The key driver for our school to investigate BYOx, like many other schools, was the need to prepare for the end of the National Secondary School Computer Fund (NSSCF). It has been necessary to develop a device replacement strategy tailored specifically to fit the needs and culture of our school. Our current IT Head of Department (HOD) led the process to begin investigation into a BYOx program. He had some knowledge and experience from investigating the establishment of a BYOx program at his previous school. This knowledge was then further developed at our school and now both schools have benefitted from his planning and preparation.
We recognised the need to conduct research into BYOx approaches adopted by other schools in order to gain insight a as to what would work best for Wavell State High School. In May 2013 our IT HOD attended the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) ICT Management and Leadership Conference in Canberra where he explored the experiences of certain private/independent schools which had implemented BYOx programs. A selection of local and international publications also supported this process.
Exchange of ideas
The next stage of the journey involved sharing the information with our school leadership team and other members of the school community. Recognising the value of sharing BYOx contexts and elements with local schools, our IT HOD facilitated a “cluster group” of IT leaders who met regularly to share ideas, resources and experiences. Even though our approach to implementing BYOx is not necessarily the same as other schools, collaborating with our cluster has been a valuable step in our planning and the planning of all schools involved.
Create a Working Group
Recognising the change leadership requirements for BYOx, our schools ICT Committee formed a BYOx sub-committee consisting of the principal, deputy principal, IT HOD, Business Services Manager (BSM), teachers, school IT techs and a parent representative Their role was to investigate a sustainable way for ICTs to evolve to meet future school requirements with the reduced government funding.
Recognising that a BYOx model would need to be approved by the School Council and the P&C, the committee considered it critical to engage all key stakeholders at an early stage and so developed an online survey to gain feedback from the whole school community.
Based on analysis of the survey results, an information report was distributed to address the BYOx elements queried by the school community.
Develop the concept
The results of the survey informed the direction for our school and the type of BYOx model to consider such as the year levels involved, type of device, costs, and limitations.
Several documents were developed within the school throughout this process. These included a ‘BYOx Issues+Check Lists’ and ‘Mindmap of BYOx’ to ensure that no elements were overlooked, especially those specific to the school context.
Throughout this step in our journey, information continued to be gathered and shared through a variety of mechanisms:
- attending the BYOx workshop organised by DETE
- discussions with the Regional Technology Manager for information about DETE’s ‘Technical Solution’ being trialled at Noosa District State High School which will allow schools to purchase a system that automates the connection of student devices to the school network
- investigation of what other schools were already doing or intending to do
- discussions with several vendors regarding devices, portals, prices, service and warranty
- inviting a vendor to a BYOx committee meeting to demonstrate their portal and answer questions from school and parent representatives
- ensuring input from the school IT technicians and valuing their expertise.
Developing the Proposal
After all of our planning and consideration, the BYOx committee is now working through several remaining issues such as the storage of student-owned devices when they are not being used in curriculum learning situations. For us this will be the final step in completing our BYOx proposal for presentation to the School Council and P&C for their endorsement during Term 4, 2014.