Register today to attend the 2019 BYODD Parent Information Session



The WestMAC mandatory Bring Your Own (Designated) Device (BYODD) program will begin implementation in January 2020 and will help ensure that WestMAC is able to provide learning opportunities anywhere, anytime, that will prepare students with career and life skills for their future.

The BYODD program will also continue to ensure WestMAC is:

  • meeting the Australian Curriculum (P-10) and Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) curriculum (11-12) mandated ICT skills requirements;
  • addressing College strategic focuses to prepare students for an uncertain future, remain relevant in a rapidly expanding knowledge economy, and make our programs innovative, adaptable and responsive to unforeseen trends and developments;
  • individualising learning, increasing independence and self-initiated learning in students;
  • formalising a process that has been occurring ad-hoc in the College.


Bring your own (Designated) Device

We consider WestMAC to be 'device agnostic' – families may choose from Apple or Windows devices, as long as they meet the minimum specifications.

Please carefully consider the learning needs of your child in terms of their study pathways when choosing a device. There are some specialist subjects (particularly in Senior School) that may mean a certain device is preferred for ease of access and use of particular software. Students following a Music program, for example, should consider if a stylus enabled device would provide extra value to learning; students following a creative program (eg: Visual Art) may find an Apple Mac laptop works better for their needs.

Regardless of device chosen, students have full access to the Microsoft Office suite of software for the duration of their enrolment at WestMAC, so there is no need to purchase this as an additional extra. Information about the required cybersafety and virus protection software will be provided later this year.

The College has provided two vendor options for ease of purchasing devices that meet the specifications for WestMAC BYODD. However, you are encouraged to investigate a range of vendors and are under no obligation to purchase from either of the suppliers we have suggested - these are simply provided as a service to our families.

When purchasing a device, we urge families to consider the ‘total cost of ownership’ including warranty, technical support arrangements and hardware components which will contribute to the life of the laptop. The cheapest laptop to buy is not necessarily the best option in the end. The school takes no responsibility for any laptop purchasing and/or finance arrangements. All issues with laptop purchases or technical issues must be taken up with the vendor/supplier.


Implementation Plan

The implementation plan for BYODD @ WestMAC is as follows:


Extra considerations when purchasing:

  • Protective hard case to reduce the risk of a broken screen (avoid soft laptop sleeves as they provide very limited protection from damage).
  • Onsite warranty and repair (next business day is recommended – having to send a device away for a couple of weeks for a warranty repair can be frustrating).
  • Accidental damage protection / insurance – must be added at time of purchase in most cases – check home contents insurance policies carefully if you are considering coverage under your existing insurance.
  • Back-up storage device (USB or External hard drive) to back up files on the laptop.

Links

Download Microsoft Office Suite (free for students to access for the duration of their enrolment at WestMAC)


Frequently Asked Questions

How will students be using their devices throughout the school day?

Students will use their devices to complete in class activities, use the College’s learning management systems and school-related messaging/daily notices, complete homework, collaborate in real time, research for projects, access websites with curriculum-related content, keep track of classroom assignments, and other approved learning activities.

The use of devices in the classroom will continue to evolve over time as students and teachers are able to optimise the advantage of their use to support teaching and learning in the classroom, wherever that classroom may be.

Devices are tools that support the development of the student as an information seeker, collaborator, researcher, analyser, evaluator, problem-solver and creator. They will use technology to devise ways in which to communicate their findings and become publishers of their work.

Technology is a tool in the day-to-day learning of our students, not a special event or something separate from their everyday experiences. Different teachers in different classes will use it in different ways.

Students will not be learning in a paperless or wholly online environment, they will be using technology in classes to support the best possible approaches to rigorous teaching and learning.

Why hasn’t the College considered a 1:1 laptop (or other device) program before taking this route?

WestMAC considered several options for when making the decision about implementing a 1:1 device program. Due to several factors, including research-based evidence and financial implications for the College, the BYODD option was selected as the most appropriate for our school context.

Why can’t students have a smartphone as their device?

Research and experiential evidence shows that smartphones, while useful tools, are not ideal devices for learning in classrooms, particularly due to distraction, restrictions of screen size and keyboard use. In addition, the College has adopted a policy of no mobile phone use during the school day for students, which has been very successful.

Can students use an existing device from home?

Where possible, we suggest choosing one of the devices offered by our recommended vendors, as these have been selected to avoid issues in the long term. It is vital that our teachers are not spending time assisting students with device questions that take them away from classroom teaching and learning, and that students have continued access to a functioning device each day. However, as long as the device meets the minimum specifications we have provided, it is fine to bring a device that is already part of the household, as long as it is available for the student every day.

Will WestMAC be supporting families who can’t afford devices?

The College is unable to provide devices to families who cannot afford to purchase one. There are many options available in various price ranges, and the recommended providers offer payment plans to help alleviate cost concerns. There may be limited opportunities for families to access support via the Financial Hardship application process.

Do international students require a device?

The length of time the students will attend the College will depend on whether or not they require a device. The International Department will provide information to current and prospective students on this issue.

How does this affect students working on a modified program? Will they need extra support? Specialised software?

Families should ensure they choose a device suitable for the needs of the student. At this stage, no additional software should be necessary, but this will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

How do students access the internet while at school?

WestMAC has a high quality wireless network, covering our buildings and most student-used open spaces, allowing students to use their device across the campus.

How does the College ensure students’ safety while using the internet at school?

WestMAC’s internet connection is protected by a content filter. Students are required to use the WestMAC wifi while on campus.

Specialist subject areas need access to specialist software – how will this be handled?

In specialist areas that require access to costly or limited access software, students will continue to have access at school or via the virtual desktop provided by the College. This will continue to be evaluated throughout the implementation phase for feasibility and affordability.

Can textbooks be accessed on all types of devices?

Yes. However, physical texts will continue to be provided to students for the foreseeable future.

What happens when student devices fail, break, run out of batteries etc? Where do they plug in, get help, or get by without it?

Students must bring their device to school fully charged. If fully charged, it would be unusual if they need topping up over a day of normal use. Uncharged devices or poor battery performance may lead to a student’s inability to participate in some class activities. A core tenet of The WestMAC Way is 'Being prepared and organised'. If a device is broken or devices or not working, families will need to contact the retailer the device was purchased from as quickly as possible to facilitate repair. We recommend obtaining extended warranty and support option at point of purchase where available to help ensure swift resolution of any issues.

Will WestMAC provide powerpoints/charging stations?

No. Workplace safety and the sheer number of devices that will be in the College make this impossible. One element of selecting a device appropriate for BYODD is to ensure long battery life, and part of being prepared and organised under the WestMAC Way will be making sure devices are fully charged ready for school each day.

How will the College help avoid theft within the school?

All students have a locker, and every device has an individual serial number which should be recorded by families in case of loss. Devices are the sole responsibility of the student. WestMAC accepts no responsibility for the security or safety of the device. Clear marking of devices with the student’s name is advised, as with all personal resources

How will devices be safely stored when students are in kitchens, HPE, Farm etc?

All learning areas have spaces students can place devices when not in use. Students should consider their timetable and make good choices about when to leave their device in a locker if they have a practical lesson.

Will student devices be covered by school insurance?

No. Families will need to ensure their student’s device is explicitly covered by their household insurance, if specific insurance provided by vendors is not selected.

Is there a concern for student safety while travelling? (ie: will students be targeted because people know WestMAC students have expensive devices?)

Overseas and Australian research has shown that insurance companies have reported very few incidents while students travel to and from school. Students should avoid taking devices out in public, and to carry them in a protective cover, in their school bags.

Will student files on devices be private?

The College may require access to the browser history and caches on an individual’s device as well as any and all files belonging to the student that reside on the device as well as those stored on cloud based drives. Students and families need to be aware that files stored locally or on College cloud drives are not private and all traffic on the College network and systems is monitored.