‘Technology alone will not improve education, but it can be a powerful part of the solution’ (Sundar Pichai, CEO Google).
As teachers and parents, we are also continuously looking at ways to equip our young people with the opportunities and tools to grow and shape their future. To support this, from September 2021 we will be building on the skills students developed in their online learning over the past year as we expand our ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) and supplement it with a ‘1:1 Digital Device’ purchase scheme for students.
Research conducted by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) shows that if used in lessons in the right way, students who have access to digital devices to support their learning make great gains in their learning. We have been talking with parents, carers, schools, students and staff over the past few months to gather as much intelligence as possible about the variety of different methods employed and their effectiveness. Many schools already have such a strategy and enjoy its embedded practice already.
We believe access to digital devices in lessons will:
Despite its potential benefits, it would of course not be appropriate for digital devices to be used in all lessons or indeed the whole lesson; there would be occasions when writing with a pen is still required. Students will be taught how to use these devices safely and responsibly by their teachers. Home learning activities would benefit from using a digital device as tasks will be set on Google classroom to support learning in lessons. Students would need to bring the digital device into school fully charged each day having charged it overnight, much like a mobile phone. Our school’s IT infrastructure operates at a specification that will cope with enabling free WiFi access to all students.
So, from September 2021 any student in the school who wishes to, and / or is able to, can bring in their own digital device (BYOD), for example a laptop or tablet, and use it in lessons under the clear direction of their teachers.
Although the benefits to learning would suit any student, there will be no obligation for any families to buy a device for use in lessons from September 2021; there will be a stock of devices for loan to students within the school day if you don’t wish to lease one. Students with special educational needs or students who are eligible for pupil premium funding would likely benefit the most from using a digital device in their learning and so we are therefore keen to discuss financial support to anyone who falls into those categories. The experiences of other schools who have such a scheme already, is that within a year most students were routinely using digital devices in lessons.
We also recognise that not all families have portable digital devices at home that could be brought into school and are therefore using a national company to enable families to lease a device using a pay monthly scheme. Subject to final due diligence checks, the devices would be ‘Lenovo Chromebook 300e’ and the company supporting the school is ‘London Grid for Learning’ through ‘FreedomTech’. These devices would cost £13.50 per month over three years and come built in with warranty, accidental damage, theft insurance and the immediate temporary loan of a device for offsite repair service. The full package represents a saving when compared to high street packages including insurance. There is no need for a credit check to take part in the scheme.