Dainfern College strongly believes that integrating technology across the curriculum using a one-on-one personal device such as a tablet adds educational value by:
- Enhancing the learning process
- Encouraging collaborative learning
- Engaging students in the learning process by using tools they are very comfortable with
- Developing 21st Century skills that our students will need to strongly feature on the world stage and allow them to become robust 21st Century digital citizens
- Enabling students to learn independently, think critically, collaborate with peers and communicate their ideas using a variety of media-rich methods
In 2013, the tablet initiative was rolled out in the High School to Grades 8 and 9 and these students were expected to have their own tablet to be used at school every day. We made the decision to introduce a Bring Your Own Tablet initiative rather than a Bring Your Own Device as the tablet has many benefits over a laptop, including extended battery life, robustness, small size, appropriate apps and portability. From January 2014 all our High School students in Grades 8, 9 and 10 are required to have their own tablet to be used every day at school. The tablets are to be maintained by the student and we have placed support and training structures in place to assist the students and staff.
A tablet is used for daily organisation of our students’ lives as well as for enhancing the learning experience by using digital calendars and the other different apps that are available. E-textbooks are becoming more common and there will be further development in this area in the future. Our expectations from our teachers in the classroom are that they use the device when appropriate and not just for technology’s sake. Students are still expected to develop traditional skills and teachers are encouraged to use a combination of educational methods. The device is seen as another tool to enrich the learning experience and not the only tool.
We have a core list of apps that we need our students to have loaded on their device. Our intention is to keep the number of paid apps to a minimum as our approach is to use apps for content creation by our students and not use apps for apps’ sake. Teachers may also request that subject-specific apps be loaded during the year. This is a list of apps we require be loaded on the device:
- Either Quick Office which has a Word Processor, Spreadsheet and Presentation application all in one - R159,99 OR Spreadsheet (Numbers), Word Processor (Pages) and Presentation (Keynote) - R79,00 each. Or similar.
- Popplet - Please consider buying the full version
- Edmodo - Free
- Pocket, Dropbox and Box - Free
- Dictionary - dictionary.com or Merriam-Webster or other - Free
- Any calculator - Free
- Explain Everything - R29,99 or Educreations or ShowMe - Free
- Book Creator - R39,99
- Comic Book - R15,99
- Tag Cloud - R7,99
- Audiomemo / voice recorder - Many free ones available
- Google translate - Free
- Adobe Reader - Free
We are very aware that there are issues attached to this initiative:
Security: We insist that the students either have their tablets securely with them at all times or locked in their locker. A strong lock will need to be supplied. Specially designed tablet lockers have been also supplied for students’ use. We recommend that the tablets are insured as part of your household insurance, that they are clearly marked and that a tracking app such as Find My iPhone is installed.
Cyber-safety: We have an Acceptable User Policy in place and continually educate our students on how to be responsible digital citizens. We also have age-appropriate web filters for all internet access including the school’s wifi. If the student’s device has 3G capability, we insist that 3G be switched off whilst at school so that the internet is only accessed through our content filtering system. This also prevents high 3G costs from tablet use at school.
Responsibility: Students are expected to be responsible for their own devices. This includes ensuring they are charged every night.
Please feel free to contact Pam Macmillan for any queries or advice.
BREAKING NEWS! ThinkAhead are offering FREE iPad workshops for parents. Please download the brochure for details about dates and times.