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 student-centred learning, but not as a replacement for student-teacher and student-student interaction.
Note that we do not envisage, or want, students using a device every period, every day. The intention is that technology is used as part of an integrated programme to enhance learning.
From 2019, students from Y11-13 will be expected to have a device which connects to the internet through wifi. Students from other year levels are also encouraged to bring devices if they have them.
To connect to the school network, students from Y7-11 will need to have the Family Zone app installed and registered.
Rationale: Teaching and learning can be more effective when every student has a digital device of their own to:
Key factors in Aquinas’s implementation of BYOD
Choosing a device
As noted, Aquinas College is developing a relationship with two local companies to support you in this move. They will advise, recommend and sell appropriate devices. Finance and/or insurance options will be part of this.
PB Technology – Please CLICK HERE
Harvey Norman – Please CLICK HERE
Points to consider
Suggested Minimum Specifications, at this stage
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.
Why do I need to down load the Family Zone App?
Aquinas College has partnered with Family Zone to provide increased protection for students in a digital environment. While at school, our school network is protected by a firewall for those using wifi. Outside of school hours, parents can set the Family Zone app for age appropriate protection, manually adjust this to suit individual needs or turn the app off completely. In 2019 students from Y7-11 are required to have the app installed and activated to be able to connect to the wifi.
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?
Of course. Ideally, we want families to provide a device for their child which they can be responsible for. Aquinas College has a number of devices that can be used in class for those who do not have their own.
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 3 years and the number of teachers who have had a chance to teach in this environment has increased. Technology is a tool in the day-to-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 3 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’..
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 Wifi 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.