The NSW Department of Education has released its first bring-your-own-device policy for the state’s primary and secondary public school students, who will now be allowed to bring in their own mobile devices for learning purposes.
The Student Bring Your Own Device Policy (BYOD) sets out the requirements for schools that wish to allow students to connect personally-owned mobile devices running on the education department’s wi-fi network.
The decision on whether to implement BYOD in schools is optional for school principals, who remain responsible for adapting the policy to their own needs.
But should a school adopt a BYO approach, they are expected to use the Department of Education and Communities' (DEC) parameters as a foundation.
Students and their parents will need to sign a student agreement before they are allowed to connect personal devices to the network.
The department will be responsible for the surveillance and monitoring of IT systems to ensure “confidentiality, integrity and availability” of services.
Students are forbidden from being involved in circulating content on the devices that “undermines, hacks or bypasses” security mechanisms implemented by the school or department; taking photo, video or audio of individuals or groups without permission; and being involved with offensive, abusive or pornographic material while on the department’s network.
School principals will further be able to confiscate devices if they suspect the device contains data that breaches the BYOD student agreement, the policy states.
Whether students can use voice, text or instant messaging during school hours is up to individual school principals.
The maintenance of the device is the responsibility of the student and parent, as is security, battery life, licensing and warranty, according to the policy, and the school will similarly not be responsible for any device damage or loss.
Access to the department’s 802.11n 5GHz standard wi-fi network will be provided to public school students free of charge.
During a review earlier this year, the department found it might be able to leverage students’ attachments to their mobile devices in order to “deepen learning” and make it more personalised, it said.
The department looked at several models in which it could do so, including locking down the device and software and having it controlled by the school; a choose-your-own-device model where the students selects a range of pre-determined devices; or the BYOD approach.
It is now acting on an “accelerated demand” for new models of learning, the policy noted.
“The use of personal mobile devices at school will deepen learning, will be personalised and student-centred, and will meet the expectations of teachers, students, parents and caregivers,” the policy states.
“Schools are in a position to harness students’ connection to their own personal mobile devices for the purpose of developing 21st century learning skills and for fostering digital literacy, fluency and citizenship in a safe environment.”