There used to be a very clear distinction between BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and 1:1 computing or device programmes in schools. However, since the popularity of 1:1 device programmes driven by parental payments or contributions has increased, the lines are becoming a bit blurred. No longer is a student using a school-issued device exclusively on-premises. They are using a device which has – technically – been issued by the school, but is being paid for by the parent, and are using it as fully personalised learning device both in school and at home.
This means that some thought into how the flow of devices in and out of school is managed and monitored is required. Here’s a quick guide to designing a 1:1 device policy for your school that works.
Just as with a BYOD programme there is a potential security risk associated with personal devices being brought into school and connected to your network. This is the student’s personal learning device – they’re taking it with them everywhere they go, and you can only control what happens to it outside of the school premises to a certain extent. That risk aside, you must also ensure that your network is secure within the school too, and that students can’t and won’t access malware or sensitive material. On school premises, the best way to handle this is to have a robust firewall with carefully managed settings to ensure students are unable to access anything harmful. On and off school premises, a mobile device management solution is useful for locking down devices, and ensuring that students are unable to download and install harmful apps or software that could carry malware.
Something to consider with a BYOD or 1:1 device programme is around the question of screen-time, and the balance between having all-day access to a device and still being engaged in learning. There’s also the question of managing their attention, as it were – how do you stop students going off task and accessing “non-educational” material during lesson time? The latter can be managed to some extent in the ways we mentioned in the previous section – through stringent mobile device management and firewall configuration. But when it comes to balancing learning and technology access, it really comes down to behaviour management. It’s important that your teachers fully understand the capabilities and the limitations of the technology their class is using, and knows when to let them be independent and when to reign them in. Which leads us nicely on to…
When you’re deploying a 1:1 device programme in your school, it’s vital that everyone involved in a child’s learning journey – teachers, admin staff, the parent and the student themselves – understands how and why the technology should be used in order to get the best educational outcomes. To launch a truly successful 1:1 device policy, it’s vital that you provide training and advice on both the functional and educational aspects of the technology. For teachers, this means understanding in a broader sense how to effectively use technology as a teaching and learning tool – this can be achieved through a programme of training and CPD. For parents and students, this could mean providing guidance on how the device should be used, the conditions under which the student is permitted to use it during lesson time, and perhaps encouraging parents to monitor screen time and device use.
Another thing to consider around 1:1 device programmes which you should design your policy to mitigate is around parent non-payment. What happens if the parent stops paying for the device? While it’s in everyone’s best interests to resolve the situation and ensure the student can continue accessing their device – it’s also important from your perspective as a school that you’re not losing out. Some providers offer misappropriation insurance which will cover you in the event that the parent stops paying – however, the drawback to this approach is that in order to claim on this you will need a crime reference number. This involves classifying the non-payment as a theft, which could cause more problems and not lead to resolution which works for everyone involved. The way that Freedom Tech approach this is by covering you no matter what – you don’t need to declare a theft or obtain a reference number. If a parent stops paying, whether they return the device or not, we will pay out to you the remaining balance owed on the device.
Overall the rewards of a 1:1 device programme tend to outweigh the risks. But it’s important that you put in place a solid policy which allows you to manage the use of devices carefully, protecting the security and best interests of both the school and the students. If you would like more advice on deploying a 1:1 device policy in your school, get in touch.