Working with parents to solve BYOD frustrations - Education Matters Magazine
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Working with parents to solve BYOD frustrations

With research showing almost one quarter of Australian parents have purchased the wrong electronic device for their school child, or a device that doesn’t do what is needed, experts suggest principals and teachers should work closely with parents to ensure greater awareness surrounding the purchase of BYOD technology.

Pip Cleaves, parent, head teacher and Senior Education Consultant at Design, Learn, Empower recommends that teachers and principals have open discussions with school communities about BYOD technology requirements, share the required specifications of the technology, offer recommendations with variety in price, and ensure parents know exactly what a device will be used for to ensure purchased devices suit the learning needs of their children.

“Having the wrong device can be likened to bringing the wrong exercise book to school,” Cleaves explains. “For teachers this means they have to be prepared for both paper and non-paper based learning.

“Taking extra time to prepare for the paper based classroom, when the norm is digital, is an extra complication that does not ensure equity in learning experiences. This is difficult for teachers to deal with and they tend to feel a little frustrated.

“When all students bring devices that ensure solid digital learning experiences, then this can ensure a teacher can focus on student outcomes and growth, not preparing for the minority that are not able to join in learning experiences with their peers.

“Talking with parents and ensuring they are aware of what a student needs to do on a laptop, and speaking about what sorts of things a child likes to do with technology when learning, is an important role of the 21st Century Teacher.”

New research from Microsoft Australia has revealed that individual learning requirements are not a top priority for parents when purchasing devices for the classroom.

Price was ranked as the first priority, followed by speed and performance, their child’s learning style, then brand and popularity. The research also revealed over a third of Australian parents are getting little to no guidance when purchasing the correct device for their child, with nearly half ‘in the dark’ when it comes to the technology needs of their children.

Cleaves said sharing websites such as Devices for Schools is a good start as it helps parents think of their child’s learning and see what device is most likely to suit their child.

“Research points out that over 85% parents will spend up to $1000 on devices,” she said. “This all adds up to an expensive decision for parents if they get it wrong. Schools need to work to ensure as much information and choice as possible is available for parents so that they are making informed decisions, not emotional decisions based on their child’s friends or the trendiest device on the shelf.

“Ensuring parents know what a device will be used for, and how learning will be done on a device will help to ensure they make decisions that help their student to achieve the best outcomes they can.”