BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

2012 article looking at specific schools and their BYOD- http://edudemic.com/byod-classrooms/

Having students use their own devices for educational purposes in school opens a new can of worms, which both enables instruction in digital and information literacies and can strain the socioeconomic and digital divide of the school community.

 

A 2014 article in thejournal.com reports a quick increase in BYOD programs in schools and teacher workshops to support device use for education- http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/03/27/report-most-schools-delivering-byod-programs-training-teachers-in-mobile-devices-usage.aspx 

 

This article from Intel is a “toolkit”, I would say checklist for planning a BYOD program- http://www.k12blueprint.com/sites/default/files/BYOD-Planning-Implementation.pdf

 

These resources were compiled by Dr. Marilyn Arnone for SU’s ischool’s course on Technology in Educational Organizations

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Access and Education

Living in Upstate New York almost my entire life, I can say first hand areas with good internet access change to areas with little or no Internet access rather quickly. This is something that many love about central and northern New York. You can live and work in a city that is completely suitable for quick communication and easy technology access, but with one short drive you will find yourself in in the country or the mountains. Although many find this appealing, there are also those who see it as a burden. These are the people who don’t have Internet access at home. They are the people whose children cannot complete a homework assignment or research a paper at home.

It is a quick drive from city to country in Upstate New York, but here lies the digital divide. Even though they are a part of the same school district, there are children who do not have the same resources as their peers because they live in an area with poor Internet access. This makes districts extremely varied, and is something I have witnessed during my fieldwork experiences for the School Media program. It is obvious which students have access to the Internet at home, and therefore ICTs, the moment you put a digital device in front of the child. I have met kindergarten students who can use an iPad with ease, navigating to the internet, exploring web 2.0 tools, all while the child sitting across from them can’t even turn the device on.

The only way to combat this problem is to face in head on in schools. Students should be given access and instruction on digital devices from the start. Living in Upstate New York, an area where the digital divide is evident, we must expose our children to technology in school. Step one is exposure, but step one must be followed by education. We need to teach students to use digital devices, to research a topic use online resources, and to communicate in the digital world actively. We cannot use poor Internet access at home as an excuse. Education is as much about access as it is about learning.

Access to the Internet: some personal reflections from a rural Upstate New Yorker

Living just 20 minutes south of Syracuse, NY I assumed I would be able to at least get cable Internet when I moved from the city out to the country.  Sure I lived next to a farm, but I was not that far from a city.

Not so.  There is no cable.  There was no DSL either.  The only option was satellite Internet.  10 years ago this was expensive, but we did it because we needed Internet access for our jobs.  $400 for the satellite and $50 a month.

It took forever to load: upload, download.  Arrrgh!

In frustration I called the cable company and asked if they would run cable to the house. They said the closest box was a country block away.  I thought it would be good for their business to run it and then try and get the houses between the box and our house to sign up too.  ” You would have to pay for it.” “Well how much is it?”  Now I don’t remember so well what the amount was but it was more than a couple thousand dollars.  No way could a couple teachers afford it.  So, back to the satellite.  It was better than dial up.

A couple years later we got a new neighbor and we were chatting and he said he got DSL.  It was so exciting.  As it was true.  Why we didn’t know this new service existed?  Beats me.  But the one phone company you can choose in this rural town had started installing DSL (and not advertising it).  And so 8 years later I type this little story using DSL.  Sometimes it works and sometimes the wind blows and the telephone company is at the corner tinkering with the phone box to try and fix the DSL.  But, I can be an online student and only occasionally have to go to the public library 15 minutes away to turn in my homework.

Broadband in the US

Under the US Department of Commerce is an agency called the National telecommunications and Information Administration.  They had administered several programs related to federal funding and assistance to fund Broad Band Access.  Reports related to these grants are found on their website BroadbandUSA.

One of the difficulties we see in some funding sources that try to aid the Digital Divide and provide access is how the funding is spent.  This 2013 New York Times Article , by Edward Wyatt highlights one case where the NTIA grant might have missed the mark.

All Tech Considered, a segment of Fresh Air on NPR, interviewed Susan Crawford who has written a book called “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the Gilded Age.”  As part of her interview, she gives an overview of the state of US Internet infrastructures: NPR Audio Clip of interview “When it comes to High-speed Internet the US is falling behind”

 

 

National Public Radio (2014, February 06).  When it comes to the high speed internet the US is falling behind.  Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/02/06/272480919/when-it-comes-to-high-speed-internet-u-s-falling-way-behind

Wyatt, E. (2013).  Waste is seen in program to give internet access to rural U.S.  New York Times.  Retrieved from  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/technology/waste-is-seen-in-program-to-give-internet-access-to-rural-us.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

What’s the problem? (Part 2: Equipment quality, frequency of access, and training)

In their article, Dividing at an Early Age, Lawrence Wood and Aimee Howley discuss the need for not only access but also the quality of equipment and the training of users on that equipment. They assert that while much focus in the past has been on programs which equip schools or homes with internet service or computer hardware, there has been less focus on integrating computer skills into the classroom or creating affordable (or free) community digital literacy courses; there has also been less focus on making sure that the level of the equipment and internet services are meeting the same standards for speed, reliability, and sophistication in all communities. (Wood & Howley, 2011) Therefore, though the access to equipment may, on paper, appear to be equitable across school districts or communities, the actual level of skills and benefit from the equipment is vastly different from one place to the next.

Wood and Howley further point out that: “a critical element of scholarly digital divide research now involves examining more than simply access, but issues such as frequency of access and sophistication of computer use as well.” The question of “frequency of access” is something that comes up in a number of other studies in fact. Some studies emphasize the need for access not just at work or at school but also at home or in some other type of private or semi-private setting. In order to deepen digital skills and literacy, people need to be able to expand on the types of digital practices they engage in. In other words, while at work or school the focus may be primarily on research or practical applications like word processing or spreadsheet creation; at home or during leisure time, people may expand their digital skills through gaming activities, online shopping, social media use, etc. (Zhong, 2011) In their article, If We Build It, Will They Come?, C. L. Brown and L. Czerniewicz discuss the findings of their study which indicate that more frequent access and more varied access (i.e. at home, at school, in public places) leads to more varied types of digital use. (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2007)

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What’s the problem? (Part 1: It starts with access)

Access to high speed internet/broadband is a challenge in many parts of upstate New York. The state sees a wide range of internet speed and access with some communities benefiting from high speed internet access and others struggling with slow or unreliable internet service. This blog post written by Jeannie Choi (journalist and CUNY graduate student and Sophia Rosenbaum) from last year, offers more information on the digital divide in upstate New York.

The map (right) created by the New York State Broadband Office clearly shows just how much of New York state is in the dark when it comes to high-speed internet access (with most of the North Country Region being left behind at this point). The NYS Broadband Office estimates that about 1.1 million New Yorkers currently have no access to high-speed broadband.

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