From the Principal's Office: BYOD and the Paperless Classroom

11/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
At New Milford High School teachers are adapting their professional practice as we continue to evolve into a Bring Your Own Device school where student-owned technology integrated effectively.  NMHS teachers are also beginning to to integrate social media tools that are blocked and banned in the majority of schools across the country.  Ms. Smith’s science class has gone paperless. Students complete assignments whether it’s homework, class work, projects and tests all online using various websites, such as, Edmodo, Tumblr and Instagram on their BYOD devices. They also use their smart phones, iPads, iPods and digital cameras to take notes or to capture information. All pictures, notes and assignments are posted on the websites, e-mailed or placed on their private homework blogs. This has led to more student engagement, accountability and participation in the classroom, peer reviews and instant feedback to the students on how they are progressing. 

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In Chemistry, Marine Biology and Bioethics Studies, every week each student makes two reflective and analytical posts on their blogs (Tumblr, Wordpress, Blogger, Pinterest or Weebly) exploring what has been happening globally or locally, either on TV or the Internet, and then making connections to what they have been learning in class. They are taking charge of what they want to learn about and are interested in science. Some examples of their blogs can be found at the following links: 

Students also used Instagram as a communication tool (like texting) as a way to give feedback, make comments and to reflect on what they have been learning. This works extremely well in Bioethical Studies, where some students may be reluctant and shy to express their opinions. One topic had 143 comments in the forty-eight minute period. Using Instagram allowed everyone to have a voice and be heard. They have also used Instagram/Webstagram to send short video when Ms. Smith has been absent to show they have been engaged, completing their work, and staying on task.

Make sure you follow Ms. Smith on Twitter.

cross-posted on A Principal's Reflections

Eric Sheninger is a NASSP Digital Principal Award winner (2012), PDK Emerging Leader Award recipient (2012), winner of Learning Forward's Excellence in Professional Practice Award (2012) and co-author of Communicating and Connecting With Social Media: Essentials for Principals and What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Science. He presents and speaks nationally to assist other school leaders in effectively using technology. His blog, A Principal's Reflections, was selected as Best School Administrator Blog in 2011 by Edublogs.
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