Outlook 2013: Technology changes high school classrooms

Technology is changing the way students learn in the classroom. Advances allow for more collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, said Derrel Fincher, of the Oklahoma Education Department.

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: April 28, 2013

But who will buy all those personal devices? There are two models, Fincher said.

One-to-one. Districts provide the same device to each student.

BYOD. Using the bring-your-own-device model, students bring whatever they prefer to use, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

The one-to-one model is becoming less popular, Fincher said. When students provide their own technology, teachers are liberated from teaching to the technology provided by the district, he said. It’s also more of a real-life scenario.

“That’s how students work together outside of the class,” he said.

In the bring-your-own-device model, school districts provide devices for low-income students. But many kids have two or three devices, and they bring them in and kind of share them in class, Fincher said.

“The altruistic nature of our students really comes out,” he said. “That’s what so amazing.”

It also helps students learn to maneuver multiple devices and computer systems, Fincher said.

“Our students need it,” he said. “If they’re going to be successful in 20 years, they need access to it today. If the kids are using them outside of school, they should be using them for learning inside of school.”

But educators still are figuring out how to make sure students are using electronics to learn, not to goof off.

Cellphone bans are becoming more common in the classroom, as younger and younger users have their own mobile devices. But Fincher said that’s moving in the wrong direction.

“We’re going to have to develop new social conventions for how this works,” he said. “What you really want to do is work with the students about what is appropriate or inappropriate.”