The underlying principle of the Inaburra BYOT program is that it doesn’t matter what type of device a student uses for their learning at school. Rather than specific devices, we describe the key factors for selecting a device by functionality. The device a student uses at school should be able to do the following:
- Access the Internet.
- Interact with Google Apps for Education, a key part of our teaching and learning approach.
- Have battery life that will last all day.
There are a few other recommendations, such as the use of a keyboard, which are described in the BYOT guidelines on our school website here. I encourage all families to read this document as they consider changing a student’s device.
The third criteria, long battery life, is one of the most challenging in a school environment. Since we commenced this program ten years ago, we have not allowed students to bring chargers to school. This was because chargers are generally a trip hazard in the classroom, and secondly because the standard classroom only has a few power points. We simply cannot guarantee that a power point will be available for every student in every lesson. As a school, we are currently exploring options to help students, especially in Year 11 and Year 12, top-up charge their laptops quickly throughout the day.
As a device starts to age, battery performance will deteriorate. While a device may still be able to meet the first two functional requirements, if its battery will no longer last through the day, it may be time to consider what is the best way forward. This does not mean that you have to buy a new device. Many options for replacing batteries nowadays were not available five years ago. For instance, Apple will replace a battery for a Macbook Air for $189. Often schools that run school-provided laptop programs would replace the computer at the start of Year 10, so there would be two devices during the student’s time in Senior School. The Inaburra BYOT program provides freedom for these obligations, but overall this does seem like a good approach.
If you are considering replacing a device, I encourage families to consider some of the lower-cost alternatives. Chromebooks are used extensively throughout our Junior School and have very few limitations at a school that uses Google Applications as we do at Inaburra. Personally, I love using an iPad with a pencil when I attend courses. An entry-level iPad with an Apple Pencil is now available for under $600.
My last tip is to ask for an educational discount, no matter who you are buying your device from. Apple, Dell and Lenovo are all examples of technology companies that provide a discount to students. If you have any questions regarding devices, our ICT Support team will be happy to help. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Senior School