This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been in a classroom recently – but a recent survey of college students found that 40% cannot go more than 10 minutes without using some sort of digital technology and 67% cannot go more than an hour.  In a world where the gear and gadgets you have matter so much that you can’t go without – we’ve got to make sure we are moving towards classroom policies and lessons that embrace and leverage the bring your own device (BYOT) culture. Of course, as with any cultural shift, we should consider all the pros and cons of this level of tech adoption. One example in particular is setting the groundwork for safe and productive use.  Last month the New York City Public School system laid out their digital rules for teachers.

While these guidelines focus mostly on social media usage and the tricky territory of adding students into your networks – they raise an important point about drawing lines around usage. One way to address these challenges is to make sure that everyone (teachers, students and administrators) is on the same page. Trainings and open discussion are the keys to making sure these policies work.

Eric Sheninger, Principal at New Milford High School in New Jersey, advocates schools to consider a BYOT policy. He helped to launch his school’s first BYOT program last September, but not without lessons learned along the way. And beyond the challenges, there is a great opportunity to reach out to active learners on the devices they are using most. As a 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report shows, 66% of students identify their mobile devices as the most important technology in their lives.  So knowing that all-important device goes where they go means getting ready to embrace the BYOT world in your learning world.

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