Message from the Headmaster

headmasterAt Beaconhills College we are excited about the future of personal technology and the ability to integrate these touch-screen technologies into our curriculum to enhance our students’ learning. As a College, we continue to embrace the use of technology to support quality learning outcomes for our students. Providing our students with increased access to information through engaging learning tools has resulted in the iPad becoming a transformative tool in the hands of our young learners and our teachers.

Through our existing program we see our students using the iPads for a large range of educational applications including researching materials and videoing activities in and out of the classroom setting. Our Years 3 and 4 students not only have their own iPad, but also need to bring it to school every day. Students will be required to have an iPad for their studies and are welcome to use an existing family iPad in this program.

Below are a list of topics that may be able to help you discover more information about our Year 3/4 iPad program in our Junior Schools.

Tony Sheumack
Headmaster

How does the Junior School iPad Program work?

Our students from Prep to Year 2 have access to class sets of iPads. These students can access some generic apps in support of the teaching and learning program.

Years 3 and 4 students have their own personalised 1:1 iPad Program which allows the device to be used in an increasingly meaningful manner for the student. We welcome the newest iPads, from iPad Air 2 and later.

This includes the iPad Air 2,  iPad, iPad Pro, 32 GB or larger.

Please note that the following are considered not suitable for our young students:

  • iPad (1, 2, 3 and 4) and
  • iPad mini (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • iPad Air 1
  • iPad Pro 12.9 inch
  • Mobile data access

iPad (1, 2, 3, 4) and iPad Minis: will no longer suitable because these models are exempt from the latest iOS update, cannot install the latest version of apps and cannot be used for 2021 implementation of NAPLAN online.

iPad Pro 12.9 inch: This is an expensive device which has features that exceed the requirements for our Years 3 and 4 students. In addition, the larger screen size may be more cumbersome for a small child and therefore easier to damage.

We have found that students who are using a 32GB iPad need to allocate the entire memory of the iPad to school work. Those that have a 64GB, or larger, iPad are able to use it as a mixture of uses for home and school.

We recommend Wi-Fi only so that the student cannot bypass our Internet content filtering and security.

Parents should note that an iPad works at optimum levels for about three years. After that time, the processing and battery perform at reduced efficiency. It is worthwhile considering a replacement after this time.

Yes. Yes. Yes.
No matter where you purchase your iPad make sure you put a good quality protective case around your iPad, ideally one that will stand the iPad on an angle.

A case with soft edges that will take a bump and the accidental drop but also ensure the screen is protected. There are cases available that are drop-proof to concrete and waterproof. They are not cheap, but still cheaper than replacing a smashed screen. This will be your best insurance policy.

You will probably need to budget in the range of $35-60 for a decent case. You can pick up a good quality case without spending a fortune. Although the look of the case is important, the function of the case should be paramount.

There is the option to purchase a keyboard and a stylus. We recommend both.

A stylus (pen style instrument for a touch screen device) is very useful. Some students prefer to use a stylus, but often the cheap stylus can be more of a hinderance than a help.

A external keyboard gives easier and better control when typing. It is simpler to move from letters to numbers to symbols on an external keyboard.

At school we will teach care and responsibility with the student’s iPad, including how to correctly handle, store and transport their iPad. It will not be allowed to be used before school, at recess, lunch or after school. This will be harder to police once they leave the College grounds, but that will be part of the agreement that the students will make with their parents and the College.

There are several options that are available to protect yourself against breakages.

  • AppleCare+ is an option from Apple. This costs $129 for a two year warranty and will cover two accidental damages, with an excess of $65. This will not cover loss or deliberate damage, but is the best option provided by Apple. It must be purchased within 60 days of purchasing an iPad.
  • Home Insurance – Many home insurance companies offer coverage for personal electronic devices that cover accidental damage and loss. This is usually a cheap option, but be aware if your excess is around $400 as this removes much of the value of a policy like this.
  • Self Insure – Many people prefer to self insure. If it is a broken screen, you can get that fixed at many places from Apple to the small booths at shopping centres that sell iPhone cases. Although these booths do a great job and are much cheaper than Apple, if you get your iPad repaired through them, it will void any warranty on the device.

Yes. There are many quality apps that we will use in the Junior School classroom next year. Some cost a little, most are free. We post a full app list for each year level near the end of each school year to give you plenty of time to download the apps required for the new year.

We expect every app to be installed on our child’s iPad, regardless of cost, before the start of school rather than wait until they are needed. Throughout the year, there may be additional apps required by students.

Yes. On many levels.
There will be support in the classroom for the teaching of safe, responsible use of a digital device as well as assistance in using it in the classroom and with the use of apps. Our College eLearning Coordinator makes regular visits to the Junior School classes and, apart from running eLearning classes, can answer stickier questions and troubleshoot specific app issues.

There will be support from our Information Technology team in fault finding and with settings. The easiest way is use our BeaconNet Support ticket system. This is an online help desk that allows parents and students to contact the relevant IT support person easily at any time. Once you log your problem a technician will read the problem and offer a solution. This system is not manned 24/7, but will be answered promptly.

The Apple Store at Fountain Gate (or Chadstone, Doncaster or Highpoint) offer a free service called the Genius Bar. As the name suggests these are the people who can fix any problem on an iPad, or any Apple device. It does not matter if you have AppleCare+ or are covered by the iPad warranty they will help you out with any fault and be able to repair it, or offer a pathway forward. You can just walk into the store and get an appointment on many days, but they do book out so it is best to book online.

Visit the Fountain Gate Apple Store webpage and click the Genius Bar button and follow the prompts to make a time. While you are on that page, check out the Workshops that are available and free. Both parents and children may get something out of these sessions. Check different stores for different session types.

Yes, it has to be an iPad. When you open a program up to many different devices, it changes the outcomes in the classroom. A teacher has to become help desk to many different devices, the same apps may not be available on different platforms and the security of the information the children access cannot be filtered to the same degree. At a younger age it is more important to have a unified platform that is easy to manage.

When the College launched its original Middle/Senior School iPad Program, there were not many alternatives. We prefer the option of a small device, that has features like a easy to use camera, instant on/off, light, reliable, simple operating system and has a secure store with a range of free/cheap apps. The tactile nature of iPads particularly suits a child. This still stands true today, although there are more alternatives.

We have investigated Android, but for reliability we would need to specify the Samsung range of tablets, and then the cost saving is minimal. We do not want to introduce a laptop, especially at a young age. These devices take over a desk, become the centre of attention and have a steep learning curve.

If we did change platform, it would need to be for strong academic reasons. It would need to be a ‘game-changer’ in the classroom and presently there is nothing on the market to equal the iPad.

Year 3 is the perfect age to commence their rich learning journey with technology. Many students already have great skills in using digital devices, mainly for game-playing, but we are looking to bring those skills into the classroom and give them an educational focus. In Year 3, students continue their journey to discover social awareness and that the world is bigger than their environment. Making sure that they are safe online is an important part of that. Becoming a good digital citizen is an important skill that many children and adults have never mastered and it is very important in the world that these children will grow up in.

Year 3 is also an age where we are starting to move from skill based tasks to more rich learning environments. Rather than looking at basic concepts like animals, location and time they are bringing topics together and investigating the idea of being a community and looking at the Aboriginal culture and how that has made us the country that we are today. They also study process and how when things are combined they cause a different outcome. These tasks are taking their knowledge and comprehension and adding the students own application and analysis to these topics to allow them to develop a deeper understanding. Having a personal iPad can allow a Year 3 student to broaden their knowledge and apply it to the learning to achieve a richer outcome than could have been achieved in the east.

The iPad is a tool in the classroom, not the centre of all learning. It will always be a tool, like a dictionary or calculator that students can access when needed and left alone at other times. The core skills of learning will still be the major part of every child’s life: handwriting, literacy and numeracy will not be replaced with any technology, neither will the tactile skills that every child enjoys and learns. It is designed to be their personal portal to a connected education, that has more knowledge and information at its fingertips than any set of encyclopaedias.

It will be used in all aspects of learning, with different outcomes. One lesson a student may use it to look up the meaning of a word, the next to shoot and edit a video about fractions and the third may be concentrating on handwriting skills using pen and paper to gain their pen license. Using a personal device, like an iPad, means that a student can research, collaborate, communicate and find more content than their library, all from their classroom desk.

Handwriting will remain very important. Students organising their work, ruling their pages, learning how to layout their page are essential skills that will not be replaced. Students will continue to use a paper diary.

We understand that the idea of getting a child to understand the complexity of an Acceptable Use Agreement is not an easy one, but it is very important. We have Acceptable Use Agreements that we discuss in class and every student is asked to read and review, with their parents and then both student and parent sign it.

The agreement will be from the College outlining College rules and regulations surrounding the use and expectations of the iPad at school. It is a document that will be discussed in class, but not signed until it goes home and the parents/guardians get a chance to go through it with their child and let them understand how important this document is. It will also outline the consequences of any actions that would be against the agreement.

Yes. We use a product called Netbox Blue that is placed between our network and the Internet. This allows the College to filter all Internet content and record every website that is visited while on the College network. Netbox Blue does a very good job, but there will always be items that get past the best filters. This is where the education of the Internet becomes very important and one in which we strongly believe. During class, students will learn about safe Internet citizenship and what to do when confronted with a problem.
At home our Internet filters will not apply and parents may need to investigate a solution to suit their home environment. In the information booklet we will outline some possible solutions that you may wish to investigate.

Yes. Students will only be allowed to install apps that meet their age rating, meaning that students will not be allowed to have 12+ apps at school. We enforce these restrictions on the iPad via our network.
At home it will be the choice of the parent to decide which apps are appropriate. We are not recommending that Junior School students have their own iTunes Account so they should not be able to add their own apps. We will also provide instructions to parents on how to set up restrictions on their child’s iPad.

While at the College we will be working with the students to keep the iPad as safe as possible. Students will be responsible for their own devices and no student will be allowed to use any other student’s iPad. We will be providing a place to keep the iPad when not in use and making sure there is no access to the classrooms when a teacher is not available in that room.

Children forget things. If a student forgets their iPad they will not be able to do the task that is set in the same way. They may have to use paper or another method until they can catch up the next day. The iPad will be an important tool for the students to use; they will be disadvantaged without their iPad, but it will not halt their learning.

Due to the personal nature of the iPad the College will not keep a stock of iPads to use in the classroom for students who forget theirs. Transferring files, changing identities and creating new resources on a device that is not their own will cause many problems with the flow of information.

At Beaconhills College we understand it is important to reference the integral use of technology for learning.

The Victorian iPads for Education Trial

In 2010-2011 the Victorian Government ran an iPad trial and these are their findings. One of their key findings was that iPads in the trial had a significantly greater educational impact and were more successfully implemented in primary and special school settings than in secondary schools.

http://visiblelearningplus.com 

John Hattie’s Visible Learning Research

John Hattie, Professor of Education at University of Melbourne, has done extensive research into the influences on the classroom, including the guided use of technology in the classroom.

 http://det.wa.edu.au/ipadsforeducation/detcms/portal/

WA iPad for Education

Research done by Western Australia with Year 1 and 2 students and the impact of the iPad on their classroom and NAPLAN results.

http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/

The SAMR Model

This approach to implementing technology in the classroom is vital to Beaconhills College. We are working to build our implementation from Substitution to Redefinition.
SAMR Kathy Schrock Guide to Everything

When Beaconhills College introduced our iPad program in 2011 we were one of the few schools in Australia implementing a program like this. Now there are many other schools who are doing some great work. These are some blogs/reflections by some of the teachers working in this environment.

Kathy Schrock’s iPad for teaching

Kathy has written a lot about her use of the iPad and where it fits into the learning process.

The Primary iPad Classroom

Here they look at some of the learning that has happened in their classroom, and how they are using the iPad in the classroom.

Education is a conversation – by Ray Nashar

If you attended one of our information evenings and were luck enough to hear our guest speaker, Mr Ray Nashar, you may enjoy a video Ray has put together about the rapid change in technology in relation to society and how important it is for education to remain relevant.