Recording & Blogging: It’s What I Do Now

Solo Tasks: around the Law of Reflection with extension work on Moodle

Solo Tasks: around the Law of Reflection with extension work on Moodle

Mr Matt Nicoll has been a regular contributor to this blog, providing one of the very first posts on recording his lessons for later playback by students, to presenting to the CORE Education eFellows, and his very active role in the development of Twitter usage amongst staff and the #edchatnz conference organisation.

I had wanted to sit down with him and see how his videoing of the teaching moments in his lessons had evolved from when we chatted in October 2013 and took the opportunity to do so after the #edchatnz conference. It transpires that in someways he has stuck with the successful recipe he had developed in 2013.

Mr Nicoll still remains the primary blogger for his classes, sharing the content, notes and videos on the class blog. His rationale for this was simple:

I am still traditional enough to want to retain control over the quality of the key concepts and ensure that they are being explained correctly. The big win, however, is that the students don’t need to write notes in class meaning they can spend more time on the activities.

SOLO

Two obvious positives from this are:

  • More time is spent in class discussing the quality of the answers e.g. what does multi-structural thinking look like compared to relational thinking (in terms of the SOLO thinking taxonomy)
  • Students benefit from this because their understanding of the SOLO taxonomy, which is used widely at St Andrew’s College, is deepened and their ability to explain their answers improves.

Despite being the Year 9 Dean and the associated workload that comes with that role, Mr Nicoll has found that keeping up the blogging and recording of his lessons has not added to his work. If anything, he believes it has allowed him to gauge where his students are at more accurately, since there is more time spent discussing the learning, than copying down notes. Student workbooks (or computers), are used primarily for writing down ideas, notes or discussions they have had in class – not for copying content off the whiteboard.

Separating suspensions using filtration

Computers are used in class, mostly for research and communicating overall answers for a lesson – shaping the learning into a formal reflection. Again, choice is provided to students – they could use MS Word, Powerpoint, OneNote or a graph in Excel for example. Because the “nuts and bolts” of the lesson are covered off in the form of comprehensive, quality notes on the class blog, students can simply:

Think like a scientist. Investigate like a scientist.

NCEA CLASSES:

Mr Nicoll’s blogging and recording practices extend to his NCEA classes as well, and he states that this allows him to better gauge where his students sit in terms of Achieved / Merit / Excellence in the respective standards they are working towards:

If a student is struggling to remember facts, I direct them to the blog where they can review the content. If they are struggling to articulate answers at a level required to move from Merit to Excellence, then I engage them in discussion.

RECORDING THE TEACHING MOMENTS:

The NZ Science Teacher website blogged about Mr Nicoll’s methodologies earlier this year, and since then some of his processes have changed:

  • Gone from using an Android smartphone to a Microsoft Surface Pro 2. This has allowed the uploading and editing of video content to become much easier as it is all on the one device. Being physically larger than a smartphone has also allowed the student recording the lesson to hold the device steadier, meaning the quality of the video footage has improved.
  • He is now using the Surface Pro 2 to record experiments in the classroom fume cupboard and display that on the classroom projector wirelessly using Miracast (similar to how Mr Hilliam does this in Maths)
  • Approximately three times a week he will record 8-12minutes of teaching and experiments and upload them to his YouTube Channel
  • When away from classes for an extended period of time, such as Winter Sports Tournament Week, he pre-records teaching concepts for his students. He then books laptops for the lessons if required, emails his students to bring their headphones along, and they can watch along in class.

Combining oxidation and reduction half equations to give a balanced overall equation (example video left for students during tournament week)

Matt has been increasingly requested to share his methods in different forums including at the #edchatnz conference which he had helped co-ordinate, and also to visiting Senior Leaders and Principals from the Independent Schools Senior Leaders Forum that toured the Christchurch independent Schools on the 16th September 2014. He summed up his approach to blogging and videoing his lessons with the following definitive statement:

It’s what I do now – it’s not going to change.

Students explaining the Law of Reflection

Flipping The Classroom Or Simply Utilizing Modern Technology?

PhysicsTechnology has been a disruptive force in education for a while now, allowing for educators in all sectors to re-examine how content is delivered to, and consumed by, students of all ages.

A very popular concept is that of flipping the classroom or flipped teaching – the basic concept being students watch a pre-recorded “lesson” by the teacher in their own time for homework, and then use the class time for discussion / assistance. Usually, some form of Learning Management System such as Moodle is used to deliver this content, however sometimes it is simply a link to a YouTube clip.

This came up in conversation recently with Mr Kevin Barron, a Science and Physics teacher here at St Andrew’s College who commented:

I find it amusing that we give some fancy jargon like “flipping the classroom” to something that is, to me, merely exploiting modern technology driven by a common sense need.

He went to on to identify the quite legitimate factors that are increasingly taking students out of the classroom such as field trips, sporting and cultural activities and international exchanges. Recognising this trend, he went looking for some solutions and came across the relatively obscure Microsoft product called Community Clips.

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This tool has allowed him to record narrated explanations of scientific concepts whilst illustrating them in Microsoft PowerPoint, and his library of explanatory videos has now exceeded 200. He then applied this concept to his NCEA Physics classes too:

I further made NCEA examples for Senior Physics and noticed that I could really think through the key points I was trying to highlight without being under any stress.

This process is not dissimilar to what Mr Hilliam does in his maths classes, although one of the key differences is Mr Barron is recording these sessions outside of the classroom, allowing him greater time for thought and clarity, as well as providing learning opportunities for the students before they come into the lesson itself.

In some ways, this is not new for his students: he has always uploaded course content, handouts and links to Moodle beforehand. The difference is now these handouts are enhanced with voiceovers and key information, students can go over these as often as they like or require. From experience, it appears that the optimum length of these videos is around five minutes, as this caters for attention spans and also keeps file sizes manageable for uploading to the College Moodle site and Youtube.

Explaining Electricity to Yr10 Students

Monitoring Outcomes:

Moodle was designed first and foremost as a Learning Management System (LMS) so it has a number of easily accessible reports that help identify levels of student participation and engagement with content in the course site. Mr Barron utilizes these reports to see which of the students are viewing the content in advance of lessons:

One of the issues is tracking use and increasing uptake. One of the mechanisms to achieve this is to write Moodle Quizzes that test the knowledge on the videos, and adds the grades straight into my mark book … a quick quiz at the start of the lesson can accomplish a similar result.

This monitoring and visibility of what students are viewing online and that which they can demonstrate understanding through assessment is critical, and the combination of Moodle and Youtube videos facilitates this. Anecdotally, it appears that those students who watch key videos as “pre-reading” before classes appear to pick up the complex topics quicker and are more familiar with terms prior to the lessons.

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Thinking Aloud When Marking Assessment For Students:

In 2013 the St Andrew’s College Pipe Band departed for the World Championships in Scotland, and won the event (see their triumphant return here). This resulted in a number of Mr Barron’s students missing the preliminary exams, and they were required to catch-up exams and internal assessments. To assist the students who had missed the teaching time whilst away in Scotland, Mr Barron “narrated aloud his thinking process” whilst marking their assessments and recorded it for them with Community Clips.

This resulted in a very targeted and condensed teaching moment for these students and was a very effective catchup for them. He was then able to extend the usefulness of this process to others:

With student permission, I asked if I could use these videos as model answers to support a wider audience

Tips For Managing This Style of Teaching:

  • Get students to bring headphones to class – they can re-watch some of the videos to reinforce learning in class if they have not grasped the concepts the first time. This allows for differentiated learning  as students can be extended or supported as necessary.
  • Use playlists within YouTube – it keeps topics of videos together and a simple hyperlink to students gives them access to all relevant videos. This can be further enhanced by using playlists for each year level of work.
  • If a student is requesting extra tuition, an expectation can be set that they have viewed the relevant explanatory video before attending the tutorial.

Using Third Party Videos:

When an excellent explanation of a concept is found online, Mr Barron will still consider using this, for example an explanation of Alleles for Level 1 Biology:

Explaining Alleles for Level 1 Biology

 As mentioned above, to ensure students have viewed and comprehended the video before a class commences, the use of a simple HotPot test in Moodle can achieve this. Here are a selection of basic questions used based on the above video:

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Conclusion:

There are some clear next steps to extend this type of teaching, and Mr Barron suggested one he is targeting is filming the practical experiments conducted in class. This would be similar to what his colleague in the science department, Mr Nicoll, is already doing and which I’ve blogged about here and here. This final comment from Mr Barron is telling:

I hope that it becomes a “pull” [by students] rather than a “push” … it is not a silver bullet, but rather just another resource and tactic to use in an effective teaching programme. The more complex and demanding the classroom becomes, the more effective this approach can be … it puts a real emphasis on the student make the best use of the resources provided and it takes away some of the excuses.

 

Teaching the Teachers: Professional Development Between Schools

Video

I was invited to speak today with staff from Catholic Cathedral College who were part of a Professional Learning Group (PLG) that is focusing on the impact of technology in the area of literacy.

Unfortunately, I could not be physically present after having knee surgery, so made use of Skype and Screenflow to record the videoconference that took place instead. A wide ranging discussion took place over the next hour and I’ve edited this down to the following:

Videos Help With Assessment: Teacher and Student Perspectives

This article featuring St Andrew’s College teacher Mr Matt Nicoll first appeared online at the New Zealand Science Teacher website and is republished with permission. You can see the original article by clicking here.

Matt Nicoll prepares his students for NCEA assessment using online tools.

ImageScience teacher Matt Nicoll is using innovative ways to prepare his students for upcoming NCEA assessments. Matt, who teaches chemistry and science at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch, uses technology and social media to engage with fellow teachers and his students.

At the end of the first term, Matt’s year 13 chemistry students asked for more help with an assessment task. “They said ‘when we were going over the work in class, we wish we could have videoed your lesson, so we could revise it again during the holidays,’ so I made a plan to create some video resources,” says Matt.

“It does take a bit of confidence to say ‘okay, I’ll have a go at making something,’ and then to actually do it,” he says. He uploaded the video resources in the last week of the school holidays, to make sure he didn’t spend the entire fortnight thinking about chemistry assessment. The chemistry video clips ‘walk’ students through their upcoming assessment. “All I’ve done is put a ‘voice’ to it, and a ‘graphic’ to it, as it were, on my computer, and videoed it. I talk through the marking schedule, along with a commentary, or thought process about how you get there,” he says.

Sharing learning through an online community

Some of Matt’s students instigated a Facebook community for their year group, and links were also posted there, for easy access. Bradley Atkinson, who formed the group, gives a student perspective below.

Matt admits it’s useful to have such resources available for future classes, too. “The best thing about it is, next year I will be able to use it again for my new students, and it’s good to have a resource bank like this in case it’s needed.” Each time a new concept is taught in class, Matt records the lesson. “I actually video everything I teach, and I want to continue to do that because it’s nice for students to have a record of ‘their’ lesson, complete with their own exemplars,” he says. “Obviously, not every class is about teaching concepts, but when I do, I record the lesson and put the link up on the student Facebook page.”

Student viewing patterns can be easily tracked by checking the YouTube ‘views’ of each video clip, says Matt, and he is more than happy for other teachers to make use of his clips. “Because they’re now out in the public domain, I’m happy for other teachers to use the resources, if they want to.”

‘Future-proofing’ after a disaster

The initial motivation to consider the creation of an online resource bank was the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, says Matt. “I don’t know if I’d be doing this work without having had the earthquakes take place here. For example, Saint Andrew’s was shut for a month, which makes up a huge percentage of the academic year. Yet, there was still an expectation that we would provide some sort of tuition. “I remember thinking at the time, ‘if only I had a library of videos of me teaching some stuff or some other online resources I could just send students to, that would make life much easier.’”

Christchurch schools forced to close during this period were given free access to Te Kura – The Correspondence School educational material. “It was brilliant to have that access, but I also had a feeling that it would be great for my students to be able to learn from a familiar voice, and one that tapped in to earlier work we had covered,” he says.

“My students know my style, they relate to my examples and exemplars, they’re the ones that I have been working for. So after the earthquakes, because of the high levels of unpredictability, I had this idea of ‘future-proofing’ my classes. What happens if we are shut again? What happens if the school has to be shut down for strengthening work? Will we cope with our academic work?”

These thoughts led Matt to collaborate with the ICT director at his school. “We were looking at things like Moodle as a learning management system, and so the earthquakes were in a way a catalyst for thinking this way.” His assessment video work is just a continuation of this ‘future-proofing’ theme, he says. “It isn’t really a paradigm shift for me, or a change in my philosophy about preparing for assessments; it is just a response to student needs.”

Visit Matt’s blogs, complete with links to the YouTube videos here.

This is one example video of Matt teaching about Ionisation of Energy:

You can read more about Matt’s approach to using technology in his teaching inhere on New Zealand Science Teacher.

Student perspective: Bradley Atkinson

Hi Bradley. What’s your perspective on using videos like these to prepare for assessments?

I personally find it very helpful and I know a lot of other students do as well. If we ever feel as though we haven’t fully understood a concept in class, these videos are a resource that we can always go back to and spend time reviewing in order to understand the concept better and take notes.

I also find that these videos are helpful for external standards as they can refresh our memory closer to exams and offer an alternate way to review notes rather than simply reading and writing. Continue reading

Progress Update & Reflections on 1:1 Computing at St Andrew’s College Part 2 of 2

During the recent term break, I wrote an initial blog reflecting on the launch of 1:1 Computing with our Yr9 Cohort this year. Whilst that blog focused mainly on the parent perspective, this one will share some feedback from students and staff.

The Staff Voice – by the numbers:

  • For 98% of our Yr9 teachers, this was the first time teaching in a fully 1:1 environment (hence staff PD was so important)
  • 78% of staff had previously permitted students to use devices in their classes
  • 40% of staff said they didn’t need to provide any tech support to students whilst 44% responded they needed “to some extent” help students with their laptop
  • 93% agreed to strongly agreed that ICT tech support was available to help them or their students when they needed it during class time.
  • Teacher expectations around laptop usage in class was:
    • 37% every lesson
    • 32% 3-4 times per week
    • 31% 1-2 times per week

These numbers paint a largely positive picture and reflect what our planning and investigation had revealed: the majority of our teachers would be “new” to managing a classroom where every student had a laptop and that we would need to continue to provide tech support in a timely fashion for teachers and students to feel confident this was going be a success.

Our surveys of staff in 2013 also revealed two main concerns held by teachers: the pace of learning would slow and behaviour management would become problematic. Here’s the survey results from a teacher perspective:

  • Pace of Learning: 54% it was about the same as before, 32% it has increased with the technology in the classroom
  • Classroom Management: 54% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that behaviour management challenges had increased with the introduction of laptops, whilst 20% agreed or strongly agreed there were new challenges.
  • 70% of staff agreed or strongly agreed that the 1:1 Computing initiative added value to the learning for students.

It’s pleasing to see that the majority of teachers are finding that the technology is not increasing the challenges of learning, nor significantly slowing the pace of learning in the classroom either. As one teacher commented in the survey:

Year 9 students are not distracted by laptops – happy to open and close as needed. It is just another piece of equipment.

The Student Voice – by the numbers:

  • 46% of students were allowed to bring a device to class in Yr8 (approximately half Yr9 students come from the Preparatory School, and half from feeder schools)
  • 75% of students responded this was the first device they had personally owned or been responsible for the majority of the time.
  • 60% of students made a joint decision on the type of laptop with their parents (only 17.5% had sole discretion on choosing an Apple or Windows based computer)
  • 82% agreed or strongly agreed that they are a confident user of a computer (our experience would suggest this is too high, and some have an over-inflated sense of their competency!)

Again, this matched our expectations – Continue reading

Guest Post: Reflections on Teaching PE in a BYOD Environment

In todays blog post, I’ve invited Mrs Nic Richards to reflect on how her first term of teaching in a Yr9 BYOD class has gone. She teaches PE and Health at St Andrew’s, is the SOLO taxonomy co-ordinator and always keen to implement ICT into her teaching. The following is her thoughts and observations:

With the introduction of BYOD in Yr9 at St Andrew’s College, I felt it was a good chance to extend the ideas I had around the use of Moodle for assessment and also how we could introduce OneNote as our “workbooks” in PE. It was also a good chance to see how we could formalize the SOLO taxonomy used in classes. Here is a summary of how we have used both technologies.

OneNote has been used as our “day to day’ workbook in PE. We had a few teething issues to start in terms of getting students set up. Each student now has a notebook that they have shared with their teacher and for the PE “section” they have the course outline and a “page” for each unit. For the first unit “Part of the Team” there is a SOLO rubric that the students reflected on their performance (generally out of class).

The benefits of this were that we didn’t have bits of paper floating around the gym that seem to get “lost” and I could see what students had and hadn’t done and provide brief feedback. Below is an example of a student’s Notebook.

Example of a Yr9 student's OneNote workbook with feedback from the teacher

Example of a Yr9 student’s OneNote workbook with feedback from the teacher

I have designated Moodle for formative and summative assessment for the main part – although I did end up using it for resources as well, when my initial OneNote plan fell through. Students used a “Choice activity” for their initial and final self assessments (based on SOLO taxonomy) and also submitted their final written assessments (a SOLO Describe++ map and paragraph) to Moodle.

Using SOLO for self-assessment in PE

Using SOLO & Moodle Choice activties for student self-assessment in PE

With the “Choice” activities I could very quickly see where students thought they were at at the beginning of the unit. It also helped with the overall assessment at the end of the unit. I used SOLO taxonomy to create the final assessment rubric on Moodle and meant for quick and easy marking with the ability to also include more specific feedback if required.

At report time it is very easy to go into the gradebook and see the results for each of the units. It doesn’t solve the problem of non-completion but it is much easier to see who has done what and follow up via emails. Overall I have enjoyed the challenge of introducing BYOD to PE and I am looking forward to how we can use it more for practical activities particularly in our next unit “Physical Literacy”. My goal to have a “paperless” Yr 9 PE course is still intact!

Moodle - Part of the Team Unit

Moodle – Part of the Team Unit

A student completed Describe++ Map submitted via Moodle Assignments

A student completed Describe++ Map submitted via Moodle Assignments

Moodle Rubric SOLO Marking - useful in parent/teacher interviews

Moodle Rubric SOLO Marking – useful in parent/teacher interviews

Progress Update & Reflections on 1:1 Computing at St Andrew’s College Part 1 of 2

One of the motivating factors behind starting this blog was the imminent launch of St Andrew’s College inaugural BYOD or 1:1 Computing Programme for our 2014 Yr9 Cohort. The first term of schooling for 2014 has now finished and I took this opportunity to get some early feedback from the students of Yr9, their teachers and also their parents – a “360 survey” of sorts, to find out how the introduction of laptops as a mandatory tool in the classroom has gone.

As you can see from the video above, Mr David Bevin (our Head of Teaching and Learning) interviewed a number of Yr9 students to hear their experiences so far and they were overwhelmingly positive. The sentiments expressed in the interviews closely reflected those from the surveys and I will share some of this information below.

The Parent Voice – by the numbers:

  • 71% said their child was not previously allowed to bring a laptop/tablet to class in Yr8
  • 78% said this was the first time their child had ‘owned’ a laptop or been solely responsible for it.
  • The type of device brought by their children:
    • 47% an Apple Macbook Air or MacBook Pro
    • 51% a Windows 7 or Windows 8 laptop
    • 2% a Tablet

These answers all indicated that for most of our Yr9 students, owning / managing a laptop was a pretty new experience, especially in terms of being allowed to bring it to school. This is valuable information for us as a school as it is a timely reminder that there should be no assumptions that the students will be ‘experts’ with the devices. Whilst a number have clearly demonstrated advanced skills, many others have required support and guidance along the way.

The decision to require a “full operating system” (i.e. OS X or Windows 7 or 8) was validated when Microsoft changed their licensing to provide free MS Office to all students. This has allowed the teachers to plan and teach with confidence that all students can create documents in the common Office formats.

  • 94% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child is enjoying using their laptops in class
  • Class and homework usage:
    • 62% said their child used their laptop most classes each day
    • 38% said their child used their laptop at least 1-2 classes each day
    • 57% said their child used their laptop for homework related to most classes each day
    • 30% said their child used their laptop for homework related to 1-2 classes each day
  • 90% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that through conversations with their child they were feeling positive about taking their laptop to school each day

It is very pleasing that the parents are seeing the devices used regularly by their students in class, as in 2013 one of the concerns expressed in the lead up to the launch was whether the laptop would be actively used by teachers as part of the learning. Through the combination of the  use of Moodle as our Learning Management System and our professional development of teachers these devices are being used authentically in the learning both in, and out, of the classrooms.

The biggest shared concern from parents resulting from this survey was the handwriting skills their students would have in Yr11 when NCEA exams kicked in for them. There is so much talk in the media about this at the moment that the requirements for students may be quite different in a few years time, but nevertheless this is an area where teachers will need to still be working in opportunities for handwriting practice for their students (in fact, many of our NCEA teachers are already doing this – requiring students to hand write practice assessments before the preliminary internal exams).

UPDATE: Thanks to Mr G MacManus for linking me to the transcript of the address from Karen Poutasi, Chief Executive of NZQA, addressing how exams will change in the very near future.

Here is a great quote from a parent who completed the survey:

I was very concerned about giving our son a laptop for his own use. However my observation is that he is using it as the tool it is supposed to be … He only uses the device in the family area as is the rule … and we have been very impressed with the way it has been implemented across the school. It is clear to me how teachers are making use of this in the home learning environment … Overall though we are thrilled with how it is working. Our son is dilligently completing his home learning and project work on his own device and there have been very few issues so far.

In a followup post I will break down the feedback from staff and students on how Term 1, 2014 has gone in our Yr9 1:1 Computing Programme.

Early Reflections on 1:1 Computing Launch

Video

Mr David Bevin (Head of Teaching & Learning) and Mr Sam McNeill (Director of ICT) discuss the launch of St Andrew’s College inaugural 1:1 Computing Programme with the Yr9 2014 Cohort.

A more detailed breakdown of feedback from students, staff and parents will follow, along with a recording of students discussing their thoughts on how Term 1 has started for them.

Learning with Moodle – “Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere”

moodle-logoRecently, Mr David Bevin (Head of Teaching and Learning) and I reflected on the implementation of Moodle at St Andrew’s College over the last  two years – something that I’ve blogged about previously here and here. This was part of a wider video recording session which included students from the Yr9 2014 cohort talking about their experiences bringing a laptop to class each day. During this recording, Rose Oakley (one of the Yr13 students who was helping behind the cameras) commented on how great she was finding using Moodle in class and also in her role as Head of Community Service. I suggested to Mr Bevin that we should include Rose in the conversation about Moodle on camera. Here is that recording:

The Community Service Page at St Andrew's College, maintained by Yr13 Student, Rose Oakley

The Community Service Page at St Andrew’s College, maintained by Yr13 Student, Rose Oakley

To the left is a copy of Rose’s page which you can visit by clicking here or on the image itself. I loved Rose’s use of the following phrase in relation to Moodle:

“Learning anytime, any place, anywhere”

This does encapsulate what we’re aiming to achieve with our Learning Management System and I am particularly pleased that we have been able to empower a limited set of students to create and manage their own pages on Moodle to promote student services at the College.

Moodle Statistics – Comparison of Feb/March 2013 and 2014:

I will blog next week about a recent survey undertaken of the students, staff and parents of the 2014 Yr9 Cohort to see how our 1:1 Programme is going so far, but for now I will touch on a couple of pleasing aspects related to Moodle usage. Our Google Analytics show an 8.5% increase in visitor numbers compared to this time last year:

An 8.5% increase in visitor numbers to Moodle in 2014 compared to 2013

An 8.5% increase in visitor numbers to Moodle in 2014 compared to 2013

What is interesting from these stats is the drop in total page views and average length of time spent during each visit. Whilst this could be interpreted in a few ways, one likely explanation is that students are becoming more efficient in using Moodle, therefore taking less time to navigate to the correct resource/activity and uploading assignments more quickly as well. With a 68% return on surveying Yr9 students about their use of computers at school this year, we were able to obtain a good snapshot of progress to date. This is the results on the question about Moodle usage in class and at home:

Responses from Yr9 students about their usage of Moodle in class and at home

Responses from Yr9 students about their usage of Moodle in class and at home

More evidence that Moodle is becoming a core tool and resource for teachers and students to use in the learning at St Andrew’s College.

Many thanks to Mr Simon Williams and Mr David Jensen and their student crew who performed the filming, mixing and editing of this video – they do a tremendous job for the College.

What Devices Are Students Bringing To School?

With Week 3 completed at St Andrew’s College, classes are settling into routines, most problems are resolved from an ICT perspective, and it is a chance to reflect on a few things. One area of particular interest to me is this: just what devices are students actually bringing to St Andrew’s and connecting to the wireless network.

Analysing this is important because one of the key decisions that was made in 2013 was to allow students a degree of choice in what their primary device would be in the classroom. As a College, we partnered with Cyclone Computers and created a list of recommended models, but the underlying principal was this: students had to bring a device with a “full operating” system on it. By this we meant Windows 7 or 8, or on an Apple device, OS X.

The thinking behind this was quite simple: if a student had a full operating system, then most compatibility issues could be overcome, they could all run MS Office (especially important, since it is now free to all our students), and critically, teachers could plan with confidence that the activities they wanted to do in class would be supported by the devices the students had (by inference we were ruling out stripped down operating systems like iOS, Android, ChromeOS etc).

Additionally, the thinking was that if students had choice in the device they could bring, this would increase their sense of ownership and proficiency in using their laptop as well.

Using the new reporting tools from CloudPath (the company whose software we use to onboard devices to our wireless network and issue certificates) an overview of devices registered in the last month is quite informative:

Image

Devices by Type (Laptop / Mobile / Tablet)

What is interesting here is the high number of mobile devices, and the almost complete domination of Apple iPad’s in the Tablet sector. Some caveats exist however, some versions of Google’s Android software have difficulty with EAP-TLS authentication, as does Window’s Phone8, meaning we have tended to connect these devices via WPA2-PSK, instead of onboarding via Cloudpath.

Image

Devices by Manufacturer

Again, the popularity of Apple’s iPhone is apparent in the very high numbers of Apple products, and somewhat alarming, is the presence of Windows XP devices (despite it becoming End of Life very shortly).

From an ICT perspective, supporting a range of different devices can have it’s challenges. Having visibility like this about the devices our students and staff are bringing to the campus means we can target what resourcing is required within the ICT Department and where we may need to provide additional training and professional development to the ICT support team.