Bring Your Own Device – FAQ

How would the school manage and prevent children accessing inappropriate internet content?

School policy on cybersafety aligns with best practice in New Zealand schools and is guided by the advice and support of netsafe. The focus is on education and digital citizenship to support young people as they are learning to learn in a digital age.  Teachers support the learning of cybersafety through class teaching and learning programmes. There are numerous teacher and parent resources available which are used to support this.“The concept of creating a cyber safe environment has moved from protecting people and to giving people the skills, knowledge and confidence to maximise the opportunities the effective use of technology can bring.” Netsafe

A digital citizen:
  • is a confident and capable user of ICT
  • uses technology to participate in educational, cultural, and economic activities
  • uses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspace
  • is literate in the language, symbols, and texts of digital technologies
  • is aware of ICT challenges and can manage them effectively
  • uses ICT to relate to others in positive, meaningful ways
  • demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICT
  • respects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world
  • contributes and actively promotes the values of digital citizenship
Children do not have unsupervised access to the internet at school and are not allowed  to use the internet or digital technologies at break times unless there is express permission and supervised access.   Children are not to use the internet for purposes other than those related to their learning. If a child were to go against school expectations, relevant consequences identified in cybersafety agreements and school behaviour management plans are followed. This may include excluding access to technology at school.Internet content is filtered through N4L (Network for Learning).  All schools in New Zealand are becoming connected to N4L and extensive filtering is provided. Additional to N4L, Hanmer Springs School uses Linewize at the point where the internet comes in to the school. Children with their own device are identified as a registered user and all internet traffic is monitored, recorded and can be revisited if necessary. If a child accesses the internet via a 3G device they would be going against school policy and cybersafety rules.  There are always ways to avoid any filtering or preventative measure hence the significant focus on cybersafety education, the school key competencies and values.Many children, (not all!) already have access to an unfiltered internet on numerous mobile devices outside of school with limited supervision. The focus on cybersafety education supports digital citizenship both within and outside of school.

How would the school ensure children don’t have too much ‘screen time’ and what about the core skills of written and oral communication?

Core literacy skills including writing using a pen or pencil continue to be important and have not been forgotten or set aside because of computers, iPads or other technology.  There are over 50 iPads or laptops owned by the school which are already being used to support learning.  Key skills of reading, writing and mathematics continue to be a major focus and the school progresses and achieves very well in these areas when compared nationally.   Children have access to devices when and if it is relevant to their learning.  At times where written handwriting is the focus of learning then devices are not used for this purposes.  On the other hand devices can be used in numerous effective ways to collaborate, communicate, share and develop literacy skills. 
What about the have’s and have nots?

Initially BYOD would be rolled out for year 5 to 8 children.  It would be optional and children without their own device would continue to have access to numerous school devices.  The school is aware of financial pressures on families and is looking into options that could assist parents if they chose to purchase a device for their child. This may include a bulk discount or leasing options.  See part two of ‘BYOD frequently asked questions’ in next week’s newsletter.

How would security be managed? 

The school is mindful of security and the attractiveness to ‘would be thieves’ of numerous iPads of laptops around the place.  This is a consideration in the school byod procedure.
The school will provide a suitable place for devices to be stored during the day.  Parents are responsible for the insurance of any devices brought from home and students are required to take suitable care in their use of, handling and storage of their device.  Children take their device home overnight for charging. If classrooms are vacant during the day for a school trip, normal practice is that classrooms are locked and secured. The new building will also be alarmed. 
What about off task or inappropriate use? 

As with any equipment being used at school for learning, off task behaviour or inappropriate use needs to be managed.  Teachers work with the children to ensure that for most of the time they are on task and using learning tools at school appropriately.  This is about modelling, reinforcing and ensuring learning tasks are suitable for the learners.  Children are ‘learning to learn’ and as such are continuing to develop their skills and ability to manage themselves, their concentration levels and effort with the support of teachers and parents.  Learning activities that require use of technology will continue to be modified to suit the needs of children. There is still much  time at school where technology is not included as part of the learning task.

The cost of purchasing a device is a financial pressure on families? 

BYOD will not be compulsory and school will maintain a healthy supply of up to date school owned devices. The school is also exploring options that  might make it cheaper for families should they want to provide a device for their children. 
Would children be too reliant on technology? What about too much screen time? 

Children at Hanmer Springs School  will continue to use paper, pen and pencil and alongside this have the opportunity to use technology should it assist learning.  There are numerous ways technology is supporting learning at school and there is no intention for children to be behind a screen all day.  BYOD will increase accessibility to a personal device but teachers will continue to manage children’s use much as they do now.  Depending on the learning tasks and content, children may either be using a device, pen and paper, communicating face to face or another method to develop, communicate and share their understanding.