I thought I would take a moment this week to describe the College Laptop Program and compare our style of laptop program with those offered by other organisations on the Sunshine Coast.
Our College delivers a school owned and managed laptop program which ensures our entire fleet of computers are running on the same hardware and software. A uniform technology footprint goes a long way towards providing a consistent, stable, and robust learning platform for our students and teachers allowing classes to start on time without unexpected technical delays.
A College-supplied MacBook program such as our own comes with several distinct advantages than what a BYOD (bring your own device) program offers. These advantages have become the envy of other schools that also strive to deliver similar education services but are challenged by the cost of maintaining and delivering a program like our own.
Our program provides students with a brand-new college funded MacBook at the start of Years 7 and 10, giving students a brand-new laptop refresh after three years of use. MacBooks and software are supplied free to all our students and teachers.
Many contemporary schools save money by offering a BYOD program which is a very appealing model financially, but less appealing to teachers who then have to teach students on a variety of different hardware and software platforms.
I thought I would quickly highlight some of the obvious benefits school managed laptop programs compared with the more common BYOD programs:
School Owned and Managed Laptop Program
- Zero cost to parents and students (except for damages)
- Everyone has the same model of device which makes it easy to solve issues
- Audio visual – connecting to TV displays and projectors is easier and consistent
- Software all the same, upgrades happen at the same time
- Printing is the same on every device
- Software restrictions can be placed on some or all students as required
- College provided laptop hard cover case
Bring Your Own Device Program
- All hardware costs and expenses are passed on to the parent
- Inconsistent compatibility issues related to hardware and software
- Difficult for IT staff to diagnose and fix issues, given the wide range of devices supported
- Students are often without a device while repairs are in progress
- Consumer devices are often sent away for long periods of time
- It is difficult to monitor what a student is doing on their device (non-productive work)
- Very difficult to get protective cases for BYOD devices
It is very encouraging to see that there is a swing from BYOD to school owned and managed devices (like our own) partly because it reminds us that as a College, we have been doing the “right thing” for over 10 years, but also because it means that many more students are receiving the additional safety and learning advantage that technology can bring.
In the next issue of the College newsletter, I hope to explore the costs of repairing devices, and why long term our school owned and managed laptop program works out cheaper over the long term especially when you factor in the educational advantages. We will also talk our way around how parents can restrict student access to the internet at home.
Roland Munyard, Head of IT