A review of the school’s network capacity, including wi-fi mapping, was conducted in preparation for the department’s technical solution trial. A technical readiness report was produced. As a result, we will be upgrading our network over the April school holidays. The system upgrade was also required as preparation for the inclusion of Year 7 students at our school in 2015.
Student feedback in regard to BYOx has been positive. Most students in our extensive international student program have trialled it this year. Initially there were issues connecting devices onto wi-fi and device language issues. Printing was also a problem—Papercut is being used to facilitate printing for now because many elements of class work are still paper-based.
We have experienced some technical difficulties with connecting the devices to the curriculum and the shared drives. Our school technician wrote a script that has provided access to the curriculum drive and student home drives.
Here at Benowa State High School we have been very methodical and thorough. At first we wanted to be the first school to trial the technical solution, but now we are glad that we had the extra time to plan and prepare. It is now about a year and a half since we first considered a BYOx program. Even basic elements, such as receiving paperwork from students and engaging with the school community, take considerable time and planning.
In some ways, our IT and finance departments will be pleased when the 1:1 school-owned device program finishes, as many issues will be alleviated e.g. dealing with contribution payments and OAMPS complexities. We have not had significant issues with warranty and repair, as we have a good relationship with the vendor. For our BYOx program, warranty and repair will be the responsibility of the students and their parents.
We have encountered some issues with software, as each type of software has its own licensing requirements. The purchase of 100 Adobe suites for the BYOx devices, through the department’s Adobe agreement, has solved some of the problems. It was thought specialised music software may have been an issue, but because of individual licensing, it won’t be as much of a problem as first thought. CAD however will pose problems due to licensing and device specification requirements—solutions are still being sought. We are mindful that we don’t impose excessive or unexpected costs on parents, and that any parent co-contributions fall within policy requirements.
There will be a cost to schools to implement a BYOx program—the total amount for our school has not yet been determined as the technical trial is still in process. After the pilot, we will need to plan for the ongoing expense of providing BYOx at our school.