Does Every School Need a BYOD policy?

BYOD in Theory

The acronym BYOD stands for “bring your own device,” and BYOD is a current trend that is gaining popularity in many schools. Those who support BYOD do so for a few different reasons. First, they see it as a way to save money. They assume that most students already own devices, which they have a certain comfort level using. According to this logic, it is therefore unreasonable that schools should be expected to spend vasts amounts of money buying devices and training teachers to train kids how to use them.

That level of comfort students may have with their own devices is seen as a boon because in theory it eliminates the need for teachers to spend lesson time teaching students to use the devices and programs. In the article, “The Brutal Authenticity of BYOD” Terry Hick (2012) argues, “BYOD takes that and turns it upside down—or right-side up—by attempting to leverage existing assets that are natural to learners, and not subject to Draconian district policies.” Hicks believes BYOD enables schools to work around the politics and money shortages that may be plaguing their desire to incorporate technology.

The “Real” World

While BYOD sounds promising in a general way, its proponents are looking at matters from a fairly narrow field of vision. They make the claim that some kind of device is within the reach of every student in the United States, but this claim is not only wrong, it is woefully narrow-minded. My neighborhood public school probably has one of the most economically diverse student bodies imaginable. We have students who live in million dollar homes, students who face extreme poverty in tribal pueblos, and a range of students who fall in between.

Some students do own state-of-the art devices, but others have parents who cannot even afford to pay for their lunch. According to PBS Frontline between 13.4 and 16.5 million American children lives in poverty. That translates to roughly one in five kids. To claim, as Hick (2012) does, that a $50 device is within the reach of every, or even most, American children is to approach this problem from a position of absolute privilege, and it is because of such attitudes that so many kids in this country get left behind.

The power and glory of education is that it is a great leveler. But if we start demanding students engage in the practice of BYOD, we begin to chip away at that perceived equality.

Other Problems

Issues of equality aside, BYOD is problematic for other reasons. Proponents tout the benefit of having students work on devices and with programs they already feel comfortable with. They claim that lesson time spent teaching students how to use school devices and programs is wasted time. If schools are only using the devices for simple actions like conducting research, then their arguments are valid.

However, that is not how most schools use devices, or rather that is only one of the many ways schools now use devices. Besides research, students use devices to take standardized tests, and teachers may use the multitude of programs now available to enrich lessons by flipping the classroom or providing student engagement opportunities. School and classroom calendars are posted online, as are links to additional study materials.

The thing about all of these many uses, is that students will need to learn how to use them before they can actually use them. Although this may seem time-consuming, it is necessary if we want to incorporate technology in any sort of meaningful way. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that the powers that be, who make big decisions about standardized tests, will willingly allow students to use just any program rather than the one in which the actual test is housed.

There is also an issue of safety. If a school has a set of devices that have been screened and configured for their network, they have control over where students go online and what they are exposed to. Schools also have some control over what their own network is exposed to in return, in the form of viruses, malware, etc. BYOD throws all that control out the window. Yes, a student may know how to use their particular device, but schools will be hard-pressed to incorporate and manage so many unknowns in a responsible and meaningful way.

The Future of BYOD

Currently, BYOD may work for some schools, namely those in more middle class districts, but it is not likely to work everywhere. Besides being unfair to lower income students, BYOD is potentially ungainly and difficult to manage. Any resources potentially gained by eliminating training time for teachers will instead have to be funneled into paying for more IT people to manage the devices.

That said, thanks to ongoing budget cuts, BYOD may very well be the future for many schools. If this future comes to pass, schools will have to evaluate how they choose to use technology in the classroom, and decide whether they want that learning to be profound or shallow.


The Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD




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Collection III Index

IP, Friend or Foe? 

Collaborate (a Little)

Making Sense of Copyright

Fair(ish) Use

The (Creative) Commons

Work Together

Weave It

Wing It

Get Productive


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Collection III: Weave It


For this assignment I am interesting in seeing how my classmates approached the “Fair(ish) Use” assignment. I particularly enjoyed this assignment because although it allowed me to show what I had learned about fair use, it didn’t especially feel like an assignment because I was writing about something I am personally interested in. I chose to write about green chile, which appears on the menu of every restaurant in New Mexico (even fast food chains!), and is like the life-blood of the state.

Here is what I found from my classmates:

Misty McNeils did a post about Vermicomposting. I was very excited to see this because I just started my first worm compost bin a few months ago. When I was teaching myself how to do it, I looked at a lot of blog and video tutorials. I have to commend Misty for how comprehensive hers is.

She does an admirable job of explaining what vermicomposting is and of identifying the parts of the set-up. If I were to make any suggestions, they would have to do with the design of her document. Her diagram is very difficult to see because it was under some of the text and was quite small. I would have also preferred to see the supporting information, like videos, interspersed throughout the document rather than being all bunched together at the end.

Rachel LaSota wrote her post about an interesting nature-based phone app called iNaturalist. Strangely enough, this is also something I am interested in. I first found this app last year right after my move to New Mexico. I was curious about the many new species I was encountering on a daily basis, but could not always identify. I played around with the app initially, but have not thought about it much since that time. Reading Rachel’s post makes me wonder if it has improved since last year.

She does a good job of giving and overview of the program. She also does a pretty good job with the design of her document. It is easy to read and navigate. However, I would have liked to have heard more about it. She doesn’t tell us how and when she has used it. She also doesn’t provide more than an overview. I think the crux of the problem is that she is attempting to combine four assignments into one post. As a result, the elements of some are a bit short-changed. I would also suggest that she be a bit more careful with her editing, as I saw several surface errors, and reconsider her tone. An assignment submitted for a graduate level class should perhaps sound a bit more professional.

Shania Fifarek approaches this assignment from a a surprising direction by creating a video review of her favorite TV show. I applaud Shania for the fantastic job she does with both her thoughtful content and strong organization. The music works well and her speech is clear and easy to understand. It is also impressive that her video is nearly 19 minutes long!

Watching her video I wondered if she was perhaps unintentionally violating fair use with some of the clips she uses from the show. I’m not sure about the exact rules regarding length, but they seemed a little long to me. She posted an addendum saying that since posting the initial video she has been accused of violating Canadian copyright, so perhaps my instinct was correct. If I were to make any suggestions, I would encourage her to provide more of an introduction to the show itself in the text of her post, and to give more analysis of fair use as it applies to her video.

After seeing the work of my three classmates, I would argue that my own post is neither the best nor the worst. I could have been more comprehensive in my content, but I also do not have an excessive amount of surface errors. I likewise tried to pay attention to document design by spreading my outside information throughout the text. If I were to make changes, I might consider doing a video like Shania’s. I appreciated how nicely hers turned out. It definitely lent an air of professionalism to her post.

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Collection III: Work Together

Here is a video I helped to create with Jessica, Misty, and Colton. We each supplied two or three videos and Jessica helped mash them all together. She did a great job as organizer and leader.

Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship

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Collection III: Get Productive

Bullet Journal

Because I work from home and am also taking classes online, much of my day, nearly every day, is spent in front of the computer. As much as I appreciate the many tools available on the world wide web, I am also often overwhelmed and exhausted by them. For this assignment I decided to move away from technology and back to good old paper and pen.

I already keep a paper day planner, which I carry with me pretty much everywhere. I like the paper version because although there is a risk of it getting damaged, I can always access it. This is not true on my online tools, thanks to the sometimes wonky internet of rural New Mexico.

I will still continue to carry a day planner, but I am also adding a Bullet Journal to the mix. I love the way a Bullet Journal can be so many things at once. It offers me a creative outlet, while also helping me to stay organized. I can use it as a form of stress relief, and as a way to keep track of goals. I will likely still use my day planner separately to keep track of appointments and deadlines, but the Bullet Journal will be the perfect place to do things like plan my meals, track my habits, and write daily to-do lists.

My bullet journal isn’t fully filled out yet; that will take a while. I have, however, started several pages that I hope to work on through the rest of the month. At the end of the month I will reassess what I used and what I did not, and then adjust my pages accordingly. Here are some of the pages I have started:

I like the way the Bullet Journal demands that I stop and reflect before proceeding. That alone is valuable to me. I also really enjoy the way it appeals to two sides of my brain: the type A half who wants lines to be straight and pages to be orderly, and the other side that loves creativity.

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Collection III: Wing It


The objective of this assignment is to encourage dialogue between students. The dialogue can be verbal or visual, but should pertain to the course in some way.


Create an account on Padlet. Once you are on Padlet, use it to create a canvas tied in with one of the class topics, and share the canvas with the class.

Give at least four members of the class (and the instructor) editing abilities so that they can add to and enrich your canvas.

Post an announcement on the class discussion board or website so that your classmates can view and contribute to the canvas. You may need to have them send you their email addresses so you can give them editing privileges on Padlet.


I created my canvas on Padlet and gave those class members whose email addresses I could find editing privileges. I also made an announcement on our class Slack site with a link to the canvas. Anyone who would like to add to it just needs to share their email address with me.




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The (Creative) Commons


For this assignment I chose to use a Creative Commons license for my blog post “Fair(ish) Use: All Hail the Green Chile.” This is the license I chose:

Creative Commons License
Fair(ish) Use: All Hail the Green Chile by Carolyn Stice is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

I chose this particular license because my post was designed to be informative in a way that might be useful to others. Although much of the content was my own, I also incorporated images and a chart from other sources. Since I have so many sources in this post, I thought it most ethical for me to select the “non-commercial” option. Because this work is informational rather than strictly creative, I am happy to let others share or adapt it.

I also selected that option because I don’t think it is right for individuals or companies to profit from the work of others without providing compensation. I selected the “share-alike”option for the license because I like the idea of a kind of “pay-it-forward” attitude. There is no scientific or legal basis for my feeling this way, but my own sense of fairness dictates that if someone wants to use my work, I want them to be willing to allow others to use theirs too.

Two Scenarios

Proper Use

Some of the ways that my blog post could be used properly would be for someone to link to or cite from my page on their own site. So long as I was given credit as a source, and so long as my content was not used commercially, the person would be following the parameters of the license.

Improper Use

An improper use of my information might be for a person to use it without giving credit or for the person to use it commercially. If that person were to use my page to, advertise their chile business, for example, and that advertisement resulted in profit, they would be out of line.

However, I am not sure what steps I could take beyond contacting a lawyer. Since I would be on the side of the prosecution, it would fall to me and my lawyer to show that their actions were out of the parameters allowed by the license and used commercially, resulting in some kind of profit. The legal fees would likely cost more than I would gain in reparations, unless the offender was a very large company.

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Fair(ish) Use: All Hail the Green Chile

[This informational post was developed as an exercise in fair use.]

All Hail the Green Chile

Before I moved to NM, I had only a vague understanding of chilies and of their uses. Even when I lived in El Paso, TX, just over the boarder from NM, and saw a few roasters set up, I didn’t understand. It just all seemed like a strange regionalism.

But then I moved to NM last summer and within a month I became a convert to the cult of the green chile.


The NM green chile was initially developed by Dr. Fabian Garcia, a university horticulturist, in 1894 using fourteen different species from across NM, southern CO, and native American communities. The species developed by Garcia was larger, smoother, and fleshier, making it ideal for canning.

[The above information is summarized from Wikipedia. I am using it as research.]

Chilies come in many shapes and sizes, and are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but the NM chili is a different thing entirely. Green chilies are what separates Mexican and New Mexican foods. It comes in four levels in heat, ranging from mild to tongue scorching. Hatch is the most famous variety, but there are many others that can be found around the state. The following chart describes some of the chile varieties:

Cultivar Description Length Width Scoville heat units
Conquistador A very mild non pungent pepper, green before ripening into a red color. 6.5 inches (17 cm) 0
Eclipse Part of the Sunrise, Sunset, and Eclipse pepper line; Eclipse matures into a brown color. 5.11 inches (13.0 cm) 1.92 inches (4.9 cm) 300 ~ 500
R Naky Developed by Dr. Roy Nakayama in 1985, from a mix of the Rio Grande, 6-4, and Bulgarian Paprika. 5.5 inches (14 cm) 500 ~ 1,000
Sunrise Part of the Sunrise, Sunset, and Eclipse pepper line; Sunrise matures into an orange color. 7.08 inches (18.0 cm) 1.46 inches (3.7 cm) 500 ~ 1,000
Española An old chile pepper, has a slightly stronger pungent and bitter flavor and matures early to red, first grown by the Spanish settlers in the San Juan Valley, near modern-day Española. 4.92 inches (12.5 cm) 1.50 inches (3.8 cm) 1,500 ~ 2,000
Española Improved Hybridization of the Sandia and the Española pepper. Provides Española’s taste and early maturing, with a better yield, and larger peppers. 6 inches (15 cm) 1.75 inches (4.4 cm) 1,500 ~ 2,000
Joe E. Parker Thicker walled 6-4, with a heat variance based on growing conditions. 6.50 inches (16.5 cm) 2 inches (5.1 cm) 1,500 ~ 4,500
Heritage 6-4 A 200-seed sample of the original “New Mexico 6-4”, obtained from the Plant Germplasm Preservation Research Unit (PGPRU) at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The PGPRU received the seed in 1962 and placed it in cryogenic storage. The flavor of the plant was rehabilitated from these seeds. 6.70 inches (17.0 cm) 3.70 inches (9.4 cm) 1,559
6-4 An heirloom variety developed by Dr. Fabian Garcia. 6.60 inches (16.8 cm) 3.80 inches (9.7 cm) 1,786

[This chart was taken from Wikipedia: The amount used is appropriate for favored educational purposes.]


Roasting time comes in early Fall. Anywhere you drive around a populated area, you will quickly smell the aroma of roasting chilies.  The NM green chili is so much more than those tiny cans you might see on the grocery store shelves in your home town. During roasting time, people in NM buy chilies by the 25 lb case!

[This picture is used to make a comment.]

Chilies can be roasted at home in an oven, but during harvest season, most people have their chilies roasted all at once, right after they purchase them. During this process the are placed in a cylindrical metal cage drum over propane fueled flames.

[This picture is important to favored educational objectives.]

The drum is turned, either by hand or mechanically so that the chilies tumble over one another as they roast. This insures that they are heated on every side. The chilies are ready to be removed when the the skins have a fairly even blister, which will make it easy to peel the chilies.

Here is a picture of freshly roasted, unpeeled chile:

[This picture is non-fiction based.]

And one of roasted chile that have been peeled:

[This picture is a published work.]


Once you have lived in NM and become ingrained in the cult of the green chile, it is difficult to imagine life without it. They are incorporated into pretty much any kind of food you could imagine, from savory to sweet. Here are some of my favorite ways to eat green chilies:




[These pictures are important to favored educational objectives.]


I could add many other items to this list, like salsa, of course, pinto beans, tacos, and the blackberry green chile pie I invented last year. The point is, the NM green chile is versatile,  beautiful, and delicious. Many people try to fill their freezers during harvest time, but that is not always enough to last a year. Thankfully the grocery stores, even the tiniest ones, are well-stocked.

[This picture is a published work.]

When you visit a grocery store here, those tiny cans do no exist. Instead, you will find quart sized containers in the freezer section.  The containers are so large because the green chili is the flavor of the state. It is an essential part of the palette, culture, and history of NM.

[NOTE: Each of the pictures used came from a different source, so the majority of work by any one person was not used. ]


Creative Commons License
Fair(ish) Use: All Hail the Green Chile by Carolyn Stice is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Making Sense of Copyright

This timeline is designed to give a brief overview of copyright history. The intended audience would be students who are interested in learning about the highlights of this topic.

The embedded PDF has two pages, one with the general timeline and a second with more detailed information.


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Week 8: What game have you seen that could help students learn, and how might it be used?

Game Based Learning

When we think of game based learning, we might think in particular of K-12 students. There are many games for this group of students, for all subjects. Minecraft, for example, has been growing in popularity, and now has many educational applications.

Game based learning at the college level, however, can be a little more complicated. While it is fairly straightforward to apply to certain subjects like engineering or political science, applying it becomes decidedly more difficult when we are dealing with the humanities. English classes are particularly challenging.

After conducting some research on games for college-level courses, I found one described in a blog by Monika Semma that looks especially promising. The following excerpt is taken directly from her site:

Pass the “mic”

As an instructor, it’s amazing how much information you can gather from a student-centered review session. Specifically, leaving the review in the hands of your students can give you an easy and thorough assessment of what is being absorbed in class and what is being left by the wayside The more interactive the review session, the more you’ll see where your class is struggling and the more comfortable students will become with course material. Here’s how to incorporate some fun into your standard review:

* A week before the review, ask students to email you two to five key terms or theories that they feel they need to brush up on.  Take all that data and compress it until you have a solid working list of what students want to review most and what your savvy professor-senses are telling you that your students need to work on.

* In class, provide students with visual access to the list (I found writing all the terms on a chalkboard to be most effective). Instruct the class to have their notes out in front of them, with a pad of paper or blank word document at their fingertips and encourage them to take notes as the review is in progress.

* Using a trinket of sorts (I highly recommend a plush ball) as a “microphone” helps to give students equal opportunity to direct the review without putting individuals on the spot too aggressively. The rules are simple: she or he who holds the “mic” can pick one term from the list and using their notes, can offer up what they already know about the term or concept, what they are unsure of, or what they need more elaboration on.

* Actively listen to the speaker and give them some positive cues if they seem unsure; it’s okay to help them along the way, but important to step back and let this review remain student-centered. Once the speaker has said their piece, open the floor to the rest of the class for questions or additional comments. If you find that the discussion has taken a departure from the right direction, re-center the class and provide further elaboration if need be.

* Erase each term discussed from the list as you go, and have the speaker pass (or throw) on the “mic” to a fellow classmate, and keep tossing the ball around after each concept/term is discussed

Students will have a tendency to pick the terms that they are most comfortable speaking about and those left consistently untouched will give you a clear assessment of the areas in which your class is struggling. Once your class has narrowed down the list to just a few terms, you can switch gears into a more classic review session.  Bringing a bit of fun into a review can help loosen things up during exam time, when students and teachers alike, are really starting to feel the pressure.


I think this game would be a good fit for a college level English class for several reasons. To begin with, I like the way it allows the professor to “flip” the class. When students are asked to send in a list of topics they have found challenging, the professor is really getting the students to begin the process of questioning their subject understanding and reflecting upon it.

By asking students to submit the list, you are also engaging them in a way they might not expect. They will come to class wondering what others have submitted and whether the professor will include their submission.

Secondly, I like the idea of questioning the students in a “secure” way. What I mean is that although students are being assessed, they may not realize this is truly the case because the assessment does not feel “formal.” By allowing students to use their notes, they are able to concentrate on the activity rather than worrying about a grade.

Finally, I really like the way this activity gives the instructor a clear picture of what concepts need to be covered in greater depth in future lessons. It is often difficult for an instructor to accurately gauge student knowledge, especially in a formal, large group setting. This game provides the information the instructor needs without putting undo pressure on the students.


3 Fun Classroom Activities to Inspire Undergraduate Learning

Simply engaging and utterly consuming: #Givercraft 2014

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