BYOT: A Deployment Dilemma


A couple of days ago, K-5 teachers at Beverly Skoff Elementary School (BSE) arrived to school with a bounce in their step.  That was the day they were to receive their classroom ChromeBooks and iPads as part of the Emerging Technologies Pilot Program.  

One at a time, BSE staff came to the LMC to receive their devices and to ask questions of the technology staff before heading to their classrooms for the day.  

By 9:00 am, all the devices had been distributed.  By 10:00 am, all was quiet...  

...too quiet.  

At first, I chalked the the absence of teacher communication up to the fact that teachers were probably performing their morning routines with their students.  However, I soon become a bit unnerved when I hadn't received a single email, visit or post to the backchannel I had set up through TodaysMeet.  I soon found myself reflecting on how we managed the technology distribution and whether we had missed a step along the way.  Turns out, we probably missed a few.

Let me attempt to summarize the course of events prior to device distribution:
  1. BSE volunteered to become a Lighthouse School, one that would pilot and showcase emerging technology for the district.
  2. The Technology Department met with BSE Administrators to discuss the Pilot Program
  3. Teachers were polled to see what devices they would want to pilot.  They agreed on 1 iPad and 1 Chromebook each.
  4. Teachers contributed to a list of resources that they would want to access on the devices.  Web links or apps were installed on the devices to those resources.
  5. BSE staff attended a 30-minute overview (PPT lecture/Q&A) of the devices at their staff meeting this past Monday, 4/29/13.
  6. Staff received their devices on Tuesday, 4/30.
Notice something missing?  I do too: "professional development" and "time to explore the devices before utilizing them in their classrooms".  So, I can only surmise that teachers weren't contributing to the chat, asking questions or sharing ideas, because they were at a loss as to how to use the devices.  

As a result of my reflection, I decided that the process prior to device deployment must be revamped so that the teachers would be arriving to the PD session already empowered with .  That's right, I would flip the PD session!

Below are the changes I will implement before our next distribution:
  1. Provide the 30-minute overview presentation to the teachers 2-3 days prior to distributing the devices.
  2. Hold a technology "petting zoo" where teachers can come to explore the devices before receiving their own.
  3. Distribute devices to teachers in the afternoon PRIOR to the commencement of the 30-minute overview.
  4. Remind teachers to preview the 30-minute overview presentation prior to the F2F staff meeting.  Require them to come with questions and concerns.
  5. At the F2F meeting, provide a link to the presentation (ideally through http://beta.swipe.to/ once my account is active) that could be accessed on either device.
  6. Provide teachers with hands-on training and opportunities for Q&A during the F2F meeting.
  7. Provide the link to the chat/other online resources immediately following the overview.
  8. Hold a follow-up session the next morning at the building before school begins.
I would love to see your responses to the proposed idea above!  Your insight matters to us, so, leave your comments below!

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