We have had considerable discussion around the use of computers as a tool for learning over the past few years and considered different ways in which this might occur through a BYOD programme or through the school providing machines for students to use.
We are also mindful of the cost of devices and that, if students were asked to provide a device from Year 7, families could be in a position where they are purchasing three devices for each child during the time they are at the college.
As a result of this thinking, the Board of Trustees has agreed to the following plan over the next few years:
AQUINAS COLLEGE BYOD INFORMATION
We view a student owned internet capable device as a small part of a student’s toolkit, giving them access to unlimited resources and enabling them to support, extend, communicate, collaborate and share their learning. Aquinas College runs a blended learning programme which gives the opportunity to use devices where appropriate but maintains the skill of writing. We view the use of these devices as a way to support learning, but not as a replacement for student-teacher and student-student interaction.
As a school, we have decided that no one device fits all learners, and are therefore offering choice with regards to the device that students may use. The expectation is that you do not need to purchase a brand new device. If you have a device at home that is compatible with our system, we would encourage you to bring it. This device could include iPads, tablets or laptops.
However, the minimum specifications we recommend for use in the classroom are listed below. Minimum Specifications 7.9 inch screen (diagonal) keyboard For those who are thinking of upgrading or buying a new machine we would recommend the following laptop specifications.
11 inch screen laptop
128G storage preferred (64G storage minimum)
Harvey Norman will be our preferred supplier and they are offering a range of educational packages. Included in this email is a flier which highlights some of the deals that Harvey Norman are offering.
PLEASE NOTE – Students do not need to purchase the Office suite. It is provided by the school for installation on any device that students may use. This includes laptops, home PC’s and mobiles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is BYOD? BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. This means that the device is owned by the student/family and goes home with them at the end of the day and you get a choice of what the device may be. BYOD allows for anytime, anywhere learning. Many of the students in our school community already own devices and a number of our contributing schools already have this option in place.
What are the educational benefits of a BYOD Programme? The advantages of a student owned device have been highlighted in a recent literature review carried out by Noeline Wright from the University of Waikato (2010). She concludes that there is a number of benefits with regards to using a variety of eLearning experiences in the classroom on a regular basis. These include improved motivation and engagement, greater independence and personalised learning, improved critical thinking, greater access to information, resources and experts and allowing a greater opportunity for collaboration in a wider context than just the classroom.
What type of device may my child bring to school? We are asking that the students at Aquinas College use a device that is consistent with our recommended specifications.
The specifications for Year 7 and 8 are below.
11 inch screen laptop / Windows 10 / 4g RAM / 128G storage preferred (64G storage minimum)
As students move through the school these specifications change according to their subjects. However, by choosing laptops with the above specifications we believe you should get 3 years use out of the device if it is looked after carefully.
Why can’t my child use a smartphone as a device? While smartphones are a great communication device and are often used for quick internet searches and photos, the size of the screen makes them unsuitable as a serious tool for learning. Their inability to complete lengthy documents and use more than one application at the same time is limited.
If we do not provide a device, will my child be still able to enrol at Aquinas College? Yes, your child will not be turned away if they can’t afford a device. Ideally we want families to provide a device for their child which they can be responsible for. How will my child charge their computer? We expect students to take responsibility for the charging of devices overnight, and this is a good habit for them to get into. We expect students to bring their device to school fully charged. If a device is fully charged overnight, then it would be unlikely to need charging throughout the day. There are a small number of charging stations available in our library and in some classrooms.
How will my child be using the computer in the classroom? We have been introducing the concept of BYOD over the last 2 years and the number of teachers who have had a chance to teach in this environment has increased. Technology is a tool in the dayto-day learning of our students. Different teachers will be using it in different ways, and we are strongly encouraging our staff to use a combination of face-to-face and online teaching and learning approaches in their programmes. Therefore, devices will be used in a way that supports the best possible approach for the particular subject that they take. Be aware that courses vary and although devices will be used in subjects, they will not be used all day, every day, as certain topics will lend themselves to device usage more than others.
How will my child keep their device safe? Who is responsible for security and damage? We have been teaching with digital devices at school over the last 2 years and we have had no instances of theft of these devices while at school. We have had a small number of students who have had their screens damaged so having a strong case to store the device in is a must. Taking care of their own and others possessions is part of the NZ curriculum with regards to ‘Managing Self’. There will be a cupboard available in each of the Year 8 classes if students want to store their device. We strongly recommend that you insure your child’s device and discuss various situations with your insurance provider prior to bringing a device to school. Aquinas College will not be held responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged devices.
How does the school ensure my child’s safety when using the internet at school? When students are connected to the school’s network via the BYOD connection there is a filtering system in place. All Year 7 students participate in a Cyber Safety unit as part of their Health and Physical Education curriculum. Every student is required to sign a Responsible use of ICT agreement before starting at Aquinas College. No student is able to complete enrolment unless the agreement is signed and returned.
Will I need to have internet access at home? It is helpful if you do have access to the internet, as this enables your child to make full use of school resources from home via our school Microsoft 365 account. If a student needs to make use of free Wi-Fi out in the community, please be aware that these connections may not provide the necessary filters we have on our school network.
Will students be able to record teachers or classmates? (Audio or video) Only with their permission. Any recording or photo that is on a device that does not have permission to be there will need to be removed. We have a responsible use agreement that all students sign, and the school has procedures in place if a device is being misused in anyway. Can students use another student’s device? No, because the devices are student/personally owned, this means that the device is operated by the owner.
Have teachers been trained to work in a BYOD environment? Our teachers have been upskilling themselves to work in a BYOD environment over the last couple of years. Different software and applications are investigated and used by staff in order to provide the most effective teaching and learning environment for our students. In our senior school many of our NCEA assignments have a research/inquiry component associated with them and require digital access. The school can no longer provide sufficient access to school owned devices to meet the high demand for access.
As a parent, am I required to add additional software to my child’s technology tool? Anti-viral software is required for devices that are connected to the internet. If the student has a laptop, then they are able to download free, the Microsoft 365 software. They will need to be enrolled in the school and use their school email address to take advantage of this package. The software will also be available on devices that students may use at home or their mobile device.
Who will be responsible for troubleshooting and fixing students’ devices? The type of device that will be bought to Aquinas College will vary immensely. We have a great technology team but they will not be required to provide technical assistance other than helping students connect to the wireless at school.
Will I still need to purchase stationery to use in class? A stationery list will be available via our website. Having a digital device does not make Aquinas College a paperless school. Many aspects of learning are still done via pen and paper, experimentation or through the manipulation of things in traditional ways. When the best way to engage students in their learning is via technology, then this will be the preferred method of delivery. Textbooks may still be used in some subjects, where others will make use of the online texts now available. The school provides a printing account for students to be able to print their work, which the school will load with $5 at the start of the year. As teachers increase their use of digital work, many of the tools used can be shared online and reduce the necessity to print out tasks to be handed in.
Will the Wi-Fi connection at the school be able to handle a large number of devices at a time? This year there has been an audit completed with regards to the school’s Wi-Fi access. Those areas where there have been issues with access throughout the school have been identified and we have purchased a number of new ‘access points’ which we will be installing into classrooms where the access is not good.