Assuming it is Ministry of Education supported policy to use digital devices for learning and increasingly for NZQA assessments/ exams then it follows that:
- All students need to access a device at school.
- All students need to access a device at home, either to do homework and/or to learn from home if either sick or “locked down”. This implies broadband also is available.
There are obvious equity issues at play here – made all the more clear in recent lockdown.
Students at WEGC in theory each have a device now – either their own or a school-issued one. They are expected to bring them to school each day. However, even if all students bring their working devices to school (a courageous assumption ) there is still a set of students that for legitimate reasons will need a loan device. This number can vary from 10 to 50 on any given day.
- Schools provision of devices and the Internet at home at no cost to the student is not sustainable. Is the Ministry of Education developing policy in this regard?
- Schools provision of daily loans to students needs resourcing – both time and money. Is there a self-issue system that can be used to save time (a bit like e scooters)? Can someone develop and market a solution, please… Hopefully resources to fund these loaners can be provided?
- Devices start to fail after 3 years and/or get broken/lost etc. This means an ongoing program for fixing/replacing devices will be needed. More cost…
- Devices, depending on how used will not last a full day – this means that charging facilities must be available at school. This has implications for new building design. Guess what! our new building has very few areas for charging devices. It seems that Ministry of Education building services are not up with the play here
- Can we provide Windows laptops to students doing specialized courses? While not required in all instances they are required for some courses. Or do we try and go 100% online?
The lockdown has been useful insofar as it has highlighted quite a few issues including equity with regard to digital devices. What now?