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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Personal Devices — Access

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure schools provide students with equitable access to electronic devices such as laptop computers or tablets when they implement 1-to-1 learning programs and seek financial contributions from parents.

Summary

  • 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
    • seeks 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

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
  • seeks 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.

Provisioning models

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 
  • co-contribution — parents/carers partner with the school to contribute to the purchase or lease of a device
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) — students bring in their own device, which is either purchased or leased directly by parents/carers. 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

If a school decides to implement a 1-to-1 learning program, schools must comply with the Parent Payments Policy and also ensure that the following principles are applied:

Educational value

1-to-1 learning programs must have a clearly defined rationale and identified benefits that are communicated to the families and the school community. Benefits could include, but are not limited to:

  • access to online resources, experts and learning communities
  • providing authentic, rich contexts for learning
  • personalising learning
  • connecting and collaborating to build new knowledge
  • developing contemporary skills
  • improving assessment, reporting and feedback
  • connecting parents/carers with their child’s learning.

Access, equity and inclusion

1-to-1 learning programs must address equity, ensuring that students have access to electronic devices and can fully participate in technology-enabled learning.

  • Where parent payment plans are offered to support participation — they must be reasonable and affordable for the majority of parents and carers.
  • Where the principal considers the parents/carers are experiencing financial hardship and cannot reasonably participate in a payment plan — schools must provide students access to a device with the required capabilities to complete planned learning tasks.
  • Where parents decline to participate in a 1-to-1 learning program on grounds other than financial hardship — schools should provide students access to a device with the required capabilities to complete planned learning tasks.

Wherever possible schools should try to accommodate parents/carers who request that their child(ren) bring a family-owned device instead of one specified in the school’s 1-to-1 learning program. Where a family-owned device is used in place of a specified device:

  • it must meet the minimum technical specifications defined by the school to ensure that it can be effectively support learning;
  • parents/carers may need to organise their own purchase and installation of required software if Department- or school-provided software cannot be installed on the device;
  • parents should be advised that the amount of technical support for family-owned devices that can be provided by the school is limited.

Schools must not require parents to pay for the following items as they are either centrally funded by the Department or are considered to be part of free instruction:

  • any software provided by the Department
  • any technical support funded by the Department
  • internet use required for the standard curriculum program or any internet service funded centrally by the Department
  • wireless network access.

Affordability

1-to-1 learning programs must be affordable for the parents/carers, where ‘affordable’ is defined through consultation with the school community.

Where possible schools should seek to offset device costs and demonstrate savings to parents associated with the introduction of the 1-to-1 learning program — for example:

  • parents may no longer be required to purchase certain textbooks or dictionaries, or
  • the school provides other items at no cost to the parent/carer.

1-to-1 leaning programs must only require parents to contribute to:

  • the purchase price to the school of the device
  • insurance costs for the device additional to those included in the purchase price
  • software purchased locally by the school for the device.

Schools may purchase personal devices with the required capabilities and provide these to students to use at school and at home at no cost or allow students to borrow them to use at school and at home.

Engagement and support

Engagement and communication with the school council and school community have been found to be a critical factor in the success of 1-to-1 learning programs.

As such, schools are strongly advised to undertake early and ongoing communication and engagement with parents/carers so that they are aware of the school’s interest in or commitment to a 1-to-1 learning program and associated provisioning model(s).

Communication and engagement should cover:

  • the desired educational benefits for the 1-to-1 learning program
  • the rationale for and specifications of the preferred device/s and/or software
  • proposed costs and any options associated with the program
  • demonstrated potential savings that offset costs
  • details of proposed maintenance and insurance agreements
  • the minimum technical specifications required for devices, should parents seek to provide a family-owned device
  • details of support options available for families experiencing financial hardship.

Communication and engagement should also:

  • provide opportunities for the viewpoints of parents/carers to be expressed
  • seek out and consider the views of different groups of parents (such as parents of children with special needs, or parents who may have difficulty paying for the device).

Schools interested in or intending to implement a 1-to-1 learning program should document and seek to address concerns raised by parents before a final decision about implementation occurs.

Transparency and accountability

Schools must:

  • provide parents with sufficient notice of any 1-to-1 learning program’s introduction
  • advise parents that, while the school has a preferred model, they can choose whether or not to purchase or lease the digital device
  • make new parents. aware of any 1-to-1 learning programs that are in place — including how parents/carers were consulted

The 1-to-1 program must also be transparently costed, where costs to parents do not exceed the cost to the school of providing the item.

School councils must:

  • approve a school’s 1-to-1 program provisioning model if parent payments are required — including:
    • models requiring co-contribution, or
    • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

School councils are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of 1-to-1 learning programs and their impact on parents and students.

Complaints

Parent complaints about the application of this policy can be resolved through the Parent Complaints Policy.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on providing students with equitable access to electronic devices when implementing 1-to-1 learning programs and the process for seeking financial contributions from parents

Reviewed 22 February 2021

Policy last updated

17 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils
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