Archive | June, 2014

R(e)Post of the Week: The 3 B’s of BYOD Tools

9 Jun

My school district just finished a BYOD pilot program and is preparing to roll-out BYOD to 5,500 middle and high school students early next school year. As the district’s Instructional Technology Coordinator, I work with teachers to help them transition to teaching in a BYOD environment. One of the biggest obstacles teachers faced while working with student devices has been learning how each student’s device works with the tools the teacher uses in class.

In some cases, the lack of continuity between student devices is as small as where to go to add a Google account to Google Drive – on iOS devices, Google accounts can be added in Drive, but on Android devices, users have to go through the device’s account settings to add a Google account. In other cases, we have had to learn through trial and error which applications function differently on Android devices than they do on iOS devices and Windows phones (Padlet is difficult to use in Android’s preinstalled browser).  In other instances, certain tools or applications were only available on one operating system.

I quickly learned that dealing with device continuity would be one of the biggest struggles we would face as our BYOD program expanded and more teachers who aren’t necessarily tech savvy got involved.  To help combat this, I published the 3 B’s of BYOD Tools:
  1. Be Available.  Whichever tool a teacher decides to use should be available on all student devices, including web browsers.  This means that sometimes web applications like Padlet will be the way to go instead of iOS or Android apps.
  2. Be Free.  Just like we don’t expect students to buy their own textbooks, we shouldn’t expect students to regularly purchase apps for our classes.
  3. Be selective.  Master a handful of useful tools that simplify classroom procedures and make learning in a BYOD environment collaborative and authentic, such as Google Drive, Blogger, Padlet, and  Leave out apps that are more flash than substance or complicate simple classroom procedures.


Implementing the 3 B’s of BYOD Tools has helped teachers in my district spend less time on device management and more time working with students.  If you are getting ready to implement a BYOD initiative or are new to BYOD, be sure to consider the 3 B’s when selecting tools to use in your class.

This originally appeared as a guest blog post on’s School of Thought blog and was cross-posted at


Summer Summer Summertime!!!! One Tool at A Time! How can you increase your Technology Toolbox?

2 Jun

I know most of you will use your summer time not only to relax, but you also constantly reflect on the school year, and research new ways to teach, and new tools to use in your classroom next year. The whole idea is not to focus a ton of energy on a bunch of different tools to overwhelm yourself, after all its summertime!!!! So how about just learning one tool at a time?

I have a few ideas of some great tools you can explore this summer, and hopefully you can find some fantastic ways to use them. 


Have you thought about blogging? Blogging is a great way to share information with parents and other educators the wonderful things you are doing in your classroom. Using Blogger as a tool is a great way to do this. If you are reading this post, you are reading it on Blogger. Blogger is simple to use and is already embedded in Google, which make it very easy to access. A lot of educators blog to share great ideas with others, and it would behoove you to follow their blogs. Some great blog sites to get you started are: blogger, edublogs, and wordpress.
EdTech Magazine created a list of Must Read Educators Blogs. Check out their list                                              (fyi- I am featured as one of the top 5 🙂 )

Are you on twitter
 Twitter is one the easiest and common ways to develop a strong PLN. In order for it to be valuable, you also need to be a contributor. You have awesome things to share with others. Following people who share the same role you do in education, or what you aspire to be, is key to staying connected, and current with tech trends. When corporations want to get the word out on their new products, they usually take to twitter and other social media first. Twitter allows you to create your own learning opportunities, anywhere, and anytime. The connections you make through social media lead you to a wealth of knowledge that is not made possible without it.Twitter is a grand place to gather ideas and information from educators all around the world. Connect with like minds, experts, and others who have an interest in education. Check out my blog post about why you should be using twitter, and be sure to follow me @msedtechie

Still looking for ideas of tried and true ways other educators are using technology in the classroom? Try searching on Pinterest. There are so many edtech pinterest boards, where people post apps and blogs to try out, as well as ideas for using and iPads, and other technologies. If you are a visual person, pinterest is perfect for you. Pinterest is a sure way to find some great ideas for the classroom, and connect with awesome educators around the world.

Teachers Pay Teachers-

If only I would have thought of this! Teachers are taking what they have created for their classroom and sharing it with others. Some items for free, some are at a low -cost. Let’s just face it, a lot of us don’t have the time to spend hours developing lessons and projects for our students, due to various reasons, but having access to thousands of projects and lessons at your finger tips delivers a powerful one-two punch. Save time by browsing through resources other teachers have perfected, and use them to provide meaningful learning experiences for your students.

Participate in webinars, online classes, or tech forums. There are so many free webinars available to educators or various topics, covering various tools. Join organizations like TCEA, or Simple K-12, or ACDS. Most webinars are archived, so even if you are not able to catch the live one, you can go back and listen to the recording. The cool thing about that is you can stop, rewind, and pause when you need to, and take notes easily.

A great way to engage students is through video. Have you ever thought about flipping your classroom? Or maybe just capturing the wonderful work you are doing with students and sharing it with the world? These video tools are awesome, try one or two, or three of these!


Check out this thinglink of other powerful webtools you should try this summer!

 Patricia J. Brown is a 13-year education veteran with an eye for engaging classroom technology. The technology integration coach for Missouri’s Ladue School District in St. Louis shares classroom-friendly apps, websites and more on her blog. • • @msEdtechie

Well as we bring this school year to a close, I am sure you will use this summer to relax, but also reflect. As educators, you must constantly be looking and searching for new and innovative ways to share information with students. Hope you take some of my suggestions for making sure you are refreshed and rejuvenated for the fall, and also ready to take on new challenges, and opportunities to enhance learning in your classroom.
Don’t let the whole summer go by without you enhancing your life by exploring fantastic ways to improve the quality of your instructional practices, and filling up your learning toolbox!