My First Post: BYOD, An Old Fashioned Idea

So this blog has been five or six years in the making. I keep making excuses to myself why I can’t, shouldn’t, won’t and finding other work to occupy my time. Last week I wrote an entry for a newsletter that I had been contemplating for a long time as my first blog post. I realized this weekend that it just seemed silly since it was written and everything. So here it is. I’m jumping off the cliff. Hope I can swim!

My Old Tool Belt

About a year ago I was at my Great Uncle’s funeral. It was a celebration of his long and happy life and there in the front of the room sat his much used tool belt. I wasn’t surprised to see it there. He was a carpenter his whole life. I think Sir Ken Robinson would say he had found his element in building and creating. Observing the tool belt from the back of the room it didn’t look the greatest: dirty with sawdust, paint splattered tools, some of which from decades past, but you could tell it was well used.

It was then that I was struck by the fact that BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) isn’t really a new concept. My uncle brought his own tools (devices) to work every day.  And it’s not just carpenters: The musician with their favourite guitar, the builder with their hammer or the artist with their set of water colours. They all used THEIR tools to create. I am sure they could borrow tools but why would they? Their tool felt right. They understood the ins and outs of their tool. It allowed them to get straight to creating.

It made me reflect on how I use my digital tools. My device tells me where I’m going in the morning, keeps all my notes organized but better yet allows me to better communicate and connect with my many colleagues. My laptop and tablet really have become my version of a tool belt. The more I understand my tools the easier it is for me to communicate and create in all the areas I am passionate about.

I don’t know if it is just me but it is exciting to think of the possibilities when students see their devices as not just consumption tools but a tool that allows them to communicate, create and collaborate. I can’t wait to see what they will CREATE!


8 thoughts on “My First Post: BYOD, An Old Fashioned Idea

  1. This might just inspire a few people to tinker, play, create, maybe even build something important. What will kids create given the right tools? What can they create as a carpenter’s apprentice?

    • The difference between consumers and producers is definitely one we still struggle with. I like the image of the carpenter’s apprentice. May need to use that one!

  2. Absolutely, BYOD is only a new concept for two main reasons: it got given a name; and the D refers to tools that are digital. No matter how often we tell people that it is analogous to gym clothes or musical instruments or kids fashion or whatever, we have a double standard for digital tools. It’s something very difficult to overcome.

    On a positive note, congrats for launching the new blog. One thing to remember is to not be afraid to write dumb stuff. A lot of us get blogger’s block because we have been conditioned from a very young age not to self-publish. How “arrogant”, “narcissistic”, etc. it is. Don’t listen to that voice.

    Be disciplined in your blogging. You should employ critical thinking, but not a critical, negative voice. You write beautifully, so let it flow. The hard part is not jumping off the cliff, it’s jumping off again and again.

    • Three master courses in now and the double standard for digital tools is very evident. I find it a losing battle at times.

      Thanks for the writing advice! Is is greatly appreciated (especially from a blogger I love to read).

      At first I had a blog post I had in mind originally that had a story about way back in the day when we were presenting together at the triboard symposium and I couldn’t understand this twitter thing. LOL

  3. I, for one, am excited to see you leaping off shore. And what a great start!

    I love that image, the tool belt. I see it as metaphor for BYOD, but also for the larger culture of classrooms where students are invited to bring their skills and knowledge to projects, not just learn what is presented as “the lesson”. That is my clumsy way of saying inquiry-based learning is like asking students what they brought, what they might like to make, whom they wish to collaborate with, and what materials they need to do so. Our role as facilitators relies on our ability to see the tools each student brings, especially the ones they might not be aware of, and help students to use them productively.

    It is an odd thing, but it seems to me that students work harder, and develop stamina, when we start by assessing what they already can do, as opposed to what knowledge they are missing. How does starting with what they can do already make them work harder? Well, like you said, it allows them to get straight to creating.

    I also have to thank you for helping me to access my toolkit, so to speak. After your workshop a few years ago, I realized that I could be passionately pro-tech in my teaching as well as at home, and I’ve never looked back.

    • Thank you for the kind words.

      This is why I love sharing! Smart folks make you smarter. I love the idea of the tool belt going further than just the ‘physical’ tools.

  4. Great post! It made me think about the medieval craft guilds. In those days, you couldn’t just grab a toolset and start doing renovations. There was a rigid system of controls in place. The industrial revolution ended that system. And now? How is the internet (shared knowledge) changing the “knowledge” guilds, a.k.a. school systems? I imagine the medieval master craftsmen were engaged in many of the same discussions that many education master craftsmen and craftswomen are having today! How will these new tools affect our profession? How can we control/manage this change?

    But in the end? I think the result will be the same. The medieval guilds forced people into their system because only the guild members had the knowledge and in order to receive that knowledge you had to join the guild. The “modern” school system works on the same premise; in order to receive the highest level of skills/knowledge you must pass through the system. More and more people will refuse to spend years and years (and tens of thousands of dollars) simply to get the “stamp of approval” from the “school guild”. At the same time, fewer and fewer people will look towards that “stamp of approval” as a measure of a person’s worth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s