This is the fourth year the College has been a BYOD school. This means that every student from Year 9 to 11 should have a laptop of some sort.
We have a very high percentage (virtually 100%) of our students bringing a device. Some other schools report having only 50 – 70% of their students bringing devices. This is not to say it has been all plain sailing for us and here is a list of some of the issues we still have:
forgetting to bring devices
- Students bringing uncharged devices to school (classrooms have a limited number of power points)
- Students forgetting to bring charger cables to school (a lot of laptops have unique power ports so they are not inter-changeable)
- Students bringing low spec or old devices (there is a false economy starting with a very cheap device as invariably one soon needs to upgrade)
- Students with broken laptops who take weeks or months to get them fixed (which puts a strain on our pod of loan devices)
- Our loan devices getting damaged - breaking off the keyboard keys seems a really popular thing to do at the moment!
Of course there are other deeper issues we have to deal with such as the distractive nature of using laptops in class. Teachers are getting better at dealing with this and just rearranging a classroom seating plan can make a huge difference to what students do with their laptops.
We would also like to encourage you to take the time to have your son show you what work he is doing at school. In my subject of Social Studies all the work is on OneNote and as a parent you should be able to see exactly how your son is faring in his assessments and also what work he is doing in class.
The most popular question by far was about the suitability of bringing a MacBook Air (or similar) to school. There is no problem at all bringing these devices to school as they have great battery life, they are nice and slim and have very quick start-up speeds.
When our current Year 11 students start Year 13, all our year levels will be BYOD. This in itself will bring some new challenges, such as the strain on our current Wifi infrastructure, but also some exciting opportunities such as computer labs that will no longer be needed and the teaching spaces this could free up.
The 'BYOD at St Bede's College' presentation is below and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the College.