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  • Writer's pictureAdam E. Rowland

BYOD & Digital Storytelling: Reflection


Objectives: After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Justify uses of mobile devices for personal and educational purposes.

  • Explain personalized curriculum utilizing BYODs.

  • Integrate digital tools for the assessment modality.

 

In Module 7 of a doctorate-level course on technology integration and social media, two main topics were presented: policies regarding bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and rubric-based projects involving digital storytelling. The discussion for the week involved the value and current state of BYOD in public schools, and the culminating assignment required the creation of a lesson plan for students to demonstrate mastery of digital storytelling.


It was roughly 10 years ago when my site first leveraged students' personal devices for learning; the district in which I teach had limited funds for hardware to ensure each student was given access to a device for digital learning. I was a big fan of this movement, and while cell phones were fairly ubiquitous among middle school students, teachers still had obstacles as far as one-to-one implementation. I recall using programs such as Socrative to review vocabulary, as this program worked well in cooperative learning situations (one student could share his or her device with peers in competitive ways.) Recently, however, voters in my district successfully passed a bond that directed funds toward upgrading technology, ensuring schools had more computers, wireless laptops, and upgraded infrastructure (greater internet bandwidth and speeds). As the popularity of cell phones and social media increased, however, there was a noticeable difference in student behavior: bullying and in-class distractibility increased, and face-to-face interactions decreased. It became clear BYOD was no longer necessary to ensure effective and innovative technology integration.


As campus-wide computer access increased, the availability of Web 2.0 technologies supportive of creativity and collaboration spread among teachers and students. In classroom instruction wherein PowerPoint and Google Slides were the popular presentation tools, new programs such as Prezi and PowToon emerged, allowing students to creatively present material with animated images, audio, and customizable templates. While cell phones and other personal devices (such as personal laptops or Chromebooks) would allow students to gather materials for presentations, including digital storytelling projects, they are no longer necessary; most classrooms on my campus have full laptop carts, and there are several computer labs available on campus for students to engage with technology. At home, however, students may be limited to their cell phones or small personal devices, and the aforementioned Web 2.0 tools are accessible using accompanying apps or through full-site versions of the software.


Digital storytelling is highly effective in allowing students to compile relevant information and demonstrate mastery of concepts in virtually any class, provided an effective rubric is created with relevant criteria to assess learning. PowToon was used in this Module's assignment to demonstrate how students can easily demonstrate their understanding of narrative story elements using a rubric for both guidance and evaluation of their product. Should teachers be desirous of creating a flipped classroom opportunity for digital storytelling assessments, home assignments using cell phones could involve students gathering audio files, video files, or images to transfer once they are in the classroom. An effective, cross-platform means by which students can wirelessly transfer files from phone to computer is known as "Send-Anywhere", and it quickly transfers full files for free.

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