BYOD vs 1:1 – What do you consider in making the decision?


This is a question I’m pondering more and more at the moment… what is the best device for educational implementation?  But today, I thought a little deeper and took it down into the level of, what is the ideal format for device implementation pedagogically?  BYOD or a 1:1 program?  I know that digital pedagogy involves a lot of scaffolding, but would it if students were able to BYOD, a device they were more familiar and comfortable with? Should the ideal mode of implementation take into consideration things like the Quality Teaching Model?  Productive pedagogies?  Effective instructional design?  These questions only give way to more and more questions, however, I would like to say that from my experience, I am leaning more towards BYOD now because personal learning through digital technology should be facilitated through a device of personal choice.

When I started uni, the NSW Quality Teaching Model (QTM, 2003) had just been delivered and I was spoon-fed portions of it for my full four years at Newcastle Uni, and by the authors themselves as well.  I still refer to it now on many occasions and when I started thinking about BYOD vs 1:1 it came to mind again.  The three core elements of the QTM are intellectual quality, quality learning environment and significance and these are foundational aspects of the pedagogy in all educational institutions, whether referring to the QTM or not.  It is the 18 sub-elements within these three categories, I feel, that would inform and assist me in making the decision about BYOD and 1:1.

Essentially, the elements underneath both intellectual quality and quality learning environment are supported by both BYOD and 1:1, however, it is when I get to the significance element that I start leaning towards BYOD, let me explain why.  Significance is an element underpinned by these sub-elements: background knowledge, cultural knowledge, knowledge integration, inclusivity, connectedness and narrative.  If a students’ background knowledge and cultural knowledge are to be considered in creating new learning experiences, would it not seem right to take into consideration that they may not have experience with the device you choose for a 1:1 program and therefore not have the necessary background or cultural knowledge needed to competently take it up as a learning tool?
The digital revolution is a cultural shift, its perhaps not often thought of when we think of the cultures in educational settings today, however, the “digital natives” have created their own culture of LOLs and selfies that need to be engaged with sometimes.  Students are attached to their device in a “culturally ritualistic” and significant way and disentangling them from these under any circumstance can prove very detrimental.  I don’t have any hard facts or research stats to support this right now, I am merely making observations and conclusions based on the context I work in, but I believe I’ve seen evidence that would suggest that if you try and change this culture of who their “learning buddy” (their device) is by dictating a particular one, then their is a loss of confidence in learning that wasn’t there before.  If we don’t let student pick the device they use for their learning, are we being culturally ignorant?

However, then I came across this post: “Are BYOD programs simply an excuse not to fully invest in 1:1?“, and was forced to think of it another way.  Are BYOD programs just a lack of commitment and laziness on the part of educational institutes?  I personally think not, but someone thought it.  If you read the comments on the post mentioned above, it is interesting how the world of business comes into play as well.

I’ll leave you with this video as a final thought… what do you think is the right decision for all?



SAMR Model explained

I’ve been trying to think up ways to get the SAMR Model out to my colleagues more and help them start thinking more about how they are using the iPad in the classroom.  It isn’t about using the iPad to replace traditional tasks and activities with a digital way of doing things but to me its about extending the opportunities students have to demonstrate higher order thinking skills in the reproduction of what they have been learning.  Yesterday in my music class, I was teaching programme music to Year 7 and I could have easily given them a well-rounded and precise definition of what programmatic music is, however, I didn’t.  What I did do was recap what they knew about instruments of the orchestra from a recent excursion and then introduce the topic of programme music.  I then asked them to use their iPad to research and discover what programmatic music is and create a visual poster or other representation that told me and the other students in the class what they had discovered and determined was the meaning.  They demonstrated creativity and a great understanding of the topic, in approximately 10 minutes, and then we moved onto exploring it in practice with a viewing of Peter and the Wolf on YouTube.

Well, back to the SAMR Model, I created this infographic and have displayed it in the staffroom and have put up my own examples so far, but hoping to prompt more thought on how the achieve modification and redefinition even more over the rest of the year.

Click on image to view in presentation mode.

Click on image to view in presentation mode.

SAMR Model – not just about technology integration

I’ve reflected often on the SAMR model over the last 18 months and even more so in the lead up to going 1-1 with iPads at school.  It’s a model that informs practice in delivering teaching and learning experiences that are ultimately completely redefined by the integration of technology.  However, I’ve come to think that it is more than that, it’s a tool for guiding to movement of all teaching and learning experiences from utilising older ways of doing things and pedagogy of the past, towards 21st century, higher order pedagogies and strategies.  I’ve written before about the SAMR Model before (in SAMR Model and the Rigor/Relevance Framework, as well as, Redefining the task with technology) and what it is but what I want to reflect more on now is its application to all types of curriculum planning as I critically reflect on my own technology integration and programming for 21st century learning outcomes to be achieved.  Here’s an appropriate refresher video below:


To me its like this:

Substitution – Instead of the teacher standing in front of a class and talking a lot at the students, they are given sheets of information to read about the same topic.

Augmentation – Teachers talk about a topic and get students to answer some questions about it, both verbally and in written form.

Modification – Students are given information on a particular topic but instead of simply answering questions they have to produce a new product that demonstrates what they have learned.  It could be anything from an essay to a video.

Redefinition – Students are given a problem or a broad, open-ended question and are required to enter into collaborative inquiry that explores the problem/question until enough information can be learned to solve it and produce a solution, explanation and product.  Essentially, redefinition is like a PBL project.

In short, the modification and redefinition stages, which we should always aim for, is about giving more control over to students (which hasn’t been very much the norm until the latter part of the 20th century and 21st century) and making teaching and learning experiences as higher order as possible.  Student self-regulation and self-direction are common in these stages I believe.

I found a particularly good blog post too that seems to have similar ideas to this on the SAMR Model called In Response to “Redefinition”.  Some more to ponder as I think about the SAMR Model further…

Redefining the task with technology – an evaluation tool

In an attempt to design a tool that will act as a guide for my colleagues to know where they should try to pitch their tasks and activities when integrating technology, I created the matrix below.  The matrix is a combination of the SAMR Model, the Rigor and Relevance Framework and Bloom’s Taxonomy.  When we utilise technology, we don’t always think intentionally about making the best use of the technology and a task receives little if any changes in its design and the technology is used more or less for the sake of it.  It is my strong belief that we should utilise technology to enhance the learning opportunities and outcomes that students can achieve from completing a task, and in order to do this effectively, task redesign is essential. We often position ourselves in the top left hand corner, of the matrix below, with simply using technology to do what we usually do without it.  However, where we want to be is in the bottom right hand quadrant, facilitating higher order thinking and critical thinking with complete task redesign that makes use of all that technology offers.

The SAMR Model, Rigor and Relevance Framework as well as Bloom's Taxonomy.

The SAMR Model, Rigor and Relevance Framework as well as Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I will need to continue working on this tool and I will experiment with how it is presented but my ultimate aim is to provide staff with something that will assist them to make informed and intentional decisions about how and why they integrate technology into a lesson.

What is learning anyway?

I’m the Leader of Learning Technology, and as our journey with 1-1 iPads continues and I plan for the long-term sustainability and development of the program I have been reading up on various things.  One book I am currently reading is Technology Together: Whole-School Professional Development for Capability and Confidence by Renata Phelps and Anne Graham.

Technology Together is a process for developing a whole-school approach to to professional development with ICT.  The book is a fantastic read and I have been getting a lot out of it.  I really want to lead the school in being visionary, competent and risk-taking when they implement and integrate technology.  Chalkboards and whiteboards were once considered ‘technology’ in that they were new and facilitated a different mode of teaching and learning from previous tools utilised.  Whilst 21st technology progresses at a much faster pace, I would love to ultimately see technology such as the iPad, be integrated into the classroom in much the same smooth and seamless way.

Educational leadership cover imageOver the weekend, I was also sent some professional reading to complete for a discussion amongst leaders at school today and it proved to help elaborate and shed light on these issues from another angle.  The article I read was ‘Students First, Not Stuff’ by Will Richardson, from the March, 2013 edition of Educational Leadership.  I loved the article, it was an honest take on how teaching and learning is and always should be about the students, not the tools or the technology.

Some of the other points that were made in the article that really resonated with me were:

“Right now, we should be asking ourselves not just how to do school better, but how to do it decidedly different… Learning is now truly participatory in real-world contexts… But it’s not about the tools.  It’s not about layering expensive technology on top of the traditional curriculum.  Instead, it’s about addressing the new needs of modern learners in entirely new ways.  And once we understand that it’s about learning, our questions reframe themselves in terms of the ecological shifts we need to make: What do we mean by learning?” (p. 12)

So this brings me around to what I’ve been asking myself for many days now: How can I lead my colleagues in integrating technology without focusing too much on the technology but on the teaching and learning?  What does 21st century learning look like at its core? How can staff develop ICT capabilities and become self-directed and motivated to do so? These are questions I really do believe Technology Together will assist in doing.


Graham, A & Phelps, R 2013, Technology together: whole-school professional development for capability and confidence, International Society for Technology Education (ISTE). ISBN: 9781564843258

Richardson, W. (2013).  Students first, not stuff.  Educational Leadership, Vol. 70, Issue 6, p. 10-14.

The journey begins with bootcamp

Last week saw the culmination of almost 12 months of preparation and the beginning of a new era for the school I work at as the 1-1 iPads program was implemented.  Students were required to set up their iPads before school by coming in with their parents to the school just before the Christmas holidays or in the week before school returned to get them ready to access the school network and more.  Students downloaded their required apps during the holidays and two of the three year groups began downloading there eTextbooks.  It was a crazy time in the lead up to the big day but on the students’ first day back we were ready and waiting and bootcamp was launched.

I designed the iPad Bootcamp for Students to be a great introduction into what they need to know how to do on the iPad on a daily basis so that when they got to classes where they would be using their iPad they would be ready.  Over the months before the bootcamp, I created many different how to guides in PDF and video format to provide both staff and students on the day and in the days after and also wrote an iBook with all of the information in it.  The resources proved very valuable and helpful so I was really glad I had made them as I wanted the day to be as stress free and trouble free as possible.

The Year 7 students only did half the amount of training on the first day as Year 8 and 9 as we did not wish to overwhelm them, however, Years 8 – 9 had the flexibility of much of that first day to familiarise themselves with their iPad and how it would be used in the classroom.  There were hiccups and technical issues during the day, including some pressure being placed on the internet as students continued to download apps and textbooks but it ran very smoothly and was a wonderful day of collaborative learning between staff and students.

More on how this program progresses soon…