BYOD: Bring Your Own Device
In the rush to acquire the latest and greatest cell phone, what do you do with your old technology items?
In 2009, it was estimated that 5 MILLION cell phones are thrown away each year (source). While there are many opportunities to put your old cell phones to good use (example), how about donating your old cell phones, lap tops, calculators, e-readers, chargers and more to your local school, or a teacher who could use them in their classroom?
OnlineColleges.net has developed a nice infographic and list of items your BYOD school could use. With the holiday gift giving fast approaching and a record number of technology purchases being estimated, consider putting your old stuff to good use and support your local school in their BYOD efforts!
Anyone who spends even a passing second on news sites knows that more uneventful days inspire headlines along the lines of “We can’t believe there are smartphones in the classroom!” Some of the more popular devices in today’s tech-oriented curriculum, Androids, iPhones, and Blackberries (to a lesser extent) do come at a considerable cost, making it particularly difficult for low-income students to afford them. Not to mention the fact that many of the downloadables aren’t free, either. Donating a spare smartphone means allowing these kids equal access to the educational applications, augmented reality experiments, mobile social media, high-res cameras, and other tech teachers want to start incorporating into daily lessons.
For more fiscally blessed districts, tablet computers like the iPad (probably the most popular of the lot) provide access to interactive applications and books that engage students to a greater degree than traditional methods. Like their smaller smartphone predecessors, these gadgets teach through videos, games, audio, and other multimedia. And the digital generation thrives on immersing themselves in a wide range of mediums, particularly when they involve use of many different senses. Many of which, like tactile sketchbook apps, photo editors, and high-resolution cameras, also nurture creativity while simultaneously saving on clean-up time.
Laptops and PCs
Yes, tech enthusiasts tout the emergence of tablets and other mobile computing devices as the hot new thing that will eventually oust laptops, which eventually ousted PCs. But that doesn’t mean that many schools, especially those facing tightened budgets or the inability to afford iPads for every child, couldn’t use such contributions. For BYOD classrooms already equipped with laptops and PCs, though, donated equipment like this still equalizes students along economic lines. Before wiping everything, check to see if the school will need Office or other programs that might already be loaded.
iPod Touches work just fine in classroom situations where a full smartphone either proves too much of a liability concern or too costly. Users more or less enjoy access to the very same apps as those with iPhones, only without calling and text messaging capabilities. Unless classroom projects involve either of these — and most do not — the iPod Touch has a place among tech-savvy students and teachers.
So they’re not technically “devices,” but wired schools increasingly require reliable Internet access the more they ask students to start plugging in and engaging with the online world. Low-income districts in particular could use solid connections to lower the risk of downtime that might very well exacerbate the achievement gap. If a router runs perfectly fine before committing to an upgrade, check and see if any nearby schools could use it in a classroom whose current connection bubbles in and out.
Wall and USB Chargers
Again, not exactly devices, but still necessary in classrooms where smartphones, cell phones, tablets, iPod touches, and laptops remain integral components of daily lessons. It’s not like their batteries last indefinitely, after all. Many fans of these devices often wind up with extra chargers in their care thanks to forgetting to pack them before vacation, temporary losses, leaving them at a friend’s place, and other everyday memory lapses. Students permitted to tote their devices to a home that might not possess a charger will greatly appreciate the gesture.
Cloud computing may be The Wave Of The Future, but not every student hails from a household with Internet. Cleaned-up (and please clean them up before donating!) flash drives let them carry their assignments from school and to home or the library for completion. Plus, it helps when the Internet goes down, in the event of one of those aforementioned classrooms with unreliable WiFi.
Even some of the most technologically adverse districts still require their high school students to buy graphing calculators, which aren’t exactly cheap. Relevant apps are available on smartphones and tablets, of course, but obviously not every classroom involves them in the lessons. Donating old graphing calculators is an especially kind, realistic gesture on the part of graduating seniors moving on to careers or colleges that will not require them.
Thanks to the emergence of e-book readers like the Kindle, Nook, etc., the back-breaking days of heavy textbooks might eventually (and thankfully) die out completely. But the up-front costs still deter many schools and students alike from transitioning over to digital, though the long-term benefits on health and finances should be rather obvious right about now. Check and see if any teachers, schools, or even districts are currently switching their classrooms out of bound books and into their digital counterparts. Unlike smartphones, uniformity isn’t as much of an issue because there are no apps with which to contend and most readers display the most common e-book file formats.
Smartphones might be displacing the beeps and bloops of old-timey cellular telephones, but the old fogies still have life in them yet. They may not be able to run those applications the kids are into these days, of course. What they can do, however, is send text messages and snap photos — both of which tech-loving teachers will sometimes require. So someone out there might still need that early-2000s Motorola with the flippy top!