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Sep
26

Five questions parents should ask schools about BYOD

Bring your own device: student with device

I was excited to hear that the High School that my son was due to attend had decided to take a giant leap and create its first Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or e-learning class. I was super keen for him to be part of this class and so was he. I’m still really happy with how the year is working out for him.

The e-learning coordinator recently surveyed parents from the class asking how we felt the year was going and our perceptions of how engaged our kids have been in their BYOD world, it got me thinking about what I expected, and what I wish I’d known at the beginning of the year.

So here are my five questions I wish I’d asked before the school year began.

Do I really really have to adhere to this huge list of specifications and type of device that you say I should buy?
While the school is taking a great leap, so was I! Looking around for the right device was quite nerve wracking, and some of the things on the specs seemed a little over the top, frankly. I was also scared away from a particular brand of device that I would have preferred to purchase, but because the school said don’t buy this brand – I didn’t, and I could have and wish I had! Unfortunately, there was no one to talk to about the specifications list during the school holidays either.

What steps can I take to keep my kid a safe cyber-citizen?
Luckily there were some other people around my workplace that helped me out there, but I wish I was able to get a series of strategies such as, making my son use an email address that I have access to, such as I do to his facebook address, so I can keep an eye on comments, how to use parental controls, and good anti-viral software recommendations.

What is a Moodle site, and how do I use it to see what the kids are doing?
I still don’t really have this sorted, nor do I know how to use an e-portfolio.

Do we need to back up his school work or is it all in the cloud (and how does that work anyway)?
It seems to me that all work should be backed up, it would be good to understand the way school work is stored.

How will you keep that expensive equipment safe during the day, and how do they charge-up?
Most schools have lockers or safe charging spaces, but honestly I didn’t even think about it until he trotted off to school with his laptop on his back. Then I thought ‘crikey I hope he doesn’t get mugged’.

Six months down the track of our first BYOD year and I feel confident that my son is learning and enjoying his school work. He seems really engaged with his learning (my measure being that he hasn’t had any homework detentions!), and is using his laptop for most of his classes. I still have things to learn about how this BYOD thing works, but I feel certain that it is setting him up well for the future. Now I just need to get an internet shut-off switch close to my bed….

Some relevant links

CORE Education provides useful information, courses and facilitation on BYOD and some of the issues raised in Janet's post above.

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Janet Luxton

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