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Why 1-1 devices might be your best strategy

In this video, Jess Pather argues why 1-1 devices might be your best strategy.
We are an outstanding school, teaching and learning here is typically good or better, so in the classroom we were practicing at an optimum at this point. When we looked at what our students were engaging with at home out of school hours, there was quite a great engagement with things like GCSEpod for example, which had a real impact on results and we wanted to find a way to bring all of those virtual learning platforms into the classroom and make that a part of routine culture and routine learning at Denbigh.
So as part of our school improvement plan, under teaching and learning, one of the next steps was about the next steps in technology for learning and well how are we going to approach them, what did it mean? So ideally, what we would have liked is for every student in the school to have a device at their fingertips to use whenever, wherever, within the school, outside of school to enhance their learning experience and that was the real seed and the real birth. In thinking about that, that took about a year really, of real deep research, visiting other schools that had you’ll bring-your-own-device policy and looking at the pros and the cons of that… what were the advantages?
What were their fall backs? What did their policies look like? And then thinking about whether that was the way that we wanted to go at Denbigh and if that was the most suitable and actually we decided that we were not going to go with bring-your-own-device but we were going to to go with an opt-in scheme. There are benefits and there are challenges to both of those options and approaches, so if we begin with bring-your-own-device and we look at the advantages of that. Firstly, a child more than likely will have a device at home already and so that would have no additional cost to a family.
Secondly, because the device is owned by the child and used by the child, the functionality becomes easier because the student is used to that so that’s a time-saving matter which was good, that’s a positive and also it was a total responsibility of the student and the parent so if it was theft or loss or damage, it was entirely up to the parent to take responsibility for.
The downside of that was we had no hold on safeguarding for one, because we didn’t own the device, it wasn’t ours to manage Two - there was a difficulty with bring-your-own-device as in the variety of devices that we will have at her school so some students would bring a laptop, some will bring an iPad, some bring in LAN pads and will bring a tablet and that made it difficult for staff training on the functionality of a device and actually how you could incorporate it into learning, but most importantly we wanted to guard against that from an unhealthy perspective for competition, unhealthy competition between students because it would be a focus on or who’s got the better device and who’s got the next generation.
Bullying would stem from that and what we wanted rather was the same device across the school, because the focus had to be in learning not on the the generation of technology. So when we looked at the opt-in scheme, it gave us all of the pluses that we were looking for, so first and foremost it was about safeguarding and through the opt-in scheme because parents were leasing the device from the company via the school, we were able to secure the device with all of the firewalls and security that we could, so we were fully protecting our students, inside and outside of the of the school.
The device could only be accessed through school accounts so obviously it was a very secure platform, and all the areas for e-safety were fully investigated and fully thought about and covered. We also had, kind of just the one style of device and it became that that culture of get your Chromebook out and everybody had a Chromebook.
In terms of the training aspect, it made it a lot easier and a lot more efficient in that we were training a whole staff body on the use of one device, so it really was about an investment in time and investment in research and an investment in staff development to exploit the device fully to be a really rich learning resource in in the classroom.

In this video, Jess Pather at Denbigh High School argues why 1-1 devices might be your best strategy.

Key Learning Points

  • The school strategy revealed the ideal scenario of each pupil having access to their own device
  • Exploring bring your own device policies in other schools helped them to first of all consider the benefits and challenges of that approach
  • In their school context, it made more sense for an opt-in purchase scheme for devices to be established for safeguarding, teacher development, and competition reasons.


If you’re thinking about this approach for your context, you can see how one secondary school has communicated and managed a 1-1 Chromebook device approach by clicking here

Once you’ve watched the case study, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Why banning mobile phones might be your best strategy’ to explore the next argument.
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Leadership of Education Technology in Schools

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