The story of BYOT so far
From the beginning of the new academic year, August 2015, AIS is adopting a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) policy. This means that all students in AIS High School will be required to bring their own technology to school. We now have a fully serviced Wi-Fi network across our campus and authorized persons can log into our network on any wifi-enabled device. This allows students to have constant access to the Internet on their own personal devices as required throughout each lesson and wherever they are on campus.
In fact, students using their own technology is nothing new in high school. For the past three years we have seen an increasing number of students bringing their own devices to school. They have used their own technology to take notes in class and organize their work. They have also used their own devices during recess, lunchtime and after school to complete tasks. The number of students accessing technology continues to grow, particularly in our high school where students are more independent and resourceful in managing their own learning. From the conversations we have had, the learning benefits for students owning and using their own mobile technology in school are clearly evident.
Why do our students need to bring their own device to school?
A few years ago, students were forbidden from having a cell phone in the classroom. Now, educational research actively encourages students and teachers to make full use of technology in order to promote better learning. By using technology in new ways, our students and teachers are transforming classrooms into highly sophisticated digital learning environments. Traditionally our classrooms were places where students were expected to sit quietly in rows, with their textbooks in front of them, listening to the teacher talk. Today we want our students and teachers to work collaboratively, using technology to construct knowledge, and building the essential skills needed for the 21st century. Where before students used to hide their cell phones, today we see them bringing their own technology to school, using it in class to take photos of slides being used in a lesson, storing their homework assignments, even videoing a lab or presentation, so that they can watch it later and check their understanding. Technology is no longer a futuristic learning approach. It is rapidly changing the way students learn today, and as educators it is our responsibility to give our students and teachers the resources, training and opportunities that 21st century education demands.
In this new type of learning environment students can instantly research information and access materials and resources, create videos and capture sound recordings. They can present information through a variety of media formats, collaborate on editing documents, even communicate with a worldwide audience of like-minded learners. There are countless ways in which technology helps to stimulate learning and develop real-world applicable skills that will benefit students outside the classroom and our school. A technology-rich environment is dynamic and encourages a student-centered classroom different from the one most of us experienced in the past.
Additionally, this year, as our school Wi-Fi network developed, we pioneered the BYOT system in several different high school classes. These students, with their respective teachers and under the guidance and support of Mr. Chiu, our new Education Technology Coordinator, have been piloting this process and troubleshooting any difficulties, and helping us monitor the effectiveness of our wifi network around campus. It has become very clear that our BYOT system will present many benefits for teaching and learning across the high school at AIS.
We have carefully reviewed our systems, and have been working with our teachers to consider and realise the benefits of tech integration in our classes.