Principal, Shane Buckner and e-learning leader, Kate Friedwald, talk about the systems and setup they have at Wairakei School to successfully use 1-1 devices. Ensuring technology was in place meant that their BYOD trial could focus on trialling the method of learning and teaching using ipads.
So once we’d made the decision to trial BYOD in 2014, first thing we did was look at our infrastructure, made sure our wireless was capable. We’d just received fibre to the door.
We are also fortunate to already be connected to N4L. We have fibre between our classes. We have a gigabit network within the school. We also have a ruckus wireless system.
We then made a decision about device. The reason we chose Apple and the ipad was because we’ve got lots of Apple ipads in the school and that meant, I have the expertise in that. The school knows that they work with our infrastructure. It was about trialling the method of learning and teaching, not about trialling the device, so we didn’t want to come up through lots of technical difficulties with different models of devices.
To go along with our Google Apps for Education account, we signed up with Hapara dashboard. That gives us the opportunity to keep the children’s Google account secure, have a learning medium for them with their email, because for some of them it’s the first email they’ve ever had. It allows me to see into their Google Drive accounts, share docs with them all easily, them to collaborate easily. It just houses all the Google apps all in one.
Also that’s the pathway that our cluster has chosen, so when our children leave Wairakei and go to a local intermediate and high school they will be using Google, so their account can follow them through.
Each student has their own secure login to our server and to our Internet. So that’s formed based on their first name, their last name, and a secure password. That login and password is the same they use for their Google account, and it means that if any one time, if needed, we can switch one child’s Internet access off. It also means that if it is required we could trace where one particular child has been on the Internet, and it also means that once that student leaves Wairakei School we can turn their Internet connection off so that we can remain secure for our other users.
Part of the students agreement that they have adhered to is that their device will arrive at school charged. So every night they go home, they plug in their device to charge and it comes to school fully charged. There’s obviously the odd occasion where a child doesn’t go home, they stay over at someones house, at Grandma’s house, and the device comes to school not charged. For that reason I do have a charger here at school and they just plug it in for morning tea. It doesn’t become a nuisance, with a high class number it’s happened once or twice. The other thing is we have a couple of class ipads just like every other class in our school, which are there as back ups if one malfunctions.
Once a device comes to school that child is responsible for that device. When it’s not in use in their hand, it goes in our lockable tote trays. Those are locked. They are maintained by the students. It’s their responsibility to put it in there and a student monitor locks them during break times.
When the device is in use, it’s the students responsibility to make sure it’s used sensibly, it’s used wisely. If they wish to share the device I encourage them to share the screen, but not so much the actual physical device. If they do that’s absolutely fine, they are aware and understand it’s their responsibility. We go through a lot of learning of things about leaving the device on the floor. They know that, that’s not practical, that doesn’t work. They learn with it on the floor, but they know they need to pick it up and put it on a table or in their tote tray when not in use.
What we find with the student owned devices is they are a lot more cared for, a lot more maintained than our school owned devices. So when it’s the students ownership of it they show so much more care and respect for it. We’ve had a lot less breakages in our student owned devices than we have in our school owned devices.
So with the success of our BYOD programme this year, we’re looking to extend that next year into three classes being compulsory one-to-one BYOD. That’s our Year 5–6 team and it will be implemented as an option for Year 3–4 students. The benefit of that is one having devices one-to-one in the classroom, but our school owned devices which are currently being used across teams can be redistributed lowering the device to student ratio in the remainder of the school.
So we are making sure that we are future proofing our school to enable all our children to be connected learners all the time.