Monday Success: BYOD Implementation

Apr 29, 2013 by

The Monday Success Story this week comes from Kristin Woolums, a teacher at St. John’s the Evangelist Catholic School outside Atlanta, Georgia.  SJEC may be the most diverse school I have ever worked with- a really special place for students.  Kristin is a 5th grade teacher who piloted BYOD in her class this year.  If you have any questions after reading her story, please feel free to e-mail Kristin (
A Reluctant Teacher Jumps into BYOD Feet First!
“Last year, at the end of the school year when my principal told me that I was going to head up the pilot program for our school’s BYOD initiative, this 5thgrade teacher went from excited to being overwhelmed in 60 seconds flat.  As soon as I regained consciousness (ha ha) and decided to take the bull by the horns, I took some time to plan out what things I wanted to accomplish by starting with  the end in mind, the path I’d take to get there, the successes I’d hope to accomplish, and the potential obstacles I’d encounter.   Like I said, excited but overwhelmed.
First thing’s first… we met with the parents and students.  We laid out clear rules, expectations, and uses.  We gave them a sample of what the students would be doing on the devices – a survey, some online note-taking, and some app suggestions.  In the Socrative survey, I asked what devices we would be using so that I could judge how to direct my instruction.  As you can imagine, it was mostly tablets, but I had a few phones, iTouches, and laptops.  Now my job was to make it all work together in a classroom environment.  Game on!
After attending a couple of BYOD workshops and starting out slowly my confidence grew exponentially.  I realized that we were going to make some mistakes but I went from “let’s ‘do’ BYOD on Fridays” to “just bring it every day – how can we possibly have class without these devices?”  Next thing I knew, we were using the devices for not only note-taking, math games, and spelling practice, but using the calendar for deadlines and tests, the GPS for geography and distance estimation, the dictionary/thesaurus, using texting for asking Google questions and for instant survey results.  I was amazed at the “live feed” effect of videoing the student presentations while showing it through the LCD projector.  The possibilities were literally endless!
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of BYOD was the power of the video camera.   It was amazing how crystal clear thoughts become when a person is being videoed.  After a lesson, I’d say “Turn to a partner and make a 10-second recording of what you just learned.”  Teacher talk:  clear, concise thoughts about the lesson, 100% engagement, a record of what we did that they could refer to as many times as needed, and instant information about who “got it” or not. Win/win/win/win!!  The students took off with it, and actually reminded ME that it was time to make a 10-second video note of what we’d just talked about.  Who’s confident now??  Exactly.. the students!
Oh yeah, and a once-reluctant teacher who’s glad she is off to a great BYOD start!”
I was lucky to work with Kristin as she was starting off on the BYOD path and it has been exciting to hear how she and her students have responded.  Are any of you doing BYOD in your classroom?  What are the successes, failures, challenges, and unexpected thrills that have happened in your classroom?  Please share!  Look forward to working with you and a huge thank you to Kristin for jumping in and sharing.  Great schools like SJES are made up of great teachers.  Exciting stuff!


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