Getting IT Ready for BYOD – Katy ISD #tcea2012

February 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

My full notes from the session

As you can tell, I was typing fast and furious during this session. This was the final session on Thursday before the “Meet your Area Director” sessions. I’m so glad that I decided to stay and attend this session (I was driving back and forth between San Antonio and Austin each day). This was my big takeaway session…the one that I learned the most from in the whole conference.

We’ve been talking about BYOD for a long time in my district and this session opened my eyes to what we’ve been doing wrong. If a BYOD initiative is going to be successful, it HAS to be about changing the way teaching and learning is done, and NOT about the technology.

I’ve found myself worrying about BYOD and opening up wifi to students at our campuses, and I couldn’t put my finger on what, exactly, it was that had been bothering me. The gentleman who presented this session from Katy hit the nail on the head.

Do I agree with everything he said? Heck no…I think their decision to pull their technologists from the campuses might have been a mistake. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t have done, but I can also understand why they did it. His point of “the teacher then has to rely on themselves, or their early adopters on campus because they don’t have someone to come set up the powerpoint for them,” rang a little hollow for me. In that situation, I can see a reluctant teacher becoming even more reluctant to using technology. You instructional technologists have to have the wherewithal to say to someone like that, “You’re going to sit in that chair and set this up yourself, but I will be right here, looking over your shoulder if you get stuck on something.” Patience is a virtue in those situations.

I also think they hit the sweet spot for running a pilot. When they started this, 3 years ago, the smartphone explosion had not quite hit yet. They were able to pilot with smart devices and not have the crushing demand from all of their students expecting to be able to hook up to their wifi.

I also really liked the idea of moving EVERYTHING over to the web for everyday access. This is what I’ve been trying to accomplish with Google Docs in our district. Getting people to see the same interface whether they’re on campus or at home is a huge key to success. If it doesn’t work at home exactly the same way it works at school, you’re going to have people who simply won’t take the time to learn the process they’re unfamiliar with.

In short…the way Katy ISD has done it, seems to be the right model for BYOD.

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