But while I often share the good things, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. There are things I struggle with as a teacher, and things my students struggle with, even months into the program.
Keeping up with the TrackingEvery single day, I have to be on top of what students have handed in and what they haven't. With everyone in a different place in the course, I sometimes find this hard (especially in my class of 31). Many students can figure out what they need to be working on, but others rely on the tracking board being 100% up to date, and if it's not, they're easily lost.
I had one student who, because I hadn't listed all the assignments along the top of the tracking board, assumed he didn't have anything more to do for the unit, without even checking the master list for the unit online. The organization aspect is huge, and sometimes I can't quite stay on top of it.
Independent LearningSome students never get the hang of learning on their own. Many students see the end goal of each learning goal to be the exit slip; they'll try to learn on the exit slip, instead of learning beforehand and then testing themselves. They see it as the quickest way of getting through the material, and as a result, don't actually learn what they need to. Even though there are no marks attached to the slips, because that's what they perceive they need to do, that's all they will do, and allot no more effort to the learning process.
I have students give up because the vocabulary list doesn't already include the definitions (something they have to go out and find themselves), and students who refuse to look at any of the resources available before starting an assignment (and hence, quickly become frustrated with an assignment that makes no sense and quit). It is a challenge for me to be constantly encouraging students to just start the learning process, when I would rather be helping them navigate the actual material, and encouraging their creativity.
Lack of ResilienceWhen it comes to dealing with technical devices, you have to build up a certain amount of resilience. As a teacher, I feel like I am constantly troubleshooting everything from why a device isn't connecting to the WiFi, to how to get Desmos to do something I've never tried before. To experience success, the students also have to demonstrate this resilience.
Even after a few months of encouraging students to use technology to access resources, I still have students give up because they can't get to a webpage (because they made a mistake in typing the URL), or because they can't immediately figure out how to get a circle to graph in the right place. They dislike having to learn new apps ("how am I supposed to know how to use this?"), and instead of seeking help from each other, they start distracting each other.
Not all students are like this, and in fact most of them have gotten quite good at trying things, researching solutions on their own or helping each other out. But to others, making a mistake is cause to stop and give up. Reference to a growth mindset is continual, as well as modelling how to troubleshoot and praising effort and progress.
Getting past the A in SAMRWith the BYOD I've implemented over the past year and a half, I've gotten really good at Substituting and Augmenting what my students are doing. But I am still not doing justice to the Modifying and Redefining side of the SAMR spectrum. I am fortunate to have students with devices, and access to class devices for students without devices of their own. But am I really using the devices to their fullest capacity?
I know that will come in time, once I have the curriculum under my belt. My list of the gazillion apps/ideas/collaborations to read more about is always there for when I have more time to dive into something new. Still it nags at me that I'm not doing more. At least not yet.
Having said all this, the pros far outweigh the cons in how our BYOD classes are running. But it's not perfect, yet. I'd love to hear how other teachers (BYOD or otherwise) manage some of these challenges. Onward and upward!