Monday, September 12, 2011

#EduscotICT Schools in Scotland and Mobile Devices

Still compiling a report on Alt-C conference . I was especially impressed by Miguel Brechner's update on the progress of the one lap-top per child scheme in Uruguay and evaluation of this in English is here

Picked up too this morning a useful post from New Zealand from Derek Wenmoth - both the barriers he describes and the solutions they are seeking will not be alien to Scottish Education audience  - I'll quote a bit

  • Burnside High School in Christchurch is encouraging its senior pupils to bring their own computers to school, but has no plans to make the devices compulsory.Burnside High School is encouraging its senior pupils to bring their own computers to school, but has no plans to make the devices compulsory.
  • Point England School in Auckland has embarked on a student netbook programme combined with a roll-out of wireless access to homes.
  • At Kaitao Intermediate School in Rotorua they've also announced a programme to provide tablets to every student at minimal cost to parents.
  • Brand new school, Albany Senior High School, started the way they planned to go on, with a "high trust" approach to technology use in the school, with all students able to bring their own device.
  • Orewa College hit the headlines with its plan to require students to purchase a 1-1 computing device for their work at school, with a recommendation that it be an iPad2
  • Perhaps the most ambitious is NZ's largest secondary school, Rangitoto College, which will welcome student devices into the school from next year, providing free access to the internet.
The examples above can be matched by others, I'm sure, that haven't made the headlines in this way. The big question is WHY? What is driving these decisions to be made? Some of the reasons become apparent in an examination of the stories:
  1. Equity – providing students with devices is a way of countering the perceived gaps between the 'haves' and 'have nots' (digital divide)
  2. Cost – BYOD programmes minimise cost (and risk) for schools, who can then divert money into building a robust network to support them
  3. Competition – a fear of 'being lft behind', or of facing competition from other schools
  4. Curriculum – enabling 21st century learning to take place, recognising that digital literacy and competence will be required across the board
  5. Choice – a response to the increasing diversity of devices available, and to students wanting to use the device of their choosing

I am sure world that Derek is describing chimes with some of our own experiences in Scotland

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