As you would know our school supports a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program as an approach to complementing our school resources and enhancing the use of digital technology on our school network. It is our aim that digital technology is used to promote powerful learning, inquiry, creativity and effective communication in line with the ever changing needs of today’s learners. We wish to support our students to become digitally responsible citizens. We also want students to be using digital technology as a tool for learning, whenever that is a most effective option.

Already this year we are seeing students using their devices to demonstrate their learning in creative ways that they couldn’t do before. We have students managing home school communications in new ways and using collaborative online spaces to access resources and continue their learning outside of school.

This year, a new Digital Technologies area of the Australian Curriculum has been launched.  The expectations of this new curriculum are very different than what we’ve seen in the past.

The new curriculum states that:

The Digital Technologies learning area provides students with authentic learning challenges that foster curiosity, confidence, persistence, innovation, creativity, respect and cooperation. These are all necessary when using and developing  systems to make sense of complex ideas and relationships in all areas of learning. Digital Technologies helps students to be regional and global citizens capable of actively and ethically communicating and collaborating.

Here’s the digital technologies scope and sequence and the link to the Technologies Curriculum website.

This fits very well with our vision for students and digital technologies at Woodend. To better meet the needs of the curriculum and of our students learning in this area, we are re-imagining our current computer room space. As it stands, the computer room consists of rows of computers where students go for a weekly lesson. The developing vision for the future of this space will have a focus on exploration, creativity, inquiry and collaboration with more students bringing their device with them. 

Our BYOD program will also support this new curriculum. With an emphasis on student collaboration and being able to access their learning anywhere at any time, we wish to harness the momentum we have gained over the last two years and build on it. We believe that more students with their own devices will support the higher order thinking that we are seeking to achieve. In working towards this goal we are encouraging parents to consider more students (Reception – Year 2) bringing their devices to school. In particular we are asking that we strive for ALL students from Years 3 – 7 to bring a device to school from 2016.

Over the past two years BYOD at our school has been limited to iPads. Across the school (even in junior primary) we are now seeing many students with these devices and already this year, quite a few classes are at or close to one to one. We understand that many families have existing devices at home that are not iPads. Consequently, to support this Year 3-7 push, we have broadened our BYOD program to include any mobile device students are able to use effectively on a daily basis. In this regard, phones and iPods, with their smaller screen size, are not likely to be the go to devices for regular use.

If you are buying a new device for your child we still strongly suggest that an iPad is the way to go. iPads work much more reliably on the school network, are free from viruses and offer substantial benefits for collaborative and creative learning opportunities. iPad minis have proven to be very good value.

We recognise that for some families a personal device for their child is going to be difficult. We wish to assure all families that across R-7 classes there will be additional shared school devices that support opportunities for all students to be hands on more often and able to collaborate and create more effectively. Our school purchases of digital technology for 2016 will build on the large number of school owned digital devices we already have and enhance this Year 3-7 BYOD push.

It’s very exciting to be building so strongly towards our vision for our learners!