The Power is Personal

Over the last few years, I have been studying how schools adapt to the 21st century through technology implementations. It’s all over the board: 1:1, BYOD, classroom sets, iPads, Chromebooks, iPods, laptops, etc.

The one thing I have really noticed is that while any technology (used appropriately, and not just for substitution) is a great step, the real power is when students have their own personal device. It doesn’t matter if it’s a school owned device or their own device — but that it is theirs alone to use. To personalize, to explore and to use how they use it best. This has been clear at the couple of schools who are, in my mind, the front runners of this device adoption.

I’ve seen it at my house. We bought my 7th grader an iPad to use at school this year. His school was going no where when it came to tech integration, and it made me furious. Because they had no policy about devices, there was no reason he couldn’t bring it, so we sent it. Within a week, I could see the real power in making it his own tool.

He explored a variety of apps, and figured out what worked best. He played with different planner apps, notetaking tools and email apps. He found a blogging platform that worked for his journal. The power really was in his being able to make it his own.

He was able to select his own wallpaper, put his own apps that work for him. He organizes his apps in folder very differently than I do. It’s quite fascinating, and it works because it’s his own.

I’ve been saying this to both my kids’ schools – but as I’ve posted previously, it falls on deaf ears. Perhaps I’m too pushy, perhaps they aren’t ready to go this way. BUT – I was so thrilled to see this post from Tony Vincent’s blog “Learning in Hand” about a study in Scotland (key findings of the study) which comes right out and says that personal ownership of the device is the number one factor in determining the successful use of the technology.


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