Personal preferences …

Within any ‘BYOD’ class there is wide variation in the quality of students’ engagement with devices – something that is not immediately apparent when observing classes. In a mass of twenty-five students, one device quickly begins to resemble another. Yet the capacity of each individual student’s device can be dramatically different. Take the example of our observations in Lakeside. One student who was in a number of classes that we participated in, was noticeable for her tendency to slowly poke and prod her laptop with one finger. On closer inspection, it turned out that she had flipped the device around and configured it to work with an upside-down keyboard on the touch-screen. Although we spoke with her on a few occasions about what she was doing, the reasons for this inversion were never adequately explained. Her physical keyboard functioned well enough, but she reckoned simply that she ‘preferred it this way’. This was no one-off act of adolescent contrariness, as this student seemed to be using her device in this manner during our entire time in the school. This was a student who was ‘bringing her own device’ (and personalizing ways of engaging with it) … albeit in ways that were clearly not assisting her learning.