Learning & Fun

Bring Your Own Device advice

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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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