Jindalee State School’s inaugural BYOx program has had a wonderful start in 2014.
More than 85 per cent of students in Years 2, 4 and 5 have now brought in their own iPads or Windows 8 devices to complement their learning. The remaining students have access to school owned devices when required.
Students in these classes have begun navigating their way around various apps and programs. Some of the activities used have included the recording and narrating of books, practicing spelling, creating presentations and accessing online programs, such as Mathletics.
School parents have had the opportunity to attend parent help sessions on two occasions already this year. These sessions provide parents with assistance on how to help their kids install apps, set suggested restrictions on devices, learn to navigate key apps and understand how the devices are used for student learning.
Jindalee’s teachers are pleased with the seamless integration of ICT in the BYOx program. They have the ability to switch between work on an exercise book, concrete materials, interactive whiteboards and the student devices.
To support the implementation of the BYOx program, Jindalee has invested in more technical support time for Semester 1, doubling the usual time to ensure the support for teachers and students is available.
They have also increased the Head of eLearning position to 0.8 to primarily support staff through the implementation of the widescale BYOx program.
This has involved the following:
- meeting with teachers one-on-one during their non-contact time
- working with teachers in year level meetings
- whole staff professional development
- working with students in small and whole class groupings
- conducting modelled lessons
- running cybersafety and cyberbullying lessons
- providing digital curriculum support activities to staff
- answering parent questions
- providing appropriate documentation.
Some of the hurdles the school has faced so far include the time it has taken for all students to be connected to the school’s wireless and the time it has taken to set students up with access to our member server. A few students and their parents have required reminders about apps being installed on devices, sleeves as well as covers and other compliance issues.
Challenges for the school’s teachers have included the need to balance the students’ use of the device and the skilling required, with the demands of the curriculum. The teachers have acknowledged that flexibility is key.
The school BYOx acceptable use policy has made it easier to ensure that all parents, students and staff have an understanding of the expectations of the BYOx program. The ability to enforce this policy has been crucial to the rollout of the program, including a firm directive on the device use before and after school, and during lunchtimes.
The school’s BYOx handbook has also been a key resource in the student’s induction to the BYOx program.
The BYOx devices have proven to be great in catering for individual learning needs. The classroom teachers have been able to differentiate learning according to student’s needs – more easily than a traditional classroom.