Sometimes the only way to make progress is to leave something behind.
Teachers who have adopted Forsyth County Schools' “bring your own technology” model of learning are allowing students to use their personal devices in innovative ways, says Tim Clark, the district's instructional technology specialist.
For social studies lessons, Clark says, teachers have asked students to look up pictures of concepts they are teaching in class, and the students share their findings by passing their devices to each other. Elsewhere, students in a middle school math class have shot videos of each other solving math problems and posted the videos online for later reference while doing their homework, Clark says.
In one high school class, students watched a film version of Shakespeare's Othello after having read the play. While watching the movie, they used their computing devices to instant-message each other in a chat room. The teacher prompted the students with questions about the differences between the play and the movie, and the students responded in real time.
Of course, students don't always use their devices to work on class projects, Clark says. Sometimes they simply keep their devices at the ready so they can take notes or enter their homework assignments on their calendar.
“The idea is to use it when they need it,” Clark explains.