Don’t get me wrong, schools do have technology integration. However, many times technology is under-utilized in the classroom. I’ll use the school that I attend as an example. We have computer labs, Google Apps for Education, and an online grade viewing program. However, the IT infrastructure is aging and inadequate at times. My school is working to remedy the problem by creating a program where every student has an iPad to use for class, allow for easier access to materials, and other digital learning tools. This program has worked well but at the moment it is only available for several grade levels. The program will begin rolling out in our high school within the year, but many teachers are beginning to take the jump to digital learning early.
Since I am excited about this entrance of technology into the classroom I decided to embrace this new program while I don’t yet have an iPad. To do this I implemented my own BYOD strategy in order to efficiently use these digital resources. This strategy worked well for me, although some of my teachers are less than friendly to unauthorized technology in the classroom (Although, I remedied this by using some common sense regarding device usage). I started using my Android smartphone and Samsung Chromebook to complete assignments, take notes, and share materials through Google Apps for Education. Here are my three observations:
- It’s lighter
- It’s cheaper
- It’s faster
LighterMany times I have to take a whole binder of material home when I have an assignment for the class. This becomes quite a heavy load when I have six classes where I receive assignments regularly. A University of California (Riverside) study found that an average middle school student's backpack can weigh up to 37 pounds. Google Apps for Education, my smartphone and Chromebook, reduce this load significantly by allowing me to view and complete assignments online without the need to bring home a backpack full of extraneous documents.
CheaperThis switch to digital learning is also cheaper. According to the few articles I could find, as there hasn't been much documentation, an average school or department of about 1000 students will spend anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 on printer ink, toner, and paper - not to mention printer wear-and-tear costs. (Source 1 | Source 2)
Before the switch I had to print off an assignment or paper several times, once for each draft or revision, for the teacher’s review. With Google Apps for Education I can share a document with a teacher and get their feedback during the revision process without having to print off a new copy of a paper every time I find a portion that needs to be changed. This has significantly cut down on the amount of paper and ink I use for school, especially since I am taking classes that focus heavily on papers and writing assignments. This has the potential to save schools thousands of dollars every year.
(I also switched to using a Chromebook, instead of a laptop, and wrote about that experience a few weeks ago.)