Inaburra has adopted a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) approach for students in Years 5-12. This program is supported by an experienced ICT team who ensure appropriate and responsible use of technology in the classroom. Please find below the BYOT Guidelines and Appropriate Use of ICT at Inaburra.
1. Is my child required to bring a mobile ICT device to school?
2. What sort of technology is suitable?
We believe that students should use the device with which they are most comfortable and with which learning will be most effective. Recognising the importance of choices, we are not recommending specific brands and models of ICT devices. We have prepared a list of devices in this document, which is also available on the website outlining the strengths and weaknesses of various devices for the learning activities in which the students will be engaged.
3. What about smart phones?
Under the BYOT policy, the use of smart phones for learning activities would be permissible, but the smart phone has limitations that make it unsuitable to be the main BYOT device. Students are not allowed to use the 3G/4G capabilities of the phone to access the Internet (including hot spotting or tethering), as it is bypassing the school’s filter.
4. What about the physical safety of the device at school?
As with other equipment, individual students are responsible for their own property at school. Common sense would suggest that students ensure their devices have protective cases or coverings. Parents are advised to make their own insurance arrangements and cover for accidental damage. The School will not take responsibility for accidental damage to student property, nor do our insurance policies cover it. We will continue to refine our practices for the security of devices at school.
5. How can I protect my child's device against theft?
It would be sensible to ensure that your child’s property is named through engraving or other indelible marking (please clarify that this does not void the warranty before getting your device engraved). Different devices also have different options for locating them when they’re missing. For example, any iOS device (iPhone, iPad) has a built-in service called “Find my iPhone/iPad” that can help locate the device on a map if it is enabled before the device is lost. Likewise, software is available for laptops that can enable them to be located when missing. One such product is Absolute Software’s LoJack for Laptops. Absolute Software also provide the services of a Theft Recovery Team that will work with local law enforcement to assist in the recovery of a stolen laptop, along with many other features.
6. Won’t this make my child’s schoolbag heavier?
We are conscious of the issue of bag weight, particularly for our younger students. We are reviewing some different approaches that may help us to keep the weight down, including moving to electronic textbooks. However, it would be wise to consider weight and size when choosing a device with your child; tablets and lighter laptops are significantly lighter than full-size laptops. We recommend that the weight of the device is less than 2kg.
7. Will the students’ use of the internet be monitored at school?
All student usage of the school’s network and internet connection is filtered. Their complete web history is also logged and able to be tracked. Parents need to be aware that if they provide their child with a device with direct 3/4G access, the school is unable to filter, log and monitor the student’s usage.
8. Will students be able to recharge their device during the day?
We are discouraging students from planning to recharge at school; power cords/chargers can be a WHS hazard and they add extra weight to school bags. For this reason, battery life is key in choosing technology. Students will need to cultivate the habit of charging their device overnight.
9. What policies and structures will guide the students’ use of ICT?
The basic protocol is that the students’ use of ICT will take place only with a teacher’s explicit authorisation. Students should refer to the School’s Acceptable Use of ICT Guidelines that outline our expectations of students.
10. Won’t this lead to an increase of cyber-bullying and inappropriate behaviour?
We have developed a comprehensive Home Group program that looks to empower students to be good cyber citizens in the modern world.
11. What if my child doesn’t bring their own technology? Will they be disadvantaged?
The School will continue to provide the same level of ICT resource that it does at the moment. In classes when specialist software is required (Visual Arts, Media, Computing etc), the School will continue to provide computers for student usage. Our hope is that, in time, all students in Years 5-12 will be able to bring their own technology.
12. Won’t technology become a status symbol amongst students?
This is certainly possible. We live in a culture that constantly makes status symbols out of possessions, so it is unlikely that our technology will be exempt from the same fate. Hopefully, as we continue to model and commend values that place character over possessions and virtues over bling, we can help young people to be aware of the shallow and fleeting nature of status symbols. There are better ways to be human than to think that life is about possessions.
13. Won’t students just be staring at screens all day?
No. Firstly, ICT is a tool that teachers and students will use only some of the time; it is not suitable for every aspect of learning. Secondly, we will maintain our present practice of requiring technology to be switched off and out of sight at recess and lunch. Face to face interaction and physical activity are the priorities in these unstructured times that we are gathered at the school.
14. My child struggles with organisation as it is; how will they manage electronic files and documents as well?
The School has prepared a Tech KNOW curriculum that will help students to use ICT effectively for their learning. This will involve resources and lessons that equip students with a recommended set of practices for the storage and management of ICT-related learning, including basics such as managing files and backing up work. Students will be assisted to implement these recommended practices through formal lessons and informal support.
15. How do we know the students won’t just be playing Angry Birds and using Facebook in class?
The reality is that ICT does provide the potential for multiple distractions. All of us face the challenge of developing self-control in avoiding these distractions; in fact, you could make a case that this is a vital skill for the 21st Century workplace. School and home both have a role to play in helping young people to self-regulate in these areas.
16. Didn’t the government provide a lot of money for students to have computers?
The Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution (DER) program, initiated in 2008, was designed to ensure that all students in Years 9-12 had access to a computer. Different schools deployed these funds in different ways. Inaburra purchased computers (both laptops and desktops) that are made available to students at the school as needed for learning activities. This program has worked successfully for us. Many schools that chose an alternative path of issuing laptops to individual students are now trying to work out what to do now that the laptops are becoming obsolete and no further money for computers is expected from the government.
17. Why doesn’t the school provide computers for the students?
If the school was to provide computers for students, parents would ultimately be paying for them through increased school fees anyway, since the federally-funded DER program has come to an end. In addition, there would be significant inefficiencies and extra costs involved, which would also be reflected in school fees. It makes more sense for families to purchase the technology that best suits their circumstances, budgets and needs. We also consider it likely that students will exercise more care and responsibility in looking after their own property.
18. What about students in Years K-4?
The school has recently increased the number of resources in this section of the school to better integrate technology into the curriculum. Students in Kindergarten to Year 2 have access to iPads for learning. We have recently commenced a school provided Chromebook program for students in Years 2 – 4.
19. Are we getting rid of pen and paper?
No. Apart from anything else, the HSC credential still requires students to handwrite and the students will need to maintain and develop this skill with their final examinations in mind. In addition, there are some forms of learning and recording information that are better suited to pen and paper. We anticipate that there will be a place for writing and ICT in schools in the foreseeable future.
20. What about storage of work?
As part of the BYOT initiative, student storage of files will be increasingly shifted to the cloud, rather than on the school’s file servers. Recommendations on the form this ought to take will be part of the Student Management of ICT document. All students will are highly encouraged to backup their work.
21. Is there particular software that my child will need to have on his/her device?
The students need to be able to connect to the School’s wireless network and to access the Internet with a browser. Different teachers will make use of different programs, sites and resources for learning but the vast majority of these will be web-based. The School has prepared a list that outlines the basic software needed in the BYOT Guidelines.
22. Do you have answers to all the issues that will arise?
No. A change like this will have all sorts of unforeseen consequences. We anticipate needing to refine, review and reformulate many of our practices and policies as we move into this next chapter of learning at Inaburra and as we reflect on our experience. We appreciate your understanding, support and patience as we do so.