BYOD skips tech support

Tim Mulroy
Vice President

Federation opposes the inadequate solutions for the provision of technology in schools outlined in the Department’s Student Bring Your Own Device draft policy.

The union’s opposition relates to:

  • the cost to families of providing a device especially for those who struggle to have even one computer with internet access, let alone providing a device for each school student in the family
  • the impact on the learning of students with special needs
  • the impact on classroom management when dealing with the compatibility of students’ device to school networks, control of pornography and other inappropriate downloads, security, virus protection, maintenance and theft impacts on effective teaching and learning
  • the potential for this policy to be expanded to require teachers to bring their own device.
  • trying to resolve students' technical problems will impede the ability of the teacher to deliver quality teaching programs

The Student Bring Your Own Device policy is the Department’s answer to the end of the Commonwealth Government’s Digital Education Revolution program that funded technology support officer positions in high schools and supplied laptops to year 9 students.Federation is concerned that under the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy, existing teaching resources including staffing could be diverted to provide technology support in the absence of the federally-funded technology support officers. As the provision of hardware, software and its related technical support are such an integral part of modern day teaching and learning at all levels of education, including that for infants, primary and secondary aged students, they should be provided as part of a school entitlement, not by taking staffing or other resources away.

Teachers must not be burdened with tasks related to technology breakdowns and shortcomings. Teachers' work is to teach; not to deal with technology problems. Before the Learning Management and Business Reform (LMBR) program is introduced, with its administrative and time demands, school staff must be properly trained during school hours without increase in workload.

The required hardware and infrastructure must be in place. The provision of an appropriately trained, centrally provided technology support officer able to deal with the range of student and teacher technology needs as well as the maintenance of information technology systems in schools is an essential staffing provision in a 21st century school.

The Department has offered to meet with Federation to discuss the NSW approach to arrangements to be put in place following the end of the Digital Education Revolution program.