BYOD and Primary Schools – Questions and Issues

This year in my year 6/7 class we have trialled allowing students to bring in their own IPads and IPods for school use. Our reasons for this included it allows more students to access school owned devices, students can develop skills to be productive digital citizens, they can learn on devices that are familiar to them, they respect and care for their own devices and it is empowering them to become lifelong digital learners.

I have 4-5 students who regularly bring in their devices. We have allowed them to connect to our school wifi. IPads are locked away at recess and lunch time for security but not the IPods. It has been an extremely successful trial of using BYOT on a small scale. Both students and parents have responded favourably about this program. Some of the comments from the students in a recent survey about using IPads at school included:

“They are easier to access than the computers in the computer room. I can use it whenever I need to.”

“More people can have access to the schools’ IPads when people bring their own”

However, we are now seeing other students bringing in their devices. We have decided that we are at the point that we need to develop a BYOT policy or an acceptable use policy so that students, teachers and the community are clear on our reasons for using BYO and our expectations.

This is where I need your assistance, because I have more questions than answers. Please feel free to comment on any of these ideas/questions – I would love to hear from you.

  1. Do you have a BYOT policy at your school? Are you happy to share it?

Not yet – hence the reason for this blog but once we develop one I am happy to share it with everyone!

2. In a primary school R-7 should everyone be able to bring in their devices? Or should there be age limits e.g. years 5-7

My view is that only upper primary students should be encouraged to bring in their devices. I think that JP students are too young to understand the responsibility that is involved in bringing these devices to school.

3. Should students be allowed to connect to school wifi on their device? What safety issues can this cause?

Obviously this is an issue if students are using the Wi-fi to download a lot of information but I think that if we really want to let students use the devices to enhance their learning they need to have access to the internet and we need to teach them to be responsible users of the internet.

4. What devices should students be allowed to bring in – can they use their phones?

I don’t think that it matters if students are bringing in different types of devices because it is not the device that they use but what they are doing with it that is important. Obviously it is easier if they all have the same devices but I don’t think that it is a necessity.

At our school we have a ban on mobile phones and this is something that might need to be looked at in the future. The reality is that everything that they can do on a phone they can do on an IPod!

5. Should students be allowed to use their devices at recess and lunch?

My opinion on this is that students should not be able to take any devices out at recess or lunch time. I believe that if you allow the students to access the devices at recess and lunch time you increase the risk of loss or damage to the devices. You also have less supervision of the use of the devices whilst at school. Being a primary school I think that we still need to have a degree of ‘control’ or supervision over what the devices are being used for.

As I mentioned this is just my way of getting some of my ideas on paper (in the virtual sense) and I would love to hear your views, ideas, concerns, etc about byot and primary schools.

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This entry was posted in Coordinator, Ipads, Kathy Turley, Port Elliot Primary, School. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to BYOD and Primary Schools – Questions and Issues

  1. sandywarner says:

    Great post Kathy and you have raised some very valid points. I would be more than happy to work with you to develop a policy if you need.

    Some thoughts I have on the above questions are;
    2. I disagree to a point. If we have a clear BYOT policy then children from year 3 up should have access. These children are carrying around their devices out of school and for most, are responsible for them. But teachers need to have a very clear idea of why they want them in their classrooms too!

    3.This is where it gets tricky. The reality is that our students are already accessing the internet at a very early age. We need to (and do) teach them how to do it safely. As we have only just got wi fi, we may need to review this in time to see what has worked and what hasn’t.

    4. This is the one that worries me the most. I don’t think we can dictate what students bring in as the reality is they will not all have the same thing. What worries me is that for some students the BYOT becomes a social status thing and what do we do for those students that simply can not afford it?

    5. NO. As teachers we can not monitor this and I think we have a responsibility at the primary school level to minimise the opportunity of cyber bullying when we can. The question of what happens when they get broken or stolen is also an issue. Parents need to know that we have done everything we can to prevent this from happening or some parents will simply not allow their children to bring them.

    I hope this helps Kathy…have you had anyone share their BYOT policy yet?

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