BYOD Is Shaping Education in the 21st Century

Chansamone O’Meara

Miller, B. BYOD Is Shaping Education in the 21st Century. (2015, April 19). Retrieved April 27, 2015, from

It is important to integrate technology into the classroom and schools must accept that is is the new expectation.  Schools must provide the hardware and software tools to properly build 21st century skills.  Bring your own device (BYOD) is being adopted across schools.  There are several benefits of BYOD in education.  1) It increases access to technology for students.  Some schools do not have the budget to provide every student with their own device to use.  And devices that students or their family own are usually newer and powerful devices as well. Students that have better devices can use their own and those that don’t own a device, can use the school’s. 2) Schools can save money because students are responsible for their device.  If it breaks or is lost or stolen, students are responsible for replacing it. 3) BYOD allows for different communication between the teacher and the student.  It focuses on a student-centered approach.  Teachers and students can share information with each other. 4) Assignments presented or completed online do not require teachers to repeat information presented on a powerpoint.  Students can access the information on their own and type out their own notes at their own pace. “Technology now enables students to listen to the teacher and absorb the information, rather than tuning out the teacher and hurredly scribbling down the notes without proper analytical thinking and contemplation.” 5) BYOD gives students the opportunity to collaborate with each other on assignments and projects.  They can access the assignments at home and work in their own setting. 6) Students can access their textbooks without having to carry around their heavy books.  Students also don’t have to worry about forgetting their books. 7) Assessments can be completed online. Grading for teachers can speed up the process as well.  It saves time and is more efficient.

I think that schools that do not have the budget for 1:1 program should consider adopting the BYOD policy.  The school that I am working at currently will budget for and rollout the 1:1 initiative in the next 2-3 years.  While that is happening, there are some students that bring their own devices and work on their assignment.  Students are not currently able to access the internet with their own device.  The school district forbids personal devices on their network.  I think it should be something to reconsider.  While BYOD is a great idea, there are a lot of logistical problems that need to considered and planned out.  Schools need to consider their wifi access points and network capabilities. I completely agree with the author of the article however that all schools must integrate technology into their curriculum.  If BYOD is the only viable solution, then school districts should examine whether they can safely allow personal devices onto their internet network.

Preparing for the 21st Century: Soft Skills Matter

Chansamone O’Meara
Graham, S. (February 24, 2015). Preparing for the 21st Century: Soft Skills Matter. Retrieved April 27, 2015, from
This article written by Stedman Graham talks about how many people are still operating under the “20th century paradigm”  and how every employee and potential employees must be armed with 21st century skills.  The Association of American Colleges and Universities conducted a study that showed a gap in the perceptions in desirable skills, education, and training from students and their potential employer.  21st century skills include hard and soft skills.  Most people operate under the impression that they only need hard skills to advance in their careers. . “Hard skills are easily defined and obviously measurable. They include technical mastery and vocational qualifications.” They are skills that are taught and mastered by people in a formal education setting.  “Soft skills are intangible and difficult to measure; while they greatly impact an individual’s chances for success, they are not normally taught through traditional education.”  Soft skills can be taught but generally not included in a formal education setting.  Examples of soft skills are “team building, eye contact, analysis of body language, and conflict resolution.”  Soft skills are an essential and critical part of most business operations.  “In business we can negotiate contracts and form relationships through email and texting, with no person-to-person interactions.”  Soft skills are about relationship and building relationships.  Graham points out that many people are not getting enough experience practicing and honing these soft skills.  People are constantly being challenged with the every evolving methods of communication.  How a person can communicate effectively through the various methods of communication such as email and texts are critical to a company’s success.

Hard skills are important and they are what people will build a resume around. They will be what employers will look at when hiring an employee. Hard skills will get employees hired but not advance within the company. “As careers develop, hard skills, which can be delegated, matter less and less, while soft skills continue to play the biggest role in determining your chances of achieving success.” The blending of both hard and soft skills will be essential in people’s employment achievements and opportunities.


I like this article a lot because Graham makes some very valid points about the importance of soft skills. Most people would not think that soft skills are something to be cultivated and developed in the digital age.  I believe that is even more important today than in the past.  In the digital age, more and more people are having to collaborate, communicate, and work in some virtual environment.  Being able to clearly and effectively communicate thoughts and ideas online can be very challenging.  It is very easy to encounter miscommunication problems when tone and intent in an email and message can be difficult to convey.  It makes it more essential to develop those skills so someone doesn’t misconstrue the message.  Web 2.0 tools has made meetings and collaboration online a very common and expected part of school and work.  If people do not develop the ability to work and communicate effectively in the digital age, they may get left behind.

New State of America’s Libraries Report find shift in role of U.S. Libraries

Chansamone O’Meara
New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries. (April 13, 2015). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from

The article sums up the State of America’s Libraries Report released by the American Library Association (ALA) that all current libraries are perceived as “community anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.” This is a shift away from the old view of just a place for books. The libraries today are trying to meet the needs of library patrons based on how people access and search for information. “From offering free technology workshops, small business centers and 24/7 virtual access to e-Books and digital materials, libraries are transforming communities, schools and campuses.”  Librarians are an important part of identifying and addressing the trends, changes, and needs of the community. Librarians are an essential part in creating today’s 21-st century learner. From collaborating with classroom teachers to design inquiry-based learning, school librarians are teaching students critical thinking, technology and information literacy skills.

Evaluation: This article perfectly sums up our class this semester.  Libraries are a place for learning that is accessible 24/7 for virtual learning.  The library is a leader and the catalyst for transforming schools and communities.  Libraries can no longer afford to continue to be the traditional place for borrowing books.  The libraries that will survive and thrive are the libraries that continue to transform itself and offer services and products that will meet the changing needs of the consumer.  It continues to be critical that libraries play a large role in education.  Creating a learning commons and supporting personal learning is an important part of libraries and the librarians that run them.

Free Technology for Teachers: 100 Practical Ed Tech Tips Videos

Beverly Rupe

Byrne, R. (2015, April 21). Free technology for teachers: 100 practical Ed Tech tips videos [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Free Technology for Teachers: 100 Practical Ed Tech Tips Videos

Richard Byrne’s blog ( is a great resource for teachers and librarians. I seem to always find something personally useful, or useful to someone else at work. This is a link to just one very practical example, but every visit to this blog is always worthwhile. A must-add to any PLN.

By Terry Funk

McCormack, J. (2014). Rock self-directed reading with student book awards. Library Media Connection, 32(4), 48-49.

The Peebles Reading and Research Activity Center in Killeen, Texas is a place where students have open access and visit independently in small groups to work in centers, check out as many books as they want, or research at point-of-need. One of the past ideas they have implemented to engage students is to hold an Academy Awards type ceremony for favorite titles (both fiction and non-fiction). Students and teachers keep track of titles read throughout the year and then when nominations are called, students from each class vote. Winning titles and nominees are reviewed using online tools and also a posted in the library hallway. The finalists are entered into a Keynote presentation and students or authors emcee the ceremony. Students are in charge of the show – costumes, posters, drum roll and envelopes. Needless to say, it boosts circulation of favorite titles.

Evaluation: I enjoyed this program review because the school, Peebles Elementary, has kept the focus on reading for fun. The awards and ceremony are student centered – with their choices for best reads and students put on a red carpet performance. This is an example of a school wide effort with students taking ownership of both subject matter and the process. It seems to have become a tradition and the silver lining is that it encourages reading.
By Terry Funk

Ondrack, J. (2004). Great Collection! But is it enough?. School Libraries In Canada23(3), 12-17.

Summary: This article discusses the necessity of teacher librarians collaborating with teachers to have a useful collection and increase development of student competence in information skills. Collaboration gives collection development a school wide focus, a sense of shared ownership of library resources, greater access and use, and more input in the organization and planning of future purchases. Suggestions for developing better relationships include the use of Resource Based Learning (integrating information skills with classroom instruction and program planning), having a library weeding party that includes teachers and the principal, selecting new materials that support projects and the curriculum, providing more instruction for both teachers and students and aligning the collection with school instruction. 

Evaluation: Without collaboration, can a collection, even a good one, address student needs, and provide curriculum support. According to this article the answer is ‘No”. While teacher connections are key to developing a collection there is often little input from teachers. According to this article, it is the Teacher Librarian who needs to take an active role in making sure there is collaboration and that recommendations from teachers regarding resources are followed. As we have studied all semester, when collaboration occurs, creative ideas come together, as in the learning commons, and both student participation and achievement rise. 

ISTE Standards for Students

ISTE stands for International Society for Technology in Education.  From its webpage, ISTE states, “Simply being able to use technology is no longer enough. Today’s students need to be able to use technology to analyze, learn and explore. Digital age skills are vital for preparing students to work, live and contribute to the social and civic fabric of their communities.”
Their webpage has standards for students, teachers, administrators, coaches, and technology teachers.  ISTE awards a seal of alignment for those meeting their standards.
Students have six standards they should meet or exceed in the following areas:
            Creativity and innovation
            Communication and collaboration
            Research and information fluency
            Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
            Digital citizenship
            Technology operations and concepts
Teachers have five standards:
            Facilitate and inspire creativity and innovation
            Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
            Model digital age work and learning
            Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility

            Engage in professional growth and leadership

AASL Standards for 21st Century Learning

AASL Standards
This link is to the American Association of School Librarians standards for the 21st Century learner.
The four standards that the AASL deem important are:
·         Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
·         Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
·         Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
·         Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

The page goes into great detail under each value.
By Terry Funk

Ciampa, K., & Gallagher, T. L. (2013). Getting in Touch: Use of Mobile Devices in the Elementary Classroom. Computers In The Schools30(4), 309-328. doi:10.1080/07380569.2013.846716
Summary: This study shows perceived benefits including increased self-directed, autonomous learning with the use of IPod Touch devices in elementary schools. Other perceived benefits included: greater student motivation, increased productivity and engagement (students were able to work at their own pace), immediate feedback gave individuals challenge (competing against oneself) to improve and stick to tasks, and promoted inclusion (students struggling as well as gifted). Students became experts, and were tech savvy (even in primary grades when teachers thought they would need more direct instruction on using the devices, students were  knowledgeable of how and what to do). Buddies with 5th graders and Kindergarteners also helped students learn from one another. Students were able to use the apps to find their own means of supporting the curriculum. Assessment tools helped teachers track student progress, and work individually with students who needed more instruction. A majority (82%) had access to mobile devices at home and the IPod Touch tool was considered a bridge between learning at school and at home and a tool of their generation. Negative perceptions included 1) access at school does not necessarily compensate for the lack of it at home, and parents felt pressure to acquire similar devices for home 2) parents were concerned about safety and access to the Internet without filters and 3) parents want a balanced approach to learning that includes tech tools as well as manual methods for acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills 

Evaluation: This research is important because there are too few actual studies of mobile devices in the classroom. It points out both perceived positives and negatives of mobile device use by parents, teachers and the principal at one elementary school. More studies with larger populations and feedback from students over the long term are necessary. The use of mobile devices in classrooms needs to involve not only drill and practice activities but also spark creative enterprises whereby students become producers of content. This study shows that teachers often lack the technology training to integrate its use efficiently and innovatively, and need more collaborative professional learning opportunities. 

Use of Technology in Real Classrooms

By Terry Funk

Moreillon, J., Hunt, J. & Ewing, S. (2009). Learning and teaching in wanda wiki wonderland: Literature circles in the digital commons. Teacher Librarian 37(2), p. 23-28.

Summary: This article discusses the collaborative experience of teacher and teacher librarian (as well as student teacher and graduate information and library science students) designing 8th grade literature circles – allowing students to work in four small groups on books (selected by the students) for a period of 6 to 8 weeks each. Themes included 1) American Southwest 2) Fantasy and Science Fiction 3) Historical Fiction and 4) Author Study. The teachers encouraged self-directed learning while meeting predetermined standards, objectives and deadlines. Successful characteristics of online collaboration includes openness, integrity and self-organization which the teachers modeled, taught through lessons in content, netiquette, design, Web. 2.0 tools, assessed with rubrics and checklists and then faded from as students took more ownership of the process. The students made the most progress in the fourth literature circle, and became more aware of their own thinking and learning processes during the year.

Evaluation: This is a good example of using both traditional print materials (books in literature circles) and Web 2.0 tools to collaborate and create new products digitally. The teachers adjusted teaching to help students become more sophisticated over the course of a year-long project – that is so that they would become better users of fair use, and copyrighted materials (citing when needed), and try new tools rather than leave it to students to learn on their own (self-directed learning). Going to the actual wikis, I see that students were able to participate and share new tech tools, teaching each other how they were able to use them, as well as discuss content (characters, plot summary, setting, defining and using vocabulary) and share original creations (such as artwork).