Arapahoe High School told some kids to BYOT this year.
It's a pilot program to get them to “Bring Your Own Technology” to school, an effort to increase the use of computers in classrooms.
Karl Fisch, AHS math teacher, told the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education Sept. 27 that it's a stab at solving a Catch-22. Kids say they'd bring their own computers if more teachers were using them in the classroom, and teachers say there aren't enough computers in the school to use them on a regular basis. So by encouraging kids to bring them and making Netbooks available to those who can't, the idea is to get 100 percent coverage.
Fisch said schools are trending toward “flipped” classrooms, in which kids listen to lectures online as homework while performing the more inquiry-based activities in class under the teacher's supervision. This allows for more individualized attention, said Fisch, and the opportunity to try more “interesting stuff” in the classroom than there's been time for in the past. Computers, of course, are key to successfully pulling that off.
“Everybody knows this is where we're going, but nobody knows how we're going to get there because of the cost,” said Fisch.
Four classes implemented BYOT at the beginning of the year, and Fisch said 57 percent of the kids brought their own laptops.
“I anticipate that will go up slightly after Dec. 25,” he joked. “We're not quite to the place where parents think of this as a school supply, but I think we're getting close.”
Science teacher Jesse Craig gave several examples of how he's using the computers in his class, from online quizzes to interactive glossaries that don't just define a word, but link to other resources that give a full picture of the word — websites and animations, perhaps. He said it fits every learning style and allows kids to express themselves in ways that are comfortable for them.
“It's been a lot of work,” he said. “It's a lot easier to stand up in front of kids for 50 minutes and talk.”