Principal Chris Roff
One of the challenges, I guess, with the Bring Your Own Device model is that obviously it is much easier in terms of managing hardware for the school and that was one of the primary considerations and I think that the days of buying great big fleets and then looking after them here at school, issuing, billing people and all that was getting very problematic. But obviously an issue is those parents and those families who maybe can't afford a device to bring in to school, so we are going to use a lot of the laptop devices we currently have and we'll make those loan machines for those sorts of families.
The benefits, I think, are cultural as much as anything else. There's something that we've learned, I guess, and I think a lot of schools have learned this as well, the NSSCF approach where things are provided and the student doesn't own the device, has probably led to a lower level of care and respect for the equipment and we’re hoping that obviously bringing their own device into school, something that is theirs, that they have some relationship with, will mean that they look after them better, and I think they'll also understand them better. The other thing which is appealing to me is getting away from the "one size fits all" and giving students and families the opportunity to choose the device that suits their particular needs.
The key to it all, though, whatever device and whatever system we use, is that they're used well in the classroom. That's probably the territory that I'd like us to get more involved in as a school. We want to get out of the territory where we're managing devices and repairs and arguments with parents about whether it was damaged accidentally or not. We want to get right away from that and put our resources more into making sure that there is a stable platform that's reliable, works well, and then more importantly working with the teachers on how to leverage the technology into making the learning more effective for the students.
That's easier said than done and that's a hearts-and-minds type thing. I think explaining to teachers, we're well down the track with the rational arguments but it's the getting the will going amongst the teaching staff, getting up to that critical mass where there's so many teachers using the technology well that it becomes the culture and the ethos of the school.
I think the students are ready and I think the majority of teachers are well on-board but that's where I’d like to see us putting all our energy.
Teachers will not move towards a new platform until it's there and it's reliable and it's sound. On the other hand, why would you move to a new platform if people aren't going to use it? So, a lot of work's been done in the school already in terms of an agnostic system of lesson designs on the virtual library where people can quite easily set up their own lessons and design them. They’re available then to the students outside of school hours and the whole business of education is changing into a more client-focussed design. Bringing the teachers along with that in an authentic way is my challenge and I think the challenge of the leaders in the school. There are some very forward-thinking and innovative teachers and there are a lot of teachers who are quite, what's the word, concerned about their own personal skill level and also whether this really is going to make a difference. At the end of the day, if it doesn't make a difference to the outcomes of the kids, then it's all been a waste of time so we're very heavily committed towards making sure that this does change the way that we teach this generation of children, with the ultimate aim of making sure that the outcomes are better.