St Anthony's Bring Your Own Designated Device (BYODD) Program

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Parent Information

"We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world." – David Warlick

Technology, like pen and paper, is a tool.  Because it has the potential to be such a powerful learning tool, our children need to be confident and competent users of technology. 

Rationale

At the recent 2017 Archdiocesan, Yearn to Learn Conference, it was made abundantly clear by every keynote speaker and the new Director Mr Ross Fox that children learn best when their learning is self-driven and it is supported by the teacher.  ICT is one of the most powerful tools that exists in relation to connecting a learner to information and experiences.  

Educational Goals for Young Australians in the Melbourne Declaration state:

‘Successful learners……. – develop their capacity to learn and play an active role in their own learning – have the essential skills in literacy and numeracy and are creative and productive users of technology, especially ICT, as a foundation for success in all learning areas.’

We cannot ignore the development of technology and the opportunities it affords our students to create, communicate, solve problems and work collaboratively across all learning areas at school.

In order to offer opportunities for our students, St Anthony’s Executive and School Board have identified ICT as a key area for development in our school management plans. At the end of 2016, the school and the Catholic Education Office provided significant funding to upgrade the cabling and WIFI infrastructure necessary to support the wide range use of devices to access the internet.  This infrastructure has been tested during term 1 of 2017 with teachers and classes accessing the Internet successfully.

Why are we introducing a BYODD program to St Anthony’s?

Researchers point to the importance of the 4C’s of 21st Century learning. Tucker (2014) suggests that by including Communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation into their practice teachers will assist students for their role in the world and support them in developing the capacity to cope with accelerated technological change. This perception is supported by Donovan, Green and Mason (2014) who argue that the 4C’s ‘are learning and innovation skills necessary to prepare students for increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world’.

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Whilst most of us grew up in a 20th Century education environment our students and children do not and will not.  The world of their future is vastly interconnected, dynamic and highly collaborative, where knowledge, ideas and answers are accessible with a few taps on a keyboard or screen.  We see this now in the way children learn and play in a digital environment.  Whilst we don’t discard the styles of play and learning in our past we must also recognise the future they belong to.  It is an exciting time and we have a responsibility to ensure our students have the capacity to navigate that future.  That world is a largely digital world.  It will include:

  • Inquiry-based learning: where students research, curate, analyse and present information and understandings in response to complex questions;
  • Dynamic, ongoing learning: where knowledge is easily accessible and expanding all the time. Learning is no longer limited by the classroom walls, access to a library or the knowledge of a teacher;
  • Connection and collaboration: digital technologies connect us all across the globe in both the world of work as well as fun. The ability to collaborate is going to be a highly sought after capacity for most future occupations;
  • Expanded civic life: digital technology users are viewers, critics and commentators of the world around them. They will be active in their immediate communities as well as become involved in political and social initiatives around the world.  They will become co-creators of their world.
  • Creativity: watch a child play Minecraft or make an iMovie and you will see that the world of tomorrow involves creativity, design thinking and a little entrepreneurship.
    Digital stories, eBooks, virtual museums, video journals, news broadcasts, and interactive games are creative ways in which the children can learn and make their own presentations.
  • Student-centred learning: every child learns differently with a unique set of strengths and capacities. Today’s technologies assist those with particular challenges to present their learning and understandings in ways that do not limit their communication.

 

Practical Considerations

The reason St Anthony’s has decided to have a BYODD program that designates the device we would like parents to purchase is so that the teachers and students are all using the same device.  This avoids problems with teachers spending valuable class time assisting children with a number of devices which may have different capabilities and user functions.   St Anthony’s teachers and the ICT Facilitator have gathered knowledge by attending conferences, visiting various schools and talking to Catholic Education experts. We have decided for practical reasons that having a standard device with a base model and a more upmarket model with more functions, is the optimum situation for the classroom environment.  Either model will perform the tasks required.  In late 2016 the decision was made to purchase 70 Chromebooks.  These devices have been used extensively across years 2-6 and have proved to be a reliable and flexible classroom device.  The price-point for these devices is attractive. (This is due to the low need for internal memory as much of the work and apps are stored within the student’s cloud accounts. The Chromebooks also do not require any additional virus software protection either. Many of the apps, particularly the Google Suite apps are free and accessible by the students at all times and on a range of platforms.) The Catholic Education Office has an agreement with Google in relation to information storage and given the size and scope of Google we believe that their Google classroom platform is only going to improve.

Our BYODD program, alongside school-provided access to technologies, also better enables St Anthony’s to:

  • implement the Australian Curriculum: Technologies strands;
  • embed the Australian Curriculum General Capability: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across all aspects of the curriculum;
  • increase equitable access and participation for all students in all aspects of the curriculum;
  • more effectively implement NAPLAN testing regime across Year 3 and Year 5;
  • prepare students for ethical participation and active citizenship in the digital world of the future.

Implementation

We have targetted year 4 as our BYODD grade, with the view that children in this grade would then have use of their Chromebook for three years and potentially into their early high school years as well.  Given the rapid changes in devices and technology most devices have a life expectancy of around 5 years (As per Google’s ‘end of life policy).  Years 2, 3, 5 and 6 parents may of course choose to purchase a Chromebook for their child, should they wish, as the devices are being used extensively in these classes and their child will certainly benefit from one to one access to the device.

Responsibilities

Expectations of Students

  • The St Anthony’s user agreement is discussed and signed with students and parents prior to use of ICT in the classroom. This is not a contract for the students but simply a recognition of their role within the digital realm.
  • Students bring their Chromebooks to school each day fully charged and take them home each day.
  • Students keep all electronic communication school related. During instructional activities, electronic communication is to be solely related to the activity at hand.  No non-school related e-communication is allowed during the school day.  The Chromebook is in no way to be used to bully, or harass other students or teachers.
  • It is the student’s responsibility in consultation with their teacher to manage their files. This will help to avoid the loss of school related data.

Expectations for Parents

  • Parents are the ultimate administrators responsible for the Chromebook. Suppliers have warranties and insurance add-ons and accessories such as protective cases that are available. The purchase of options are the sole choice and responsibility of the parents.  However, we strongly recommend that a protective case be purchased for the travel between home and school. If the device is broken or stolen, it is the parents who bear responsibility according to the negotiated conditions with the supplier. School insurance does not cover family owned devices.
  • Charging of the device on a daily basis is the responsibility of parents along with the child.
  • Google Classroom allows parents to access and monitor their child’s content on a daily or weekly basis. This allows transparency of what the students are doing and learning.
  • Ensuring that the device is not used for online bullying/harassment
  • It is recommended that parents are aware of their child’s password and that it is not changed without their consent. This is to ensure that parents have access to, and visibility of everything that their child is doing on the Chromebook.  It also ensures that the children are not locked out of their Chromebook if their child forgets or incorrectly types the password.

Expectations for St Anthony’s

  • We will provide students with a safe place for the storage of the Chromebook during non-class hours, to avoid damage and theft. Chromebooks will not leave the classrooms during recess and lunch.  Rooms will be locked when the class is not in attendance.
  • Providing the students with access to a secure, filtered internet connection.
  • Educating the children in regard to online bullying/harassment and the potential impact and consequences of these types of behaviours for the victim and the
  • Students will receive ongoing instruction on Digital Citizenship. The User Agreement is in place for those students who do not comply with the requirements of being a responsible use of ICT.
  • Balancing the appropriate use of the Chromebook with other educational tasks and methods of learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will my child be using this device?
Children will:
-access teaching and learning materials in the shared Google Classroom;
-research and curate relevant information and objects related to the topic of inquiry for History, Geography, Health, Civics and Citizenship etc;
-use audio and video aps and programs to present ideas and demonstrate their learning and understandings;
-collaborate with others in real-time on shared pieces of work;
-use digital tools and spaces to communicate and collaborate with peers and teachers;
-Create and design their own content. ‘Research finds that students learn more when they use technology to create new content themselves, rather than being the recipients of content designed by others’. Zielezinski & Darling-Hammond, 2014

Will my child be disadvantaged if I do not purchase a Chromebook for his/her use?
St Anthony’s has a commitment that all children will have access to ICT in order to meet the requirements of the curriculum.  This may involve sharing a computer or having rotations whereby small groups work with a limited number of computers.  The advantage of having one to one access is that each child has automatic access to the internet.  Teachers can work with large groups or even the entire class at one time. Children can physically pick up their computer and go to another workspace. Work can be posted online and children can work on it when and where they like.

What software should the device contain?
On future occasions there may be some Apps that the school would like purchased for your child’s Chromebook.  Teachers and the ICT Facilitator will contact parents and explain the purpose and if any costs are associated with the installation of these Apps.

What support will be provided for the use of the device?
St Anthony’s will assist your child in his/her basic usage of the device with troubleshooting and sorting out minor technical issues, however parents (through the supplier warranty) will be responsible for any major hardware issues that may arise with the device.

How do I manage my child’s usage at home?
BYODD is a partnership between school and home.  Ultimately the parents are the administrator and the device may be used at home in whatever capacity the parents see fit. BYODD is built upon trust and responsibility at home and school, the child needs to know that s/he is a responsible user who can be trusted with the device.  At school there is an Acceptable Use Policy.  At home it is the parent’s responsibility to set the parameters of acceptable use that they are comfortable with.  If parents have a concern with a school related task being done at home, then they should talk to their child’s teacher.

Will the use of the device cause disease or damage to my child’s eyes?
‘Computer screens have been blamed for a wide range of health problems.  However, there is no evidence that screens cause disease or permanent damage to eyes’. (Australian Government Comcare 2012). Good classroom pedagogy ensures that children will not be sitting at their computer for long periods of time.

How will my child identify his/her device?
The use of personalized computer covers, name labels, stickers and other identifying marks and the personalised Google Classroom logon page will identify your child’s device by simply opening the screen.

How safe is online collaboration?
The educational value of collaboration is well documented in research literature.  At school level, we are able to safe guard the student’s work through the advanced filtering system provided by our Catholic Education IT department.

Do I need virus protection?
No. The Google suite of apps is highly protected.  The school will advise you if there is any change in regard to this. Google states that they provide 24/7 support. Virus protection is built in, and the operating system stays up to date automatically.

How will teachers cope with the technology?
Teachers are the learning experts in the classroom, so technical proficiency is of less importance than pedagogical proficiency.  St Anthony’s staff have already attended Professional Learning in the use of Chromebooks.  We have appointed a dedicated IT Facilitator for two days per week.   St Anthony’s staff are already committed learners and we will continue to focus on relevant professional learning in the area of ICT.  The children themselves and parents are also great resources in this area.

What content security will be in place?
At school all outside connectivity is monitored through the schools internet filtering system when using their Catholic Education Google account.  Thus blocking access to inappropriate material.  Parents would need to monitor home use the same way they currently monitor home computer access.

Can students access social media?
All social media sites have an age limit of 13 years and are therefore blocked by the school’s filtering system.

Are parents still required to pay the technology levy as a part of the school fees?
Yes.  The technology fee is an important source of funding that allows the school to maintain all areas of technology access, including infrastructure costs, security and other resources.

How much time is spent on the Chromebook each day in class?
This will vary on how the teacher and student decide to use the device to support their learning.  A range of mediums may be used (eg. Chromebook, iPad, iMac) for creating a presentation, story writing, using a dictionary, referring to the bible, internet searching for various items, collaborating on a task or downloading information/photos to use.  The potential is endless; however, the technology is simply a tool to support the learning.

Will my child stop handwriting?
Chromebooks complement what children are doing in the classroom rather than replacing key elements of learning such as handwriting.  At times students will type notes and publish work on their Chromebooks, however it is not the primary use of the Chromebook and students will not be permitted to do this all the time.  Handwriting will remain an integral part of the curriculum.

Where can I purchase a suitable Chromebook?

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We recommend two particular devices on the Order Portal . You are of course free to use any supplier you choose and negotiate a better price.

How will the school evaluate success?
The effectiveness of the program will be evaluated in the same way in which all educational programs are evaluated.  Qualitative data will come from classroom observation and the engagement of the student.  Quantitative data will come from how well the students achieve the learning outcomes set by the teacher based on the curriculum.

If you have a problem with your child’s use of his/her Chromebook or require further information or clarification on any of the above information, please contact the school.

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the support and advice of the IT Staff Catholic Education Office and the Principals and staff of:

  • St Benedict’s Primary School Narrabundah
  • St Clare of Assisi Primary School Calwell
  • St Joseph’s P-6 School O’Connor
  • St Michael’s Primary School Kaleen

References

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in Schools 2013 Literature Review NSW Department of Education and Communities, 2013 https://www.det.nsw.edu/policies/technology/computers/mobile-devices/BYOD_2013_Literature_Review.pdf

Bring Your Own Device Guide – Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning, Canada, 2014
http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/docs/support/byod/document.pdf

Bring your own technology: The Effect of student owned technology on student engagement – Boyd, WP, 2015
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1695806652?accountid=16285