BYOT at Taroona High School

On any school day, Taroona High School students can bring their portable IT device to school and connect it to the school’s wireless network. From there, they can access the Internet and utilise the wealth of information available to assist their learning on their own device. School-owned devices are also available to ensure no student misses out on the benefits of technology to their learning.

Taroona High’s BYOT programme, developed in close consultation with school staff and the school community, has been established over five years to increase access to technology for their 900 students. Under the program, students are free to decide if they wish to bring a device to school and what device they bring, whether it is a PC or Mac laptop, iPad or other tablet, or a smart phone. The strengths of the programme include:

  • students have complete choice in device;
  • students know their device and can update it constantly;
  • students’ devices can be used at home or at school increasing access to learning opportunities; and 
  • students are given great responsibility to look after their own devices and use them productively for educational purposes.

Taroona High’s BYOT programme began being developed in 2010, when schools, colleges and universities around the world started to rethink how to provide IT hardware to their students. As computers started to become less expensive, more portable and faster, and importantly so many more students began to own their own portable IT device, institutions began realising the potential of students being able to bring their own devices to school.

As part of Learners First and the Department’s e-strategy, Taroona High worked with the Department of Education to set up the first school wireless system that would successfully allow students to connect their own devices to the school wireless network. The IT support staff in the school worked tirelessly with the school leadership group to establish and connect the first ‘Year 7 pilot group’ to the wireless network. The school worked with its parent community to ensure that all stakeholders were aware of the BYOT model and explained how it would assist the school and its students into the future.

Throughout the years, Taroona High have implemented a variety of structures and systems to ensure that the BYOT programme runs smoothly for students, teachers and parents and all can receive support and assistance whenever difficulties are encountered with student-owned devices. Some of these structures and systems include:

  • A student-run IT Help Desk run by the Senior Digital Technologies students to fix issues that occur relating to student-owned devices. All students can use this Help Desk throughout the school week as needed; 
  • Office365 is available to all Taroona High students and this enables students to utilise MS Word, Excel, PPT and Office365 in the cloud to complete their school work; 
  • From day 1 in Year 7, Taroona High students are assisted with connecting to the wireless network, instructed around how to look after their own devices and each Year 7 Home Group has one hour a week where they are taught important IT skills; 
  • Parents are kept informed, and students are reminded about appropriate device usage, via our school Facebook page and school newsletters; 
  • Teaching staff participate in Professional Learning sessions and students and staff know where to go whenever they need help and assistance.

Taroona High is proud of its successful BYOT programme. Taroona’s ICT Advanced Skills Teacher, Scott MacCrum (AST ICT) believes that, “For a successful BYOT programme, it is important for schools to work with the parent community, provide support and resources to both students and staff, establish clear and accessible support processes and routines, and demonstrate a strong sense of trust and respect at all times towards its students.

“Students need to feel a great sense of responsibility and support throughout the journey and understand the expectations that come with using their own device at school. Taroona High School is happy to assist other Tasmanian schools who are either already running their own BYOT programme or thinking of starting one soon.”

Parent’s wanting to know more about BYOT programmes can read the parent brochures:

Schools using BYOT or thinking about implementing a program should refer to the newly released BYOT Policy and BYOT Procedures which outline the processes that schools need to undertake to put in place and administer a BYOT programme.

No comments:

Post a comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.