Exploring "Bring Your Own Technology" and Project-Based Learning

Quiet and the Ideal Classroom


I am reading a interesting book, recommended to me by my daughter, a fellow introvert, that has me wondering about the best learning environment for all students.  BYOT and collaboration sound fun and exciting, but what about the quiet students, like me, that prefer to work alone?  In my mind, I imagine the perfect classroom boasting a lively atmosphere, filled with energetic groups of students questioning, talking, laughing, and learning.  But, is this the ideal classroom for all students?  For example, I recently attended a BYOT training with other teachers in my district.  I was excited about the training because I plan to begin BYOT with my own students next fall and I want to be as prepared as possible.  In addition, in the midst of summer break I miss my friends and the social interaction of work.  The training was great: a mixture of modeling the technology, discussions, and time to practice.  However, during the training I was distracted and somewhat fascinated by what other teachers were doing; I found my mind spinning with possibilities and questions, but without any direction or idea of where to begin.  At that point, if I had been trying to complete a project, meet a deadline, or collaborate with friends I would have been frustrated and hopelessly lost.  My contribution to the group would have been to amen any reasonable suggestions, volunteer to complete any independent,  behind-the-scenes work, and escape as soon as possible.  As it was, I was able to come home, relax with my dogs, and let things percolate awhile before taking any action.  Over the next few days, I started this blog, made friends with Twitter, toyed with the technology, researched on the net, and entertained plans for next year.  So, my own experience and reading Quiet has helped me realize that I am not alone in my work preferences and habits.  Some students, perphaps even middle school students, are most productive and creative when given quiet time and space to ponder, reflect, and create.  How can I use BYOT to provide a peaceful environment for these students while simultaneously allowing other students to work in meaningful collaborative groups?   Today I have more questions than answers, but surprisingly, I am okay with that dilemma.

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