Wellington High School Principal, Dominic Killalea explains the pedagogy behind their BYOD approach which supports lifelong learning. Dominic explains, "Learning is best when it’s a partnership. The link for me is that normalisation between the home and school."
Our vision at Wellington High School talks about lifelong independent inquiry and learning and a BYOD approach supports that. We want to ignite passions, we want to provide experiences for students to find what they really want to do with their lives to enable the lifelong learning. Student need in a sense was driving our decision making. Learning is best when it’s a partnership. The link for me is that normalisation between the home and school. It’s not a partnership if that environment that we have at school is something totally different to what we’ve got at home and if the student’s in a technology rich environment at home and we provide this technology vacuum at school then there’s no integration between the two.
I’d already visited some schools in 2009 and visited some schools in Victoria and seen that they were had a 1-1 programme operating so that was influential. We also at the same time looked at a lot of the work of Guy Claxton and the idea of developing dispositions, developing competencies. There was all the work being done with The New Zealand Curriculum and the secondary futures team. We were bringing together all that information and we were looking at ways that we could go about schooling in a better way. The pedagogical shift that came about through reviewing our junior programme, and deciding that we needed a more collaborative approach to the way we were teaching our core subjects. So whereas collaboration could be in the classroom, technology just enhances that approach. Suddenly the walls don’t exist anymore and you can collaborate with people in Indonesia, we have a relationship with with a school in Indonesia.
In addition we had been embarking on an ICTPD project over a number of years and we built a readiness in the staff to embrace the change and BYOD just fitted perfectly in with that approach. And when we consulted with parents that we were thinking about a BYOD environment, they overwhelmingly responded positively to that. We thought that we would be running an experiment with about 30 students. We put that out to parents, we put that out the following year having 116 students out of a cohort of about 150 that were interested in that approach.
Surely it has to enhance achievement just to have access to the information that kids have access to. If we can harness that, if we can put our energies into teaching them how to use that information, and what to do with that knowledge, then it has to have, you know, a transformative effect on achievement. At our junior level, we changed the way that we were approaching our teaching. We came into a far more collaborative approach and at a senior level as well although we’re bound and constrained a little bit by NCEA.