Bring Your Own Device advice

BYOD Back To School

Read the shopping list, get the right pack of pencils and pens, then stay up half the night applying colourful covers to a bewildering array of books. That was Back To School when we were kids. But with the Government rolling out ultra-fast broadband to schools across New Zealand, it’s time to get ready to switch the pencil case for a laptop.

Over 97% of schools will have ultra-fast broadband capability by some time in 2016, and while almost all schools supply laptops and tablets for use in class, many encourage BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – for the extra engagement a personal device delivers.

So, here’s a bit of guidance on getting the most out of BYOD, your way:

Back To School in Six Easy Steps

  1. Talk to your teacher: as your child’s closest point of contact during the school day, their teacher knows which devices are recommended, and how they’ll be used. Teachers will point you to a list of recommended devices, and the school’s rules and expectations around BYOD.
  2. Ask an expert: start with your school’s recommendation, and shop around by all means – but make sure you’re getting a device with the power and connectivity that your child needs to keep up in class.
  3. Have “the conversation” with your kids: You’ll need to lead the way when it comes to BYOD – setting rules, guiding their usage and making them aware of their responsibilities.
  4. Protect your investment: For a few extra dollars over the base costs of the machine you’ve bought, you can wrap it in a protective case. Let your kids decorate their case themselves – this will give them a sense of ownership, and make it easy to spot their device across a crowded room.
  5. Secure is safe: Make sure your child’s device is locked with a password only they and you know – and make sure they understand how important it is to keep their password secure.
  6. Prepare for BYODH (Bring Your Own Device Home): Having a computer or tablet for school means bringing it home for homework. Set up a digi-family agreement to manage screen time at home, and make sure homework gets done with a bit of play as a reward.

As it says in the NetSafe Kit for Schools, “When a young child enters school, they will have limited practical cyber safety skills. By the time they graduate, we expect them to be ready to fully participate in a digital society. In the intervening years they will learn online safety skills with the assistance of a guide, against a backdrop of reducing levels of protection.”

With your help, BYOD can provide genuine learning opportunities for your children. And with a bit of help from the tips listed here, it can even be fun.

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