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?



Flash a-ah! Android goodness galore…

Testing the Samsung Galaxy Note more, seeing how it does everything I have regularly done on my iPad Air, has been very fruitful.  I have successfully accessed documents stored on a USB by connecting a Micro USB Combo by Amicroe to the Samsung.  I found that the USB wouldn’t register, however, if the USB itself was not already attached to the combo in one of the USB ports.  I was then unsure as to how to disconnect the USB safely but discovered that if I swiped down and got the notifications menu, then tapped on the USB notification, it disconnected it safely so I could remove the combo from the device. When the USB registered in the device initially, it automatically pulled up the My Files app and revealed the USB and its folders within the app.  The files were all easy to navigate and search too.


What I then wanted to be able to do was open a PDF in S Note and annotate it.  This was a little tricky to figure out at first but I soon realised that if I went into S Note and then tapped on the Menu button, it would bring up options that included Import.  After tapping on Import I was given three options, Google Drive, Samsung account or My Files.  I tapped on My Files and then on PDF file and selected a PDF file by tapping on the select circle.  (Tapping on the file itself opened it in a preview sort of version and didn’t import it.)  It then successfully brought the PDF file into S Note and enabled me to annotate, highlight and write on the PDF file.  This is brilliant and so much less fuss than the way I’ve tried to facilitate this process being done on iPads at school this year.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.10.26 pmNow the cream on the coffee! Flash a-ah! So many iPad users, particularly educators, lament over the lack of Flash capabilities on the iPad. Flash is not intuitively part of the Samsung either, however, I installed the app Photo Flash Player & Browser.  Once I started this app, and tapped on a small lightening bolt icon in the bottom left hand side of the screen, I was able to start a Flash-based session on the Internet.  So I went to my Jacaranda Plus account bookshelf and successfully opened up the Knowledge Quest game online, which is entirely flash-based.  It worked great!  The only potential problem with using this app would be the RAM and CPU it takes to run and the pressure that it would put on the wifi and bandwidth, however, it is very helpful and will facilitate better connectivity to valuable resources.

Yay! A transparent filing system on tablets…

In my comparison of iPad Air vs Samsung Galaxy Note, there is one thing that really makes the Android experience even better.  The transparency of the filing system!! It is brilliant!!  For years I have used the iPad and tried to navigate numerous apps in the hope of figuring out an easy file management system and workflow for completing school documents etc.  Students are always dealing with documents such as Pages, Keynotes, PDFs and images but they have no one place where they can manage and store these with ease and use them in other apps without having to re-download them.  Yes, you can store everything in your Google Drive and use them as you need from there, however, you then have to download them again and this requires an internet connection.  I’m sure there is things that the iPad can do that manage files better, however, file management and storage should not be something a user has to think twice about.


A default folder amongst the apps and folders on the Samsung reveals the above apps.  All of them are very useful but for now, I am loving the My Files and Downloads apps.  On my MacBook, I have my Desktop, Documents, and Downloads folders etc, but these are not something found on the iPad.  However, on the Samsung, I can find these within the My Files app and the Downloads app and what that visually looks like is a lot more intuitive and transparent, almost like it were a computer desktop.

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Not only does the file system/folder on the Samsung organise my files into categories accessible from one app, it also links to my Dropbox and allows me to easily navigate those files and open them on my Samsung tablet.  It’s so much easier to manage!  The breadcrumbs underneath the categories (seen above) are also very helpful for navigating the file system.  Another huge benefit too, is the fact that the space taken by each category of items/files stored is clearly visible, which makes the management of my 16GB tablet’s storage a lot easier as well.

I haven’t played around with all of the features yet, but I have the ability to create my own folders within this filing system and create shortcuts as well.  Another thing I have yet to explore is the connectivity with a USB and an external microSD card to add further storage space to the device but I will cover that one soon.Screenshot_NormarAppImage (1)

I’m converted… from iPad Air to Samsung Galaxy Note

I’ve been a Mac/Apple ‘convertee’ since about 2009 when I got my first MacBook, and as far as computers go I am still convinced that the MacBook is definitely the best way to go for laptops… HOWEVER… drumroll please…. after being so immersed in the world of iPads as the ‘tool of the future’ for education, I am now convinced that Android, and particularly Samsung are superior in the affordances and features it offers for classrooms and students.

It’s only taken one night of playing on my new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″ last night to realise what should’ve come a lot sooner had I not be ingrained in the sect that is allegiant to Apple only.  I have never used an Android device for more than a few minutes of maybe trying to hack into my sisters Facebook on her Android phone (before I convinced her to go Apple iPhone ironically), so last night was a totally new technical experience and I must say that the UX was fantastic!!! I struggled a little sometimes but overall, I was getting so excited by the way I was able to get timely responses from the device and all of the functions and features.

Anyways, I got a lot more playing to do with my device and there will be MANY MORE posts to come about this flip from Apple iPad to Samsung Galaxy… feel free to share tips, tricks and comments galore…

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.

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.