Each year, we as teachers are determined to make significant changes that improve our classroom and school. One way in which we can achieve this is by implementing new technologies. However, for some schools this can be a relative simple process whereas for others, this may take the entire school year to plan and implement. This could be due to numerous factors such as the school type, the overall offerings of the school and the stakeholders of the school.
The first consideration of determining which technology is to be implemented is the school’s purpose. Technologies should be integrated to support the goals of the school plan as well as overall learning outcomes. Schools should ask themselves “What will the school/students/classrooms gain by introducing new technologies into the school?” Schools can quite easily get carried away with selecting technologies that are considered ‘popular’, ‘well-known’ or ‘inexpensive’.
Decision makers must determine the overall teaching and learning goals. Little will be gained if, for example, iPads are selected for students to spend a considerable amount of time creating word processing documents. Teachers must remember that the learning drives the technology, and that the technology does not drive the learning.
It appears that regardless of the school type, all schools are facing it tough this year. Budgets overall have been reduced and if the technologies that are required are quite expensive, little will be gained in the classroom if only 10 devices are purchased for 30 students. Additionally, many devices require additional components and software which may make purchasing of these devices unattainable.
Ascertaining the technical capabilities of the school is imperative prior to purchase. The school’s computer coordinator or TSO should be able to determine which device and its desired specific specifications would work effortlessly. Additionally, the school will need to determine if numerous devices can be online simultaneously without any hiccups.
Recently, Rooty Hill High School introduced a BYOD program and found that in order for all devices to be connected to the school’s Wi-Fi and have access to the school’s intranet, devices are required to be windows based. This way, the school could provide sufficient technical support as well as connectivity to all students.
Ascertaining how devices will be charged, stored and accessed is another key consideration. Laptop trolleys that can be moved from classroom to classroom are popular as are lockable charging stations that can charge up to 10 iPads at once.