The principal and deputy principal of Pakuranga College talk about planning for successful implementation of BYOD across the school. They explain, you must always be very clear of the purpose and you must find what works for your school.
Michael: Planning for success in this work, there’s some fundamentals that have to be done. So, always be very clear of the purpose and that becomes your guiding light in the hard questions.
Billy: It’s quite nervy at the start when you’re jumping into something that you really don’t know what it might look like when it’s actually in your school and so we purposefully made a big effort to go and visit as many people and as places as possible. We looked at what was already going on within our school and what capacity we already had within here, and from that we kind of created the initial e-learning group and they were just six keen people and we built capacity within that team and that team actually then went out and spoke to other people. I think the important thing of that, all of that data gathering, all that information gathering was, “That’s great, but what does it look like here?” And I would really encourage people not to copy other schools. We couldn’t just take what Orewa did and roll it out here. We couldn’t take some of the crazy ideas we saw in California and introduce them here. The cultures are different, the context is different, your staff are different, the point in your journey is different so it’s really important that as a team, strategically, you unpack what you like, what you don’t like but then justify what we do like that is going to look like this.
Michael: I thought in the early days there were some shortcuts. Earlier in my career, I was lucky to go to Victoria to see some schools there. A group of us, we came back all excited and fired up, and we thought we could jump the school forward a huge amount. With great disappointment, we learnt that as a school, we had to go through some learning steps. It was all nice that three of us had gone through those steps pretty accelerated but the whole school had to go through some steps and learn as we went. It’s about contextualising stuff. There isn’t a simple solution – you have to find your pathway and your solutions to it. That step we made to go device agnostic was one that worried us because we gave away some control, but that’s part of what our whole journey’s been about is learning to give up control. If I was summing up in terms of schools thinking about digital technologies and BYOD, the bit of advice I would give them would be, “Why?”, and, “It’s about learning”, and if you don’t locate it back into there every single time, I think you’ll end up with problems. There’s bits of technical advice I could give you, you’ll find your solutions around that, particularly at the leadership level, be clear about the purpose.