We are currently in the process of planning for our BYOL pilot program, slated to begin in January 2011.  This program will allow 7th grade students to bring in their personal netbook, notebook or tablet pc.  You can find out more by visiting our wiki:  Partnership for Powerful Learning.  We've had some luck connecting with schools who currently have their own BYOL program, I would love to find other schools so we can all learn from each other. 

I wrote a post about our most recent conversations having to do with Student/Parent Bootcamps.  (The Art of Amazing.)  These bootcamps would provide the students and parents with a glimpse into the world of instructional technology.  I have found a huge gap in parents' understanding of how these Web 2.0 technologies can be used to enhance and support student learning.  After reading my blog post, you'll get some idea of where my head is right now and I would truly value your thoughts and ideas on how to create a powerful learning experience for students, parents and teachers at these bootcamps. 

So, do you work at a school or know of a school that allows students to bring in their personal computing device?  If so, please share!  I am so excited about this project!

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We tried a similar program that allowed students to bring their desktop computer to school with them. But, we have since scrapped the program. The computers wouldn't fit in student lockers during recess or PE time and students began whining about having to carry their desktop PC from class to class throughout the day.
Thanks for the feedback. It certainly is a learning curve for us, particularly since we're without a tech coordinator right now. (I am the instructional technology specialist for our district.) The infrastructure side is NOT my forte, so I'm just feeling my way through that part. We are creating a guest access network which will prohibit the students from accessing our district network or print.

The students will absolutely be able to choose their own programs. Are we crazy? Probably but our most basic goal is to simulate the real environment of learning. If these devices are to be used in authentic ways to support and enhance learning and we truly want to personalize the learning, then we must teach them how to choose the best tools for themselves. Am I a bit frightened by this huge endeavor? Oh, yeah...but on the flipside, there is not one shadow of a doubt that it is the right thing to do. As Seth Godin says,

"It's not an opportunity, it's an obligation. I don't think we have any choice. I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible."

I'll keep you posted but by all means, continue watching our wiki to get updates. (I'll be posting an update sometime this week.)
This is exactly why I love my pln! I appreciate your willingness to share so openly! I will pass your suggestions along to those who know more about the infrastructure than I do! I'll be in touch!



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