We have a BYOD policy in fourth grade this year: Feel free to bring your own device (tablet, Kindle, iPad, iPod, etc.) to class with some very simple conditions. The conditions are that you may use your device to read or listen to books during independent reading time, and may listen to music during independent notebooking time. Any game-playing, texting, or sharing of photos and the device stays at home. Our kids have done an amazing job of respecting the conditions so far!
I started to integrate some STEM lessons with our little scientists in the fall, and got a bonus surprise due to the fact that many of them have devices with them in class. We were trying some different geometric shapes in the building of a dome after I had introduced the Engineering Design Process, and groups of four were scattered all around the classroom, hard at work on their plans and on their structures. I passed by a group who had chosen the emergency window area in which to work, and noticed a tablet device propped up against the window. (Please forgive us this once, fire marshall!)
I paused to observe a little more closely when one of the students whispered to me, "We're making a video of our process so we can review it later when we make improvements." (Seriously, fourth grader speaking, not grownup scientist!)
Mere seconds passed before devices were appearing all over the room to capture the process!
Use of devices during all subjects has become commonplace this year. In our classroom, we capture what we think we will want to use later, just as naturally as adults use their devices in real life.
Gotta love technology, and oh, yeah, gotta love those amazing little engineers!
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