This week, families with students in Year 4, Year 6 and Year 10 will have received important information about BYOD for Learning. This program represents an exciting step forward for our school as we move towards much wider use of information and communications technology (ICT) in all areas of school life.
Most families believe it is desirable, perhaps even necessary, for today’s students to learn in a technology-rich environment. The internet provides instant access everywhere to more information than was available from the best libraries in the world a generation ago (OK – almost instant access, almost everywhere). This has changed dramatically how we all live and work, and there are more and more employers who see creativity, communication, problem solving and the ability to adapt as essential skills alongside factual knowledge and formal qualifications.
For this reason, William Carey is embarking upon a deliberate transition to become a school where ICT is used seamlessly to support teaching and learning from Prep to Year 12. BYOD is only one aspect of this transition but it is a crucial one because every student from Year 5 to Year 12 will eventually have a personal device for researching, recording, creating and editing content in any lesson of the day, from any location in the school.
It is important to know, however, that access to technology does not guarantee that students will achieve better educational outcomes. In fact, one OECD report* found that countries which had invested heavily in ICT, including Australia, were yet to see many returns from their results in reading, mathematics and science! Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, concluded that “technology is the only way to dramatically expand access to knowledge. To deliver on the promises technology holds, however, countries need to invest more effectively and ensure that teachers are at the forefront of designing and implementing this change.”
This is why our school’s program must focus on BYOD for Learning rather than BYOD alone. We know how ineffective it would be to bring technology into the school without supporting the students and teachers to use it well. ICT has an enormous potential to strengthen the very best-researched strategies that encourage learning, but to reach that potential will mean we at school need to provide clear directions and ongoing professional development. At home, it will need parents to monitor their child’s computer use and remain engaged with their education all the way to Year 12.
If you did not receive a hard copy of BYOD for Learning then you can download it from here.
And if you have any questions or comments about this program, we have opened a BYOD helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to drop us a line – we’re aiming for no more than a 48 hour turn around on all enquiries!
Director of Teaching & Learning
*Source: OECD (2015) New Approach Needed to Deliver on Technology’s Potential in Schools, Available from http://www.oecd.org/education/new-approach-needed-to-deliver-on-technologys-potential-in-schools.htm