Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BYOD and the Paperless Classroom

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.

What tools and techniques are you using to go paperless in your classroom and/or school?


  1. Too bad my principal last year lacked vision. I am now out of the classroom because of it.

  2. I am very impressed. I am just beginning to research how BYOD can work. I was wondering if you had any technical problems....

  3. Jean: No major technical issues. We average about 500 unique devices connected to our wireless at a time.

  4. Did you run into any issues of equity? Were there any students who did not have a device or could not afford a device and wifi?

  5. Nicole - We have not even though not everyone of our students has a device and/or brings it to school with him/her. We have spent a great deal of time creating a culture that includes BYOD while not excluding students from the learning process. We either supplement school-owned tech with BYOD or use cooperative learning to tackle the equity issue.