BYOD? How about BYOL?

I teach in the wealthiest school district in Missouri where every high school student is loaned an 11” MacBook Air and every teacher has a 13” MacBook Air loaned to them for the express purpose of maximizing the learning/teaching creative process.  The laptops are equipped with the latest software, including iMovie, GarageBand, and Airdrop.

So, recently, when I learned about Bring Your Own Device/Technology (BYOD/BYOT) due to what I will call technological deprivation (TD) via my Twitter Professional Learning Network (PLN), I was puzzled and wondered why students would need to bring their own devices to use in school for the purposes of learning and not just multi-tasking with peers while trying to learn.

All students have access to computer technology at school, right? It is the 21st century, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I know of what I thought were isolated instances of TD. A colleague of mine teaches in a small district in Mississippi where not only do they not have regular access to computer technology but BYOD is not allowed.

She is a brilliant teacher and she is very frustrated and I understand.

NOW, I understand my colleague is one of thousands. Apparently, many teachers are struggling to teach 21st century skills using 19th century technology. (Yes, 19th century—think Little House on the Prairie.)

Are you kidding me? Seriously?

Hence, teachers are forced to resort to BYOD when and if it is permitted by their school district.

But in my opinion, BYOD is NOT the solution to TD. It is little more than a bandage for a myocardial infarction. Boards of Education who pride themselves on BYOD should be ashamed. What about the families who cannot afford devices? What about inequity? (And that really is the tip of the proverbial technological iceberg.)

If you believe BYOD is the solution to the problem of TD, may I suggest a return to mandatory Bring Your Own Lunch or BYOL?

What would happen if it were decided schools should put an end to lunch programs? Think about it! Yes, the alphabet soup of organizations would issue a collective outcry like never heard before.


So, where is this collective outcry surrounding the issues prompting the necessity to move towards BYOD?


If the powers that be can figure out a way to feed millions of students on a daily basis so effective learning can take place, they most certainly can figure out a way to provide 21st century technology so students can learn creatively and effectively without resorting to BYOD.

We feed their stomachs. We must feed their minds.




About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

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