BYOD at St John's College

Children today are growing up in an ever changing world, a world within which Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has a major impact. Similarly, e-learning (that is, learning supported by or facilitated by ICT) has considerable potential to support our learners and help them reach their full potential in life.

E-learning may:

  • Assist the making of connections by enabling students to enter and explore new learning environments, overcoming barriers of distance and time
  • Facilitate collaboration and shared learning by enabling students to join or create communities of learners that extend well beyond the classroom
  • Assist in the creation of supportive learning environments by offering resources that take account of individual, cultural, or developmental differences
  • Enhance opportunities to learn by offering students virtual experiences and tools that save them
     

At St John's College we recognise the importance of ensuring that our students are digital citizens, equipped for future employment and learning and able to fully engage in modern society. We recognise the potential that technology can bring to learning which is why we have moved forward with our BYOD programme for 2014. IT must be treated as a tool for learning and not just a new toy.

 

Our Vision

  • To embrace e-learning through personalised learning opportunities that are flexible and authentic and meet each student’s aspirations and educational needs
  • To provide increased access to ICT for students, staff and parents for the purpose of improving learning outcomes for the boys
  • To create an environment that enhances and improves student and teacher excellence through integrating new technologies into the wide range of opportunities students are offered to enable them to participate in a global world
     

What is BYOD?

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. Students are able to bring in their own technology (laptop/tablet) from home, connect it to the internet and use it to support learning in school.

Already we are seeing students bringing in devices and recognising an increasing number of opportunities as to how these devices can help support their learning, something that we want to foster and encourage.

BYOD means there is little transition between accessing learning at home and in school and gives students important 21st century skills (collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking) to access the changing workplace.

 

In Practice

BYOD is optional for all students, with teachers encouraging the use of Bring Your Own Devices in the classroom whenever possible. There is no expectation being set that every student must have a device and we are trialling how BYOD provision may look at the school. Students will be able to use them for homework activities at present, with the potential for future integration into classroom teaching and learning. We are considering how students and teachers use mobile devices and will consider such options as teachers placing all their learning and resources online for students to access. Teachers will receive relevant professional development to help them see new opportunities for learning in their curriculum areas. Some departments are already pushing forward with how they use BYOD in the classroom.

There is no expectation that a student will need a $1500+ laptop. Noel Leeming and other electronic stores have netbooks around $400 which will be suitable for lessons, see the recommendations around “Choosing The Device” below as well as special deals.

Google Apps for EducationThe school will continue to develop its use of Google Apps for Education. All students have access to their own email account, online storage and calendar through Google Apps. Students are able to use cloud storage within the Google Apps environment as well as dropbox to store their documents. These offer fantastic opportunities for students to work collaboratively. In addition course materials are available through Moodle, our Learning Management System

Kamar LogoStudents are able to access their timetable, weekly notes and other details (Such as NCEA credits) through our student portal on Kamar, our Student Management System. They can download an app for iOS and Android to give them access to the portal.

Parents also have access to ther parent portal, giving them the same level of access as students to see notices, attendance and assessment data.

 

Choosing the Device

At St John's College we believe that students and parents should have the choice of a device rather than the school imposing a device upon the learning community. Students will need a device that is suitable for typing and editing documents and accessing and using internet resources and tools.

Specifications of suitable devices:

  • A laptop/chromebook would be preferred over an iPad/tablet device
  • Although smartphones/touch/mobile devices will assist with the learning, they are not our focus
  • Wireless capable – preferably 802.11n Wi-Fi standard as this gives the right speed and future proofing
  • Long battery life, 5hrs+ (ie chromebook, laptop or Tablet PC). Laptops/notebooks often will not last through a full school day, these devices should be charged prior to coming to school
  • A screen large enough (10”+)  to work with documents in order to create and edit content
  • Memory (RAM): 2 Gigabyte minimum (4 GB recommended)
  • Productivity Software or Apps: the device must have the ability to install software or apps to use for creating and editing word processed documents, presentations and spreadsheets (Microsoft Office or apps with Microsoft Office compatibility are desirable), and for reading pdf documents
  • Keyboard: onscreen at minimum, external recommended
     

Other considerations:

  • Weight – this device will need to be carried around school with school books
  • Robustness – sturdy enough for school use (boys can be quite heavy handed!)
  • Warranty – students using the device regularly will want faults fixed quickly, the school will not provide a technical support service
  • Insurance – make sure you are covered for replacement if lost or stolen.  The school is not liable for any loss or damage of personal property, including mobile devices
     

We recommend having a read through our Quick Guide to Mobile Devices to help inform your decision making. Though smartphones/ipod touch devices will be allowed on the network, they are not on our list of preferred devices for BYOD. They have their uses and will be used in some areas such as Physical Education. However, typing up an essay or an activity on these devices is not advised. We will allow students a maximum of two devices to be connected to the St John's College wifi (SJPublic).

 

How does BYOD work?

When a student brings their own device onto campus they need to ensure that they agree to and abide by our Cybersafety Acceptable Use Agreement as well as our Mobile Device Guidelines. They will connect their device to our managed wifi (SJPublic) using their normal network credentials and once authenticated, the device will have full web access. Students will have access to their school Google Account, online files (cloud storage) and email as well as all the other online web2.0 tools that can help shape their learning experience. All internet traffic is filtered to ensure that our community is kept safe and usage is monitored.

Technical questions should be directed to our IT Manager, Mr Silas Burton. All other questions relating to the BYOD initiative should be directed to our Deputy Principal, Mr Dominic Tester.