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BYOD Symposium – Day 1

May 8, 2014

Foothills School Division is hosting a BYOD Symposium May 8 & 9, 2014. These are Todd’s notes from the session that opened on Thursday evening in High River.

Keynote speaker tonight is Greg Milligan, National Technology Strategist – Education, Microsoft Canada Inc.

Bring Your Own Device
A Framework to Help Manage Chaos

Disruptive Tension

“In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” – Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)

Greg spoke quite a bit about some of the perceived BYOD Opportunities & Challenges. Liken-ing to a “gartner” four quadrant chart of Technical and Non-technical. Why does everything have to go into a quadrant??? It was well done Greg, thanks!

Some of the Opportunities include:
– Increased Access
– Self Directed Learning
– Non-traditional programs
– Life Long Learning
– Budget Relief (?)
– More modern technical architecture
– Potentially better device care (ie. sense of ownership)
– Potential Power Savings

– Appropriate Use Policy
– Access for All
– Staff buy-in
– Consume vs .create
– Control
– Authentication and authorization,
– Network Prioritization

Let’s talk about Equity

Is the “Digital Divide” a big concern? There is some data that suggests increased access can minimize this. A Large divide is definitely not something we’re interested in. Equity is an interesting thing in that some school boards will not approach it unless we solve the Equity issue. Greg used some examples from the clothing industry where this is fairly prominent. Why do School Boards want to solve the equity issues for technology, when we don’t try this with other areas. Certainly we will get a wide range of technologies from the high end to the low end.

Liability and Acceptable Use
Greg asked the question about what happens when someone brings in a device with a virus and infects everyone else? Not sure this is relevant any more, with services like client isolation. If we did lock everything down, would we be able to support a variety of devices.

Seeing some un-authenticated setups, but Greg suggests we may want to have some form of authentication, so we can know (track/control) who is doing what.

Classroom Orchestration & Distraction
Some people feel that having a device will cause distraction within a classroom – hmmm, not sure. Still need some data to support this. How should parents be involved? Greg suggests that it’s extremely important for students to learn how to manage distraction.

Sometimes teachers want a “stop” button so that they can turn off the Internet, or turn off the devices so that the students are paying more attention. Is this a perceived issue or a real issue?

Greg asks what is wrong with simply asking the group to put everything down, as they have something important to cover right at the moment. Not a bad idea, but certainly is not easy for some to do. Hmmm. Todd’s note: nothing beats good supervision and good student engagement.

Do we need separate VLAN’s for staff/students?
Should we allow un-authenticated access
What is the bandwidth impact?
What about NAC/NAP? – Can’t really see it working, putting a device into a quarantine while we confirm the device is okay. Great point Greg! The complexity to make this work right, and the time required to support/implement this is more than the value we would receive.
Light MDM for student devices? Greg wasn’t sure how useful this is, but has seen some interesting ideas, like a certificate that allows the student to be authenticated in various places without constant interruption. Or perhaps a portal of sorts so that specific/useful apps could be recommended. However for staff this is a vary viable option.

Wireless Display Technology

– Works well as long as everyone as an iSomething

– Elegant physical solution
– Limited uses (Chrome browser, specific apps)

– Good physical solution
– Multiple vendors
– Seamless user experience
– Windows, Android, but no iOS

Todd’s note: Greg summarizes this really well!


“Kids need a personal computer capable of doing anything you imagine they should be able to do, plus leave plenty of room for growth and childlike ingenuity” – Gary Stager

Professional Development
Greg told a story about a teacher who said “If I’m expected to stay a step ahead of the kids, I’m going to need some serious PD!” Greg’s response was that he is a technology geek and he CAN’T stay ahead of the kids, so what makes them think they can? Plus with the variety of potential devices, it’s unlikely that specific PD on a specific piece of tech will be that helpful.

– Consent to record.
– Playback & distribution
– Likely the single most divisive technology in the classroom over the next 5-7 years.
– Banned in theatres, casinos, while driving – what about schools?

What about the parents?
– What’s the role of the parent in a BYOD world?
– Proactive vs. Reactive
– Parents likely want guidance on what device would work best for their child
– Is there an opportunity for symbolic mentoring?

Could Boards provide more information? Could they provide some extra education? Could they get support? Could they get some preferential pricing? Some of this is driven out of the Equity side, but is that all bad?

How do you measure knowledge in a world where students can look everything up online? And a better question might be “Why?” Why require memorization when some of these things can be easily referenced? Great question

Greg made an excellent presentation and asked some very good questions of us. Certainly no one has all the answers, but he encouraged us to keep asking the questions, and keep looking for solutions. He finished his presentation with a simple slide/chart of devices, and what they could do within your organization. Putting together a slide like that is NOT A BAD IDEA AT ALL!

Greg’s Final Thoughts:
– Don’t forget the user experience – just because we can virtualize X on top of Y, doesn’t mean we should
– Not all devices are equal – think BYOC, not BYOD. Don’t be afraid to say “this won’t work.”
– Does virtualizing “old style” applications make sense in a tablet world?
– The next step from a district managed environment isn’t necessarily to an environment where every app works beautifully on every device.

Great job Greg! Thanks for the very compelling presentation and excellent thought-provoking commentary!



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