BYOx | Education Queensland’s Bring Your Own Device Program
The information age has well and truly changed the way we live and work and schools are no exception. A revolution is underway when it comes to how Brisbane Kids learn and how their teachers teach.
What is the BYOx Program in Queensland Schools?
Some parents might have heard of the BYOx program. It stands for Bring Your Own ‘x’. The ‘x’ refers to privately owned devices like iPads, tablets, and laptops – as well as the software, apps and internet connectivity that comes with them.
In some schools, these devices are becoming central to how students work. They access the school network, do research, word processing and share ideas. It’s an electronic world, so it makes sense that students learn how to use technology and that they use technology to learn.
It’s the BYO part that raises questions
The move down this road seems to be driven by two factors. The convenience of students having one device that they can use at school and at home. And funding. For some schools, BYOx is the solution to a cash shortfall that makes it difficult to provide each student with a computer to work with.
Brisbane Kids contacted the Department of Education for information about how many primary and secondary state schools are implementing a BYOx-style program. We also wanted to know what happens if families can’t afford to send their kids to school with a tablet or laptop?
Turns out there are no simple answers! The decision to run a BYOx program is totally up to individual principals and school communities. The Education Department provides research, support tools and information on various models, but it doesn’t dictate what schools should do and it doesn’t know how many schools are asking kids to BYO.
Which Brisbane schools currently have a BYO device program in place?
The School Journeys page on Education Queensland’s website features a list of some of the Queensland schools that have taken part in the BYOx trial to date. We are also aware of many other schools just in Brisbane who are not on this list, and who have either completed the trial in 2014, or will be trialling a BYOx program in 2015.
One such school is Oakleigh State School. They trialled the program with one class of year 4 students in 2014, and have created a blog dedicated to their journey. A hub of information for students and parents, the blog includes details of the apps the students have used, online tutorials, examples of students’ creations and data taken from surveys completed by parents and students throughout the program. For a great overview of how one school has incorporated technology into their students’ education, we highly recommend visiting the website at www.osstechenablinglearning.edublogs.org.
The BYOx Trial in Queensland Schools
This departmental website has information about the trials and research that has taken place so far – www.byox.eq.edu.au
A report has been prepared which outlines the experiences of five Queensland schools that undertook a BYOx trial. It includes five possible BYO models that institutions could implement. These involve students bringing:
- One specific school-selected device.
- One specific school-selected device – plus students and bring an additional device of their choice.
- School selected range of approved devices.
- Any device that meets school determined minimum specifications.
- Students bring any device which can connect to the internet, suits their learning style and meets their specific curriculum needs.
Equality issues with Education Queensland’s Bring Your Own Device Program
The report from the Department of Education also discusses the obvious equity issues raised by BYOx programs. It says many schools tackle the equity challenge by providing a bank of computers or devices that kids can use if they don’t have their own. It highlights the need for these devices to have the same capabilities as those used by kids who BYO. The downside is that school-owned machines can’t be taken home.
Brisbane Kids would love to hear what families and teachers think about the BYOx program. Does your school have one? If so, what do you think about it? If not, do you think it’s a good idea?