Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Why it is not a good idea to bring your own device to school? #BYOD #iPadLearningZA

Andrew Wilkins: Northcliff High

I attended an expert panel discussion on Friday at Northcliff High School about the merits (or not) of bringing your own device (BYOD) to school.

The members have done the research around using various devices in the school environment. They shared their findings and discussed why their schools decided against the BYOD model.

The statement was made by Lulu Burger that when talking about BYOD, there must be a question in the first place. What was the question? Why are schools so afraid to go the single device route? Because of the parents?

The school and teachers are the educational experts, and why should they punish themselves, the IT department as well as the children and ultimately the parents when making a choice against BYOD?


I am sharing some of the notes of the reasons for their decisions here.


Andrew Wilkins from Northcliff High:


The deputy Principal at Northcliff High, Andrew Wilkins, said that they did research by looking at all the devices, and they looked at the cheap options as well. They also looked at the Android vs Apple debate and the question of open source and the possibility for fiddling on the devices. They asked about support and they asked about experience in education.

Why not BYOD?
- There is significant pressure from the anti-Apple believers.
- Avoid the "Mine's better than yours" (1900 different devices - minefield) device!
- Teacher training on par across platforms.

They implemented an iPad roll-out in their school by giving iPads to teachers (ownership model) via the school governing body., a full 2 years before giving it to the pupils. The pupiles are providing their own iPads and the parents are responsible for purchasing of textbooks, either electronically or on paper. They are planning a future move towards the flipped classroom, where Think Ahead will be instrumental in supporting the roll-out!


James from Sacred Heart:

James in the middle - Sacred Heart 

At Sacred Heart they are implementing the iPad 1:1. Their goal is to improve how students and teachers interact with one another. Connectivity is very strict, and they only make the network available during particular periods.

- Interoperability
  The moving of content from one platform to another very easy.
- Stability of the system
  Looked at apps and found it to be a very good system. It remained stable. Also with regards security issues. They have guided access, and have placed restrictions on the use.
- Creativity
They have not only combined the iPads with the curriculum, but also with administration and extra- murals. Reconfiguration is all done on the device. For example being used in a visual  literacy project.

The major focus at Sacred Heart has been on the augmentation of lessons. They have feedback sessions about the apps and support. The mobile lab has been eye-opener to the kids, where they used it for chemistry and biology and micro-biology. They record the lessons and experiments.

They are planning to roll it out even further, and the Grade 7's are implementing it next year!


Janet from Red Hill
(ICT Coordinator)


Janet was tasked with the project to research which route they were going to go. They did the research for a year, and did 6 weeks training for the teachers.

They use a challenge approach in their teaching methodology: The child need to learn to ask the right questions!

Think Ahead was already there, who helps with the support, and who helped in convincing the parents!

They have two models: 1:1 in Grade 7, and two mobile banks for iPads.

The iPad is more than just a flat textbook.

They needed to get buy-in: Students are there already! But the parents and the teachers needed to be convinced! They opened  up learning events to parents. The IT teachers had a change in their work-load because they also had to be able to support the staff.

Their experience has been that the teachers were getting excited about the technology. The workflows are very important, and it is not possible when the teachers use different devices! It becomes cumbersome!

They are planning more roll-outs, and the more they are using it, the more they are seeing and using new creative ways in their teaching and learning!


Related posts: 

iPads at Moshoeshoe Primary School - changing the South African education landscape #iSchoolAfrica

- iPads for children 

- Why iPads?