Thursday, February 20, 2014

BYOD Resources

We are currently running a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) pilot in some classrooms in our high school. I am always keeping my eyes open for tools that the teachers and students can use in these settings. Not every student brings his/her own device, but all students have the ability to sign out a laptop from the library. Because of this, I look for tools that are web based so that all can participate. Many of these tools do offers apps as well. Here are just a few of the tools that we use...

  • Socrative is a student response system that works on any web enabled device. 
  • Teachers have the ability to create multiple choice, true/false, and short answer responses. Our teachers have used these as exit tickets and bell ringer exercises, as well as ways to gauge prior knowledge and to check comprehension. 
  • Activities can be created in advance or on the fly and can be student or teacher paced. 
  • Students visit or open the Socrative Student app and enter the room number provided by the teacher. 
  • After starting the activity, the teacher can watch the results live to get immediate feedback to inform instruction.
  • Results can be downloaded in an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Socrative 2.0 is in beta and has some added features.
Poll Everywhere
  • Poll Everywhere is a polling tool where a question is posed and answers can be sent via text or the web and answers appear live. The free account currently allows up to 40 responses per poll and does not allow for moderation prior to posting. 
  • If using the web, students go to and enter responses there.
  • If texting, students text their responses to a certain number the teacher provides them.
  • Our teachers use this in much the same way they use Socrative.
  • TodaysMeet is one of many backchanneling tools, but this one is super simple to set up and implement on any device that has access to the web. 
  • Our students use this to communicate during debates, videos.... at times when they want to discuss something and not interrupt the flow of what is happening in the classroom. For example, many English and History teachers use video as part of their curriculum. TodaysMeet allows for discussions to happen during the videos, for clarification purposes and for the teacher to interject important points and for both students and teachers to ask and answer questions.
  • The teacher creates a room and decides how long the room will remain open. 
  • Students join the room by going to name the teacher assigned the room) and clicking Join.
  • Chat can't be moderated in TodaysMeet like they can with some other backchanneling tools, but our teachers opt for it because of its ease of use and the fact that transcripts can be downloaded and saved.
  • This web based and app based tool allows users to create notebooks, add notes, and organize them via tags. Notes can be typed, spoken, or snapped with a camera, depending on the device capabilities.  Notes and notebooks can be synced across many devices. 
  • Many students are using this in place of traditional notebooks in the BYOD classes. In some cases students snap pictures of classroom posters, vocab lists, PowerPoint slides... and can even annotate them with Skitch. Notes can also be printed, exported, and shared.
  • In many classes students and teachers use Dropbox as a cloud-based storage space. Dropbox is web based and app based, allowing users to upload files to the cloud. 
  • Our BYOD students don't have network access on their personal devices. This tool allows them to save work if they are working on multiple devices and it allows them to get their work to a networked machine for printing purposes. Previously, students would email the work to themselves.
  • is a web based service that connects with Dropbox and serves as a virtual hand-in folder for students. 
  • Teachers create an account at and link it to Dropbox.
  • Students go to the teacher's site, enter the upload password that the teacher has created and upload their files. These files sync to the teacher's folder within the Dropbox. 

These next two are new to us and I credit Brandon Lutz, Scott Synder, and Mark Perlman for them! I attended their 60 in 60 web tools presentation at PETE and C this year. We can't wait to give them a try!


  • Mentimeter is another web based polling site. Unlike polleverywhere, texting responses is not an option.
  • The teacher creates a poll question, students go to and enter the code provided by the teacher and then complete the poll question.
  • Results do appear live.
  • The free version does NOT have any restriction on number of votes per poll, unlike the free version of Poll Everywhere.
  • Results can't be exported to Excel unless you buy a membership.
Infuse Learning
  • Infuse Learning is much like Socrative. We like the added "drawing" question feature. Students can draw responses and submit them. (draw shapes, draw chemical compounds, show how a math problem is solved.....)
  • Teachers can create classes and even upload rosters. They provide the template. 
  • Additional question types include true/false, multiple choice, sort in order, open ended text answer, numeric, and Likert Scale.

A note about our BYOD pilot....

When we started this pilot, we didn't want these devices to be used solely for googling something or typing papers. Our teachers use them to engage students in new ways! We are still trying things and looking for new resources. The technology itself is not the focus, the learning is the focus. The technology is used where it fits, where it is the right tool for the job, and where it enhances the learning. 

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