Luddites in Education

According to Wikipedia, “Luddites were 19th-century English textile workers who protested newly developed labour-economizing technologies from 1811 to 1816.”  Today, the term “Luddite” is often used to describe individuals who oppose the changes that technology brings. 

The act of teaching is an art that dedicated educators are consistently striving to improve, hone and perfect.  Because educators invest so much of themselves into their profession, change is not always welcomed.

The topic for #byotchat on Thursday, May 7, 2015 will be “Luddites in Education.”  Join us on Twitter at 9PM ET using the hashtag #byotchat.



Back Again on May 7

All of us on the #BYOTchat team are swamped this week with other commitments.  We will be back again on Thursday, May 7.  As always, keep using #BYOTchat on Twitter to share your thoughts and ideas!

BYO-Question Night

A great part of being on Twitter is developing a PLN that you can turn to when you have a question. On Thursday, April 23, #BYOTchat will host “BYO-Question Night.” (Knowing the crazy sense of humor of some our PLN members, this will be fun!) Join us with your BYOT questions, solutions, and suggestions.



9:00 PM ET

Thursday, April 23

Student Publishing & Target Audiences

Imagine, if you will, that two 5th Grade teachers are tasked with teaching the American Revolution. It’s not hard to do, it’s part of the official curriculum here in Maryland. (Residents of other countries may of course substitute the American Revolution for a culturally significant historical event of their choosing. I’m going with what I know here.)

The American Revolution (Paper cutouts are optional.)

The first teacher assigns a research report, allowing students to select a topic from an approved list. The twist is that students each write their “report” in the first person, from the perspective of someone who would have been alive at the time of the American Revolution.

The lesson goes over well. Students submit their work to the teacher, who then grades it and hands it back. If the students are lucky, maybe their reports are hung on the wall in their classroom.

The 2nd teacher assigns the same project … sort of. Rather than submitting their work to their teacher they post it to Edmodo, a website that allows work to be submitted in a safe, moderated environment. The “reports” are posted in such a way that other students may comment on them, BUT they have to reply in character. Celebrity guests (George Washington, Ben Franklin, etc. … making an account in Edmodo is free and the user name doesn’t have to match the display name) might appear and offer comments as well.

Students reply to the replies, then get replies in return. Classroom time is not spent reading reports aloud, but on class discussion about why their character would reply the way they did.

Suddenly it’s not a report. It’s a conversation. It’s role-playing. It’s engaging.


As an art teacher I frequently remind my students to focus on their target audience. I will routinely remind them that in my classroom, the target audience is frequently me. This isn’t wrong, I’m the one assessing their work. It’s been this way in my classes (and I imagine many others as well) for as long as I’ve been a teacher. If students make something that has what I’m looking for (as shown in my provided rubric, of course…), it’s going to get a higher score.

But it doesn’t always have to be about me – or at least not just me. Once the target audience is expanded, particularly when students are given proof that it’s expanded, they become a lot more interested in performing. This is true with text, games, audio, video, and anything else with an audience.

At my Creative & Performing Arts Academy I’ve seen countless OK rehearsals (we have high standards) followed by phenomenal performance nights. Why? Mom, Dad, Grandma Josephina, and Grandpa Joe were in the audience, and they knew it.

Now imagine that same 5th grade class posted their “reports” to a WordPress Blog, and historical reenactors were contacted online and asked to comment in character.

Imagine instead that the students made a news show covering the Boston Tea Party and posted it to YouTube.

Imagine instead that the subject wasn’t the American Revolution, but a novel and the author was asked to provide feedback.

Imagining is only the first step. Now decide what comes next and join the conversation at 9PM EST this Thursday, April 16th in the #BYOTchat tag on Twitter.

#byotchat LIVE on @periscopeEDU – April 9

On April 9, 2015 Katrina Keene @teachintechgal ( will be our guest moderator. Katrina will be lead us in a discussion of “BYOT Perspectives- Private VS Public Schools”

Join #byotchat LIVE on @periscopeEDU talking BYOT Perspectives- Private VS Public Schools. The chat will begin at 9PM ET.

Don’t miss it! 

The Passback Effect of Mobile Learning

A child’s first device isn’t always their own. Children often have their first device passed back to them when they are in the back seat of the car. This keeps them occupied while the parents are driving. We have also seen young children being handed mobile technology tools while they are in grocery stores, restaurants, and anywhere else that a fussy toddler needs a distraction. What are these children doing on the devices? What are the results of the Passback Effect? I recently blogged about the Passbook Effect, and @Hayes_EdTech suggested it as a chat topic. Join the #byotchat team in Twitter on Thursday, April 2, 2015, at 9 PM ET to discuss the Passback Effect. Come prepared with your questions and ready to share your ideas!


The Role of Parents in a BYOT School

Parental involvement is a key factor regarding a child’s success in school. This week, #BYOTchat will discuss the role that parents play in the success of their child in a BYOT school.

Please join Tim Clark, Nathan Stevens, and myself on Thursday, March 19 at 9PM ET to share your thoughts and views on the role that parents play in a BYOT school.

Second Language Learning with BYOT

So many of our schools have student where English is not their first language. How do we deal with devices in other other language? How do we include these students in the discussion and have their voices heard equally? Join us Thursday March 12th to discuss this topic on #BYOTchat

Designing a Media Center for the Digital Age

Join #BYOTchat in Twitter on Thursday, February 26, 2015, at 9 PM ET, as guest moderator Diana Rendina leads our discussion in how to design a media center for the digital age!
Here are some of Diana’s thoughts on this subject…
The lives of our students are dramatically different from when we were their age.  Information is available at the touch of a button; resources we couldn’t even imagine twenty years ago can now be found with a swipe.  The way our students discover and access information has completely transformed.
Unfortunately, our library media centers haven’t changed much.  We’ve added computer labs and gotten rid of the card catalog, but other than that, they tend look pretty much the same.  Stacks of books, heavy, immobile furniture,  oppressive circulation desks and limited power supplies.  Even if your school doesn’t have a budget for renovation, there’s still a lot of creative ways to go about changing our spaces to fit our students’ digital needs.  Join the discussion of rethinking how we use our library spaces and get started on redesigning your space for the digital age.
Find out more by dropping in on #byotchat and visiting Diana’s blog at

A Discussion on Net Neutrality

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 1.41.40 PMOn February 26, the FCC will vote to “… reclassify “broadband Internet access service”—that’s the retail broadband service Americans buy from cable, phone, and wireless providers—as a telecommunications service under Title II.” (1)

The FCC also emphasizes three bright-line rules:

  1. No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

  2. No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

  3. No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration – in other words, no “fast lanes” – including fast lanes for affiliates.(1)

#BYOTchat works on the principle that educators can learn more if they work together. Join us on Thursday, February 19, 2015  at 9PM EST in #byotchat in Twitter to discuss net neutrality.

Please invite individuals from both sides of the debate to participate in the chat.  We want our assumptions to be challenged and to learn from each other.

(1) “Chairman Wheeler Proposes New Rules for … – FCC.” 2015. 15 Feb. 2015 <>