I attended my state’s principals conference this week and heard a presentation from staff and students of New Berlin West High School. It was interesting to hear about the planning and the implementation process that led to their BYOD program working so well. Their presentation team consisted of administrators, staff members, and students. They had a great story to tell, and they told it well, especially the students. [Side comment– In most schools, students make up approximately 90% of all the people in the building, so why aren’t they included more in presentations about successes?]
One comment that really stood out to me from the presentation was when the principal said, “Eighteen months after we started our BYOD program, no one even talks about it anymore.” His point was that their infrastructure was in place and working well, the students were being responsible with their devices, and the staff was accepting of the power of students using their devices for learning. The focus was on student learning, not the gadgets. Too often, technology plans measure their success by counting ratios and numbers of devices rather than evaluating the impact the plan has on student learning. We need to change that. Like a pencil or a notebook, tech is just another tool that can help students and staff. The impact on learning, not merely the presence, is where our focus and work should be.