noticed that not all their employees were working away on Chromebooks.
Ritchie Lambert in his blog post “Which digital device is best for education?” says “ The only mistake you can make is believing that one device can be chosen that will be the everything you need.” I’d have to agree. Completely.
At the end of the day it comes down to students having access to multiple technologies that play their part for the role that is intended. Granted, some devices do more than others, however we all need to recognise that there is no ‘one size fits all’. I doubt that there’ll ever be. This is why it is important that educators do not get railroaded and or pigeon holed in using singular technologies. By all means learn about and love what you use most, but do not let that become your sole answer to technology use and integration with your students.
We need to take the best of each, merge them, and smash teaching and learning out of the park.