Rosehill College partnered with Noel Leeming to implement a carefully-managed BYOD programme – and it’s been to the benefit of every Year 9 family involved, writes Lee Suckling.
Last year, Rosehill College spent time fine-tuning its requirements for BYOD before going out to market.
“We’d employed a director of eLearning, Greg Duff, and assembled a BYOD committee,” said Deputy Principal Bill Hubbard, who’s in charge of ICT at the Papakura school.
“The BYOD operation had two particular requirements. It needed a preferred device, that would fulfil learning requirements; then it needed a supplier of that device that would take the commercial aspect out of the hands of the school and deal directly with the families – so the school could focus on teaching and learning.”
The college’s pedagogy drove the Google-centric environment and that, in turn, helped direct the selection of the preferred device: Chromebooks.
“Chromebooks are at good price points and work faultlessly with the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) accounts provided for every student,” explained Duff.
Rosehill College recommended ‘one device, and one device only’ for a very particular reason, he adds.
“When you’ve got a range of different devices in a BYOD programme, you don’t know what you’re going to get. Some won’t connect to the wireless network well, and you’ll have the potential for multiple devices failing. Also, teachers wanted to know what device they had in front of them, so their professional development could be around one single product.”
Direction and guidance
Having a specified device gives teachers the confidence to provide targeted direction and guidance in the classroom. Rosehill College negotiated with three suppliers, each of which stocked variations on the Chromebook.
“Interfacing with families was essential, and Noel Leeming had a store right in Papakura,” said Hubbard.
The school had consulted extensively with its Year 8 contributing schools but by mid-2013, there were still concerns about equity.
“The BYOD programme had to be easy for families. We were still concerned that some would find BYOD financially difficult, but thankfully the partnership with Noel Lemming helped to break down barriers that could stop families from bringing a device.”
Noel Leeming’s Auckland senior commercial business manager, Dylan Weymouth, (alongside the store manager) arranged every staff member at Noel Leeming Papakura to be prepared for Rosehill College parents and students.
“They knew the sale arrangements, the finance arrangements, no matter who was on staff on any given day. If we’d made the option ‘any Noel Leeming store in New Zealand’, that wouldn’t necessarily have been the case.”
Affordable for almost every family
The Chromebook bundle comprised an Acer C720 Chromebook, a hard-shell case, three-year extended warranty, and optional breakage insurance. Outright price was $509, with an additional $72/one-year or $104/three-year for insurance. Finance terms of 24 and 36 months were made available.
“This made it as cheap as $5.49 per week over 36 months,” continued Hubbard. “That was affordable for almost every family.”
More than 90 per cent of families (Rosehill School has 1775 students) were able to commit to this. The other five to 10 per cent had support from donors, and Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ).
“We met with our local WINZ office, and ensured the Chromebooks were on the stationary list as a requirement for each student,” said Duff. “WINZ could then help support those families who’d tried their best to purchase a Chromebook but still weren’t able to get there by themselves.”
Learning without interruption
The Chromebooks’ Google Apps for Education (GAFE) connectivity is essential in the ongoing success of the school’s BYOD management.
“Acer and Noel Leeming offered several loaner Chromebooks, so when a student damages a device – which is inevitable – they can take it into the Noel Leeming store, which will give them a replacement to use while theirs is getting fixed,” said Hubbard. “The cloud-based environment means that students can log straight back into their Google account, and all their files are there – like nothing had happened. They can continue learning without interruption, and when their original device returns, they simply log back in again – it’s seamless.
“You can’t do that when kids are bringing a range of different devices to school. When something breaks and goes off for repair, a lot of their data can be gone forever.”
To date, not one parent from the College has said purchasing the device has been difficult.
“A year ago, I didn’t think our BYOD could go as well as this,” added Hubbard. “Now that it’s implemented, I can’t see how it could have been gone much better.”
Lee Suckling writes for INTERFACE Magazine.
More on the Acer C720
This device has an 11.6-inch display and a full-sized keyboard. It comes with the latest Chrome operating system, which gives quick access to the entire suite of Google products, including Drive, Docs, Google+, Gmail, and others.
Contact Noel Leeming
For more on how Noel Leeming can help your school contact Ben Rennell, Business Development Manager – Education, on 027 742 6537 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the company’s stand at INTERFACEXpo.