education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Digital Learning in Schools

Policy

This policy supports schools in implementing the ICT and digital technologies component of the curriculum in a safe, balanced, and appropriate way that supports and enables learning.

Summary

  • The use of digital technologies is a mandated component of the Victorian Curriculum F-10 and must be substantially addressed by every school in their curriculum program.
  • Schools must ensure their use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and other digital technologies supports and enables learning, and is safe, balanced and appropriate.
  • Schools must develop their own local policy on student use of ICT/digital technologies, including the internet.
  • The department supports schools to strategically plan for the use of ICT/digital technologies through the provision of the online ICT Planning Tool and ICT Strategic Planning Workshops. Refer to the Guidance tab for ICT Strategic Planning Guidelines.
  • Schools can choose to implement a 1-to-1 learning program to support their whole-school teaching and learning plan and curriculum priorities.
  • Schools can also choose to implement the 1-to-1 provisioning model that best meets their needs, as long as the model:
    • provides students with equitable access to electronic devices
    • invites financial contributions from parents consistent with the Parent Payments Policy.
  • The department does not mandate that a school must have a 1-to-1 learning program, nor does it mandate a preferred provisioning model.
  • A clear and strong learning rationale, and engagement and communication with the school council and school community, have been found to be critical factors in the success of 1-to-1 learning programs.

Details

The use of ICT/digital technologies is a mandated component of the Victorian Curriculum F-10 and must be substantially addressed by every school in their curriculum program. The use of ICT/digital technologies are found in the Digital Technologies learning area as well as the ICT capability, which is woven across all learning areas.

Schools must ensure their use of ICT/digital technologies supports and enables student learning, and is safe, balanced and appropriate. This often requires a high level of discernment on the part of the teacher, who must ensure that digital technologies enhance rather than detract from a focused and productive teaching and learning environment.

School-based policy

All Victorian government schools must have a school-based policy that provides a rationale for and describes the use of ICT/digital technologies in the school, including the internet. A Digital Learning Template (Internet, Social Media and Digital Devices)External Link is available on the School Policy Templates Portal (staff login required). Schools can modify the template to suit their local circumstances.

Cybersafety and Responsible Use of Digital Technologies

Schools must take steps to ensure that the ICT/digital technologies used in the school are used in a safe and responsible manner.

Refer to the Cybersafety and Responsible Use of Digital Technologies Policy for information on measures schools are required to take:

  • to protect students from risks associated with digitally-enabled learning, and
  • to respond to any online incidents

External access

Under the Child Safe Standards (the Standards) schools must provide physical and online environments that promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for young people to be harmed (Standard 9).

To prioritise the safety of students, schools must consider and implement safety measures to manage external access in online environments. External access in online environments includes:

  • receiving or sending emails outside of a school or department online environment
  • document sharing outside of a school or department online environment
  • using the chat function outside of a school or department online environment.

To help create a safe online environment, schools must limit online external access to the essential needs of learning programs for secondary students only (in years 7 to 12 or age equivalent ungraded students). Where external access is available, schools must consider and take actions to protect students, including those who may be vulnerable or have disability.

Students in years P-6 (or age equivalent ungraded students) including those in P to 9 and P to 12 schools must not have external access in online environments.

Online environments

The department online environments impacted by external access requirements are Microsoft 365 (M365) and Google Workspace for Education (GWfE). Schools may have additional online environments beyond M365 and GWfE that are also impacted by this change.

Each school will either have a department managed online environment or a school managed online environment. In some circumstances, there may be schools with multiple online environments that may include those that are school managed, and those that are department managed.

Required actions to manage external access requirements

Schools must follow the actions outlined in the External Access chapter of the Guidance tab. Schools will be supported to implement this requirement. If your school needs assistance, please contact the Service Desk via the Services PortalExternal Link (staff login required) or email at servicedesk@education.vic.gov.au.

International students and online learning

International students holding a 571 Student Visa or 500 Student Schools Visa may only participate in limited online studies under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth), and related legislative instruments. Refer to the ISP Modes of Study PolicyExternal Link on the International Students Program’s Resources page for further details about these limitations.

Personal devices and 1-to-1 online learning

Schools can choose to implement a 1-to-1 learning program to support their whole-school teaching and learning plan and curriculum priorities.

They can also choose to implement the 1-to-1 provisioning model that best meets their needs, as long as the model:

  • provides students with equitable access to electronic devices
  • invites financial contributions from parents consistent with the department’s Parent Payments Policy.

The department does not mandate that a school must have a 1-to-1 learning program, nor does it mandate a preferred provisioning model.

Provisioning models

Schools that choose to implement a 1-to-1 learning program must comply with the Parent Payments Policy when selecting a provisioning model. More information is available in the Parent Payments Policy Requesting Parent Payments for Digital Devices – One Page OverviewExternal Link (staff login required).

A 1-to-1 provisioning model may include:

  • school purchased personal devices — owned or leased by the school and provided to students at no cost to parents/carers
  • Curriculum Contribution — families may be invited to make a Curriculum Contribution towards school-owned devices, including one-to-one school-owned devices. Curriculum Contributions are voluntary, and students must not be disadvantaged on the basis of payments or financial contributions not being made. For example, if a school is allowing a cohort of students to take home or keep school-owned devices, the same arrangements must apply for the entire cohort, not just for those who have made a contribution
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) — students bring in their own device, which is either purchased or leased directly by parents/carers from a third-party. This may include:
    • any device, or
    • any device but with specified features (for example software/applications as defined by the school) or
    • a specified device as defined by the school — note that the school may also nominate a preferred supplier with whom the school has negotiated a better/more flexible deal for parents’/carers’ direct purchase of a device, or
    • a combination of some or all of the above.

Implementing 1-to-1 learning programs

When implementing a 1-to-1 learning program, schools must:

  • clearly define the rationale and educational value of the program and identify benefits, and communicate these to families and the school community
  • address equity and access, ensuring that all students have access to digital devices and can fully participate in technology-enabled learning
  • provide ongoing communication and opportunities for engagement with parents/carers so that they are aware of the school’s commitment to the 1-to-1 learning program and understand its provisioning process.

School councils

School councils are responsible for approving the financial and contractual arrangements for a 1-to-1 program including any parent payment contributions. In making this decision the school council is encouraged to inform itself and take into account the views of the school community.

The principal is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the 1-to-1 learning program. This can include consultation with the school council or other members of the school community.

Complaints

Parent complaints about the implementation of parent contributions to 1-1 learning programs can be resolved through the department's Complaints — Parents Policy.

Further information on planning for 1-to-1 learning programs is available on the Resources tab.

Departmental supports

The department supports schools to strategically plan for the use of ICT/digital technologies through the provision of the

  • online ICT Planning Tool, and
  • ICT Strategic Planning Workshops.

Refer to the Guidance tab for more information about these planning supports.

Definitions

1-to-1 learning program
Where each student has ongoing access to a digital device at school for educational purposes

Digital learning
Any type of learning that is facilitated by technology and any instructional practice that is effectively using technology to strengthen and/or transform the learning experience.

External access
External access has been defined as any external sharing that can be done by a school student in an online environment. It includes:

  • receiving or sending emails outside of a school or department online environment
  • document sharing outside of a school or department online environment
  • using the chat function outside of a school or department online environment.

ICT/digital technologies
The digital devices, tools, applications and systems that students and teachers use for learning and teaching; this includes department-provided software and locally-sourced devices, tools and systems.

Online environments
The department online environments impacted by external access requirements are Microsoft 365 (M365) and Google Workspace for Education (GWfE). Schools may have additional online environments beyond M365 and GWfE that are also impacted by this change.

Each school will either have a department managed online environment or a school managed online environment. In some circumstances, there may be schools with multiple online environments that may include those that are school managed, and those that are department managed.

Department policy on implementing the ICT and digital technologies component of the curriculum in a safe, balanced and appropriate way that supports and enables learning

Reviewed 11 October 2022

Policy last updated

11 October 2022

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Digital Learning Services

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