Ask the Connected Learning Advisory

Issue: Volume 94, Number 8

Posted: 18 May 2015
Reference #: 1H9cr4

This month a common question to the Ministry of Education’s Connected Learning Advisory service has been around preparation for the introduction of mobile digital devices (like laptops and tablets) in schools.

What should schools consider when introducing mobile digital devices?

Queries around the use of digital devices range from the introduction of a small number of mobile devices in schools that haven’t used them before, to introducing 1:1 device use (that is where every student has access to a device) to implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programmes which allow students to bring in a digital device from home to use in class – sometimes the type of BYOD device will be suggested by the school in consultation with the school community.

Before any decisions are made around mobile digital device use, we suggest that schools:

  • Develop a strategy around the purpose of introducing the devices to answer the question: ‘why are we doing this?’ The Devices and Support page(external link) on the Enabling e-Learning website is useful to help develop an answer and lead you to establishing your own policies and procedures. A key focus for schools should be the development of inclusive, learner-focused practices supported by digital devices, so professional learning and curriculum review may also be part of the preparation.
  • Ensure the whole school community from students to teachers and whānau understands digital citizenship and the best ways to create a safe digital environment. Digital citizenship is not only about keeping safe online but also about acting responsibly. A digital citizen understands their rights and responsibilities online. NetSafe(external link) has some excellent resources to support this such as the NetSafe Kit for Schools(external link).
  • Consider device security, storage and charging. There are many storage and charging options available for New Zealand schools. Several discussions are available on the Virtual Learning Network(external link) around different options(external link). Schools will need to provide solutions that are manageable for both staff and students.
  • Think through purchasing and maintenance options for their devices. Schools have taken various approaches from purchasing all devices for students, to asking parents to purchase or lease from a company or school trust. Schools also need to be aware that, in line with the intent of the Education Act 1989, schools can’t require students to bring a device and must make sure that no student misses out if they are unable to bring a device from home.
  • Deliberately design professional learning opportunities. As with any new initiative, it is important to ensure staff have access to appropriate professional learning and support. Teachers need to feel confident and supported to design inclusive, meaningful learning that makes the most of students’ access to devices. Specific professional learning opportunities for teaching and learning with mobile devices could be part of their professional learning plan. They might also like to consider connecting with other schools who have already implemented similar approaches.

About the Connected Learning Advisory

The Ministry of Education’s Connected Learning Advisory – Te Ara Whītiki–provides schools with free, consistent, unbiased advice on integrating technology with learning. If you have a query about using digital technologies to support teaching and learning, or you want to suggest a topic for this column, contact the advisory on:

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:29 am, 18 May 2015

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