The Issues in DeviceSelectionFor many schools, notebook, netbook or iPadprograms which give students high levels ofaccess to connected learning environments arenow nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, manyschools have or are now in the process ofreplacing their initial fleets of devices. These areeither now out of lease or past their use by date.Schools going through this rollover process, orthose implementing such programs for the firsttime, need to make device selection a significantteaching and learning decision.
The Issues in DeviceSelectionDevice rollouts are about more than justproviding shiny new devices for students. Ifdevice usage doesn’t engage students, improvelearning and enhance the delivery curriculumthrough systemic and school pedagogies, theyare simply not being used in a useful capacity.If device usage doesn’t engage students,improve learning and enhance the deliverycurriculum through systemic and schoolpedagogies, they are simply not being usedin a useful capacity.
Three Critical Factors inDevice SelectionPedagogyStakeholder ViewsLearning Spaces [Physical andVirtual]
Pedagogy So where does a school start? Well, answer these questions about pedagogy and programs first.• What are your schools values and beliefs? What does it believe about teaching and learning?• •What is the role of teacher in the learning process? How much responsibility does the student have for their learning? How much trust does the school have in its students?• What physical spaces are provided by your school for student learning? How much access do students get to those spaces?• What virtual spaces can students access at school and at home?• What digital citizenship programs does your school have in place?• Honest answers to these questions will provide a starting point as to the type of device that will best suit a schools needs.
The worst thing for a school to do isto pick a device first, based on areason such unit price,or what the school down the roadhas, or what one person in theschool thinks is the best solution andthen trying to shoe-horn it into whatthat school believes anddemonstrates about teaching andlearning.
Pedagogy• In pedagogical terms, all schools will be somewhere of a continuum from Traditional Teaching and Learning to Flexible / Personalized Learning.• The place on that continuum may be flexible within a school, depending upon the learning activity, the year level, the subject being taught and the relationships between individual teachers and learners. However, it should be possible to place those classes involved in a device rollout somewhere on that continuum in a general sense.
PedagogyTraditional learning is ... Implications for devices in traditional learning is ...• Teacher centred • Quick internet access• Individual learning • A range of software / apps,• More summative particularly for desktopassessment publishing• Less formative • Desktops but alsoassessment notebooks / netbooks• Traditional classroom • Wireless internet accessset up important but more for safety• Content driven reasons, [i.e. no cords], than• Teacher directed for portability / mobile learningactivities •Speedy, reliable• About school learning, • Cost effectiverather than 24/7 learning • Light and easy to carry
PedagogyFlexible or personalised Implications for devices in flexible orlearning is..... personalised learning is......• Student centred • Quick internet access• Individual & group •A wider range of software / apps,learning including multimedia• More formative •Access to a school or systemassessment Learning Management System• Less summative •Access to a wide variety ofassessment collaborative Web 2.0 tools• Student directed •Notebooks / netbooks, but could• Teacher scaffolded also be a tablets / iPads• 24/7 learning •Wireless internet access is critical• Collaborative for mobile learning and collaboration• Global •Usability in school and out of• Occurring in a variety of school, 24/7learning spaces [both in and • Good battery lifeout of school] •Light and easy to carry •Speedy, reliable • Cost effective
Stakeholders Now it’s time to get the views of all the stakeholders involved. They won’t necessarily all think in the same way! What device do administrators think best suits there schools needs? What about teachers? What about technicians? What about students? What about parents and carers [especially if they are contributing to the cost of the device]? Does your school system / authority have preferences about devices?• It is important that you find out what the answers might be at your school. This can easily be done by having stakeholders complete online surveys. These results can be unpacked by setting up some focus groups of stakeholders.
StakeholdersStakeholder Key NeedsAdministrators / Pricing - the device, technical support,Principals warranty, insurance, physical security and cyber security.Teachers Reliable, speedy and secure. Easily updated / customized for curriculum needs.Technicians Ease of networking, troubleshooting, re- imaging, synching and security.Students Customized to their needs, ability to add their own software and apps. Portable and light to carry. Meets their needs at school and at home [if they use the device 24/7]Parents / Carers Pricing - the device, technical support, warranty, insurance, physical security and cyber security.
Learning Spaces But what about the relationship between your learning spaces and the devices? So, some more questions to ask.• What are the physical spaces that students learn in at your school?• • Where do students currently use internet connected devices in your school?• •Are there internet connected learning spaces in your school that are not used or under utilized? These could be break out rooms, specialist teaching spaces, outdoor areas etc.• •Investigate the usage patterns of your school’s learning spaces. What factors are involved in this selection and use of these spaces? e.g. teacher preferences, supervision, connectivity, timetables etc.• Are there projects in place to build or modify physical and virtual learning spaces at the school in the near future?• What virtual learning spaces are available to your students, e.g. Learning Management Systems, Web 2.0 tools / spaces? Are these available to students 24/7.• Is online teaching and learning supported by teachers at your school?
Three data sets.Pedagogy and programs in your school thatrequire or are enhanced by device rollouts.What different stakeholders think about theimportant features of devices.What learning spaces, [physical and virtual],are used in the school and what potential isthere to develop spaces that will enhancethe 21st century skills and attitudes that arerequired for a worthwhile device rollout.
Put the data sets together.Be open about your decision making. Share the data withall stakeholders. Look at your pedagogy and programs,what will be enhanced by the rollout? What will be thequick successes? What will take longer to achieve? Howwill teachers, students and parents need to be supported inthis process of curriculum and organizational change?Look at your current and potential learning spaces. Arethere learning spaces that could be better used for 21stcentury teaching and learning, using the soon to bepurchased / leased devices? What actions need to be put inplace to change the learning space usage? Is wirelessconnectivity robust enough for all these new devices?Consider those stakeholder views on the device rollout.Often the technical opinions and budget allocations willhave as big an impact on the final decision as thepedagogical ones do!
Put the data sets together.• • Virtual learning space access, such as a Learning Management System, is essential for any device rollout to be successful. There needs to be online spaces where teachers can post resources for students, where students can respond to tasks and set up reflective digital portfolios. Students and teachers need to be able to access these 24/7, from school or from home. If your school does not have any access to school operated, or school system operated, virtual learning spaces, there are many Web 2.0 tools and a number of commercial solutions available.• If you are placing devices in the hands of students, then have your cyber safety programs in place. Support your students in being great digital citizens from the start!
ConclusionThe best thing for a school to do is to pick theactual device last. Make this decision by matching the device towhat that school believes and demonstratesabout teaching and learning, after input from allstakeholders.A good decision will make the best matchbetween teacher needs, student needs,pedagogy, and the resourcing available. It’s animportant decision!