Technology Policy

Engadine High School

The Digital Education Revolution (DER) program began in 2009 as an initiative of the Federal government. Every Year 9 received their own laptop which they keep as long as they remain at school and complete Year 12. The wireless connection to support the new laptops has been completed throughout the school so that students can quickly and safely connect to the internet. 

A significant investment in staff professional development has occured to support the effective integration of technology into learning. At Engadine High School, we have a specialist team of staff who will implement the phases of this exciting initiative. We have already adopted an e-learning management system which students are progressively using as part of the laptop program.
 
The Commonwealth Government announced in 2013 that their Digital Education Revolution (DER) laptop program would not continue from 2014. Over the past five years this program has had a significant impact on the way students can learn and on the way schools provide access to a digital learning environment. Although DER technology is no longer to be supported, schools will of course continue in preparing their students for a world in which technology plays an essential role.
 
Ongoing changes in technology, devices, and how they are used has meant considerable rethinking as to how technology is best incorporated into the classroom.  For example, the Department of Education and Communities (DEC) has recently responded to a trend for students who bring from home a smart device, tablet or similar technology for use at school. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy supports the idea that students will likely invest more in technology they own and in devices they cantailor for use both at home and school.
 
As part of their post DER plans, it would appear the majority of schools are now adopting BYOD options. We have also consulted with schools that have already moved in this direction. They have been very pleased with the way in which this strategy has supported student learning. These schools have made it clear, however, that a successful transition to BYOD requires that certain principles be agreed to by users:
 
  • Devices must be compatible with DEC wireless networks (see below).
  • Devices should be commercially well established and therefore reliable.
  • For any chosen device a wide range of suitable, innovative and creative apps should be available.
  • There should be a secure prospect that the device and the apps available will be supported into the future.
  • Teachers need to be familiar with devices in order for them to support student learning and adopt their wide and innovative use in the classroom.
  • The device should be light and not unnecessarily add to the weight of school bags.
With these principles in mind there has been a primary trial of iPads (iOS) in our school this year. Some staff have also incorporated the use of Android devices into their teaching. The results of a recent evaluation were overwhelmingly positive. Teachers have found that these devices support their teaching programs, better engage students, interact with a wide range of other information sources, enhance communication, and integrate with a range of hardware already in place across the school. In relation to DER, teachers have especially contrasted the innovation offered by an ever increasing number of apps, the superior speed of accessing the network, and the greater flexibility offered by these devices.
 
Based on these trials, and other investigations, Engadine High School is introducing a BYOD policy for Year 9 in 2014. It has been clear from our investigations that schools already employing a BYOD policy are enjoying significant learning advantages for their students. Incorporating personal technology at school, which students are often already familiar with at home, is a practical and empowering step. It will also support Engadine High School students remaining at the cutting edge of 21st Century learning. To satisfy the principles stated above and ensure that students can maximize learning opportunities from personal technology, the following devices will be supported at Engadine High School from 2014 (compatible with networking, apps and teaching practice):
 
  1. Apple iPad or iPad Mini (iOS)
  2. Samsung Gallaxy Tablet 3 (Android)

These devices conform to the following required specifications:

  • 5GHz 802.11n standard
  • Dual Band or Gigabit Wireless
  • Battery life that can sustain consistent use across a school day
  • Screen size compatible with finer and continuous work (some parents may prefer, for example, the iPad to iPad Mini).
  • 16Gb or more of storage, camera, microphone
  • Less than 2 kg (it is advisable to also provide a protective cover/bag).
  • Optional – physical keyboard that can be attached (e.g. Bluetooth)
  • A list of suggested Apps will be published in 2014. A number of the essential apps will come with either of the devices listed.
At the top of this page are some vital documents for students and parents to ensure effective communication about student safety, safe use of the laptops and DET regulations surrounding the correct use of laptops at school and home.
 

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