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BYOD, At Schools

It seems to me that many, but by no means all, of schools around New Zealand, have realised that asking their pupils to bring in their own laptops is both a boom and a cost saving exercise. And, on a side note, I await New Zealand businesses to catch up especially as , in a few short years, these pupils will be entering the workforce with expectations of using their own tech and baulk at the crap most given to perform their food-buying, mortgage-paying work upon.

I was emailed by a friend recently upon one school's approach to "BYOD" and asked my thoughts:
... the intermediate school my child  is due to attend next year is mandating the purchase of a specific type of HP laptop and associated MS licences. Or else they don't get to bring a device to school and will have to use ones they provide.

The "benefits" I can work out are that all warranty / support / maintenance are supposedly carried out by the school as part of the purchase of this $850 laptop. They say they can't look after or support kids that bring just anything along, and I kinda get that.

My thoughts are that all schools must focus on what the kids need to do and let the kids/parents sort out the tech (especially as it will be THEIR tech and used at home for many other things beyond school work).

If there are systems that MUST BE USED then they should be as universally accessible as possible - which in reality means, use the Web.

Of course they can (and should) give examples of tech that totally works across all the types out there - a good Windows laptop looks like this, a good Chromebook looks like this, a good Mac looks like this, a good Linux laptop looks like this ....

However, they should NEVER determine what people buy for ostensibly personal / home use.
If they want to go down that route they should then pay for the laptops themselves and own the assets and ongoing costs.

Oh, one other thing - this goes against how my kids (and many many others) are doing it down here in Wellington as its's web all the way and (any) Chromebook being recommended but tbh they don't really care what laptop pupils use as long as it works ... with a keyboard seems to be best.


  1. The other thing I questioned was whether the family was therefore obliged to have Microsoft licences to open any of the work the child was doing and participate in discussions held on MS proprietary software. The answer was, yes you would. I asked if they'd calculated what extra costs this adds to a family and, no, that wasn't really their problem.

  2. Hi Mike
    Great, thought provoking post and yes raises a couple of key issues - the first is of course the device situation and locking students in with one particular device and product. We have done the same at our rural School in South Taranaki, we're a 1:1 iPad School with 200 students - 140 of whom bring their own iPad. We are also a GAFE School (Google Apps for Education) but having started as iPad three years ago already there are compliance issues with devices. We likewise supply the students who don't have an iPad with a device (and we're an Intermediate so we have Y7/8 students and a laptop class with the seniors). We're trying to equip our students with skills etc and choose not to go down the Microsoft Route so that Google would be a more open platform, and it kind of is - but our senior students when they go to High School are in having to start again with the tech due to Microsoft Only High Schools. Ideally we'd like everyone on board (and I personally, although not my Schools decision would be any device) but there's always a compromise. Great post. Great thought and the answer would be no its not right.
    Myles, Auroa Primary School, South Taranaki


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