THE shift in overall educational budgets and the way schools disperse their funds is creating a new dilemma for schools in terms of trying to determine their new technological direction.
Should our school use a BYOD solution and, if so, which device will work in our school?
BYOD in education refers to students bringing their own device to school to use. Be it a laptop, iPad, tablet or mobile device.
Using a BYOD option will enable schools to disseminate their funds to other areas accordingly and better prepare them for tertiary education, where students already use their own devices.
As computer coordinators may be aware, it is not as simple as purchasing any device from the local store or supplier and walking into your school and logging onto the wireless network.
Many schools are finding that although local stores are willing to provide students and their families substantial discounts at the checkouts, few devices actually consistently work in the classroom.
Another constraint is the recent Federal Government announcement that the Education Tax Refund has been scrapped.
With this in mind, should our school continue to proceed with using the BYOD model and what else must we consider?
Constraints of the school network: Although the device may work at a student's house it may not neccessarily connect to the school's wifi.
Some schools have experienced that in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, a few tablets will connect to the school wifi whilst others do not.
Computer coordinators cannot explain the random activity and say they are currently spending more time working on network connectivity issues.
Other schools are concerned opening the school network may lead to security and virus threats.
Devices available: All mobile technology – laptops, tablets and mobile phones – provides students with different capabilities, resulting in very different learning outcomes. Teaching limitations: Schools must consider the necessary training teachers must undertake in order to use the device to its full capability. The device should not be a tool that is occasionally used, but a resource that supplements and facilitates learning in every lesson. Should tablets or mobile phones be the preferred BYOD, the teacher's expertise in using these tools educationally is of critical consideration. Citizens of the future: The skillset our students will need once they graduate school is no longer clear or simple to predict. The world in which they live will also determine what skills they are to learn at school. So, the question remains: Will their lives be controlled by today's mobile devices or by a product that hasn't been invented yet?
Noelene Callaghan is an ICT teacher at Rooty Hill High School, NSW, and a Highly Accomplished ICT Educator (PLANE).