Our school has moved to implement a BYOD (Bring your Own Device) policy for 2014.

We have spent the last 6 months exploring what is best for our community and practically possible for students, as well as their teachers. There are a variety of opinions, challenges and POVs but a specific model has been chosen. Thinking has evolved since I last posted about BYOD and presented these options:

• a) LOCKED DOWN – provide the laptops (or devices) for students
• b) REQUIREMENTS – Provide parents with the preferred devices, software and retailers
• c) BYO ANYTHING – as long as it connects to the internet

We are moving from the DER supported option a to option c with some specification for Year 9 students. Option b was just not going to work, especially in the shorter term. The parents of students who have devices did not want to buy new equipment and often, in a time of constant change, making a deal with a vendor who is keen to take advantage of the post-DER environment by making attractive offers to schools (and dare I say it, appears to be one of many big businesses struggling in a dynamic market) is not an arrangement the school wishes to make at this stage. The school is likely to have BYOD for Y7-12 by the start of 2015.

Here is the recently released BYOD policy from my employer that shows the guidelines for this endeavour and also my BYOD Diigo tag.


One of the most important issues the parents wanted us to consider was equity. This is also the number 1 concern of staff and the executive at  the school.

Our surveys indicated that up to 30% of our students in Year 9, 2014 would not be providing a device for school. Not all families returned the survey so we will not truly know the exact numbers until early next year but it is a significant minority.

We have been able to install Ubuntu on the older Lenovos in our technology pool at school. We have also experimented with Chromium which loads much faster on the Lenovos. Our conclusion is that Ubuntu is best for students who do not have internet access at home.

We are also recommending Open Office and GIMP for students who do not have access to other software. It is likely that students will be able to download Microsoft and Adobe software in 2014 but the exact arrangements are unclear to state schools at this stage.

We will understand the challenges for families and in classrooms much better as the next 6 months unfold but it is essential not to focus on technology too much. We have made good progress over the last five years employing technology for learning but need to reinvigorate our thinking about pedagogy (a never-ending, often fun process)  in 2014.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Jeff Utecht


Our professional development opportunities at the school will have a BYOD focus in coming months. Of course, we need to have good processes that ensure that tech difficulties are ameliorated quickly and do not get in the way of learning but more importantly, we need to think differently about the opportunities this change of direction will provide. The SAMR model is a particularly good one for supporting pedagogy.

Here is a brief video explanation of the model you will find useful if unacquainted with SAMR:

Other thoughts

I will continue to add resources to my SAMR Diigo tag and post presentations used at school and conferences in 2014. It should be an exciting year for our students and teachers. I am particularly excited that we have a partnership with our local municipal library who will provide each student with a membership card which allows access to ebooks/audiobooks online and will report on how that progresses too.

There are some schools making good progress in the post-DER funding world and we need to share our successes and failures in 2014. Our recent BYOD ‘fun day’ with Year 8 was successful in that students connected to the wifi and teachers made use of the devices BUT, the largest single group were students without devices! It is particularly important to share how we are managing equity issues and pedagogy as 2014 unfolds!

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by jennip98

What is your approach to BYOD at school?

FEATURED IMAGE: cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by Tim Klapdor:



    • The Black Adder

    • 11 years ago

    Maybe the reason families don’t have devices at home is that the school has never given them a reason to?

  1. Great post Darcy, and you are spot on in addressing the importance of equity. I actually did a BYOD project at a small school that I work in term 4 last year. There are 15 students all up and 4 did not have access to a device. Therefore I had to provide these students with the school devices (luckily we had 4) and expected the work to be completed during school hours. I also work at 3 other much larger schools (all primary DEC) and I expect it will be a lot trickier to set up a project using BYOD. I had a great discussion with the students after their BYOD project and they all were unanimous in agreeing that they enjoyed using their devices for school work but they also highlighted many areas that needed to be tweaked. Other issues I recognised, again this is because I had younger S1-3 students, was the time spent in typing and simply navigating the device. I expect in high school many students would be the experts rather than the teacher….I could be wrong. So ultimately, there are many things to think about when implementing a BYOD lesson/project in the school but for me by starting small/planning well and listening to the students really helped to make it a successful project. I have put the link here if you are interested. Also, the SAMR model is a good one and I really try to think about it when planning for my students. Thanks again for the great post. I’m working at Southern Cross University and am about to share this with my secondary pre-service teachers who are doing the Curriculum, Assessment and New Media unit this semester.

    Kate Booth

      • Darcy Moore

      • 11 years ago

      Thanks for the link and comment, Kate! I too work with pre-service secondary students (University of Wollongong) and will use the SAMR model in 2014.

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