BRINGING YOUR OWN PERSONAL LEARNING TOOL
Our students only know of a digital world, they are ‘digital natives’. The digital landscape is an essential medium for them to interact with others, collaborate, create, reflect and discern. Our guiding educational document, The New Zealand Curriculum, encourages us to prepare our students to be “confident, connected, actively-involved, lifelong learners" so that they realise their potential and contribute to society and the workforce.
As the adults that provide guidance in a child’s learning journey we have an obligation to equip them with the skills they need to be fully participatory citizens in a rapidly changing digital landscape and a globally connected society. They will need to develop the essential skills of critical thinking, creativity and adaptability. Students need access to this digital world, to the wide variety of expertise and resources beyond their classroom walls, they need to create, plan and share; anywhere, anytime. Their learning is no longer restricted by time and space.
Access is enabled by having a device that they are familiar with and that they can continue learning upon when they are no longer in the classroom. We therefore encourage students to bring a personal learning tool. We are device agnostic. As long as it can connect wirelessly to the internet, can maintain its battery charge for most of the school day and is robust enough to handle day to day life in the classroom and has a reasonable sized screen, then it likely to be suitable.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does my child have to have a device?
While bringing a device is optional, it remains highly desirable. Students will be using devices on a regular basis in most curriculum areas. Devices are actively encouraged for years 3-8.
What is the school providing for those students who don’t have their own device?
There are five school owned devices in Y1-2 classes and ten devices in Y3-8 classes.
What is the school doing to ensure my child is safe while using their own device?
Each student has an individual log in that enables them to use the wifi and access the school network. Student usage can be monitored by the teacher through our firewall linewize, enabling a complete tracking of time and content. We also spend time instructing our students in cybersafety and digital citizenship as we believe that students will not always be in a managed environment and that these skills will help them when they are not at school. Our content is also filtered by the Ministry funded Network for learning.
Won’t students bringing a device stop them from going outside at interval and lunchtime?
Our policy states that students are not to take devices into the playground during interval and lunchtime or before and after school unless they are supervised by a responsible adult. We believe that physical activity is an important part of developing the whole child and sets them up for learning during the day. When students are out of the classroom their devices are stored in a lockable cabinet.
What device should I purchase?
Every device has it’s strengths and weaknesses. As we are working more often in a cloud environment the type of device becomes less significant. Most students tend to use either a chromebook or an iPad. With our move to google docs more students and teachers are preferring chromebooks for everyday use. We are no longer allowing phones, even with the SIM removed.
How will it be used in the classroom?
Our students use google apps such as gmail, google docs (including spreadsheets, slides), blogger and store their files on google drive. These functions are available to any device that has internet access. Teachers use an administration tool called Hapara that enables them to see what your child is doing on their screen, monitor and give feedback on their learning tasks, access their email accounts and share and collaborate with documents. Parents can also have access to these documents so that they can be part of their child’s learning and give feedback. Students will develop the skills to select the app or website that best suits the learning task at the time. Usually there is more than one app that suits the task in hand.
Can my son or daughter install personal software?
Yes, as it is your device. We suggest that they make a folder for personal apps to keep it separate from school used apps. We also suggest that they delete their browsing history from home before they come to school as this makes it easier for the teachers to see that they have been on task, although we can go to the firewall and have a look. It is a good idea to activate parental controls wherever possible so that you can manage the apps that are on the device.
Will the device be needed everyday?
Yes. It is difficult for a teacher to plan a technology integrated lesson if the technology is spasmodic in its presence. Sometimes the learning tasks for the day will not involve a device but this will be less likely as more and more students bring them. It needs to be remembered that many teachers are on a learning journey involving device integration. Our teachers are reasonably ‘tech savvy’ but changing the way things are done can take time. As a school we are guiding our teachers with digital possibilities to support and engage our learners.
Is wifi safe?
The Ministry of Health have advised schools that wifi in schools does not pose a health risk to children or staff. For more information you can go to the Ministry of Health’s website and download the report.
CREATING CYBER SAVVY DIGITAL CITIZENS
Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps us to understand what our children should know in order to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology. We will continue to support students to become Super Digital Citizens by teaching cybersafety and all it entails throughout the year.
We take time to teach online safety protocols such as safe browsing, secure passwords, what to do if it all goes wrong and virus protection. Younger students, years 1-4: we use the instructional series provided by NetSafe, Hector's World as young students need to engage in good cybersafety practices. Older students years 4-8 we use a variety of resources, often sourced from NetSafe, a New Zealand cybersafety organisation. We endeavour for students to become aware of their digital footprint and what impact it has, given their responsibilities as members of the Taupaki online community.