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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

Digital Learning

In the Senior School, we recognise the power of appropriate digital tools and technology to maximise the outcomes of all our learners. While digital technology is already well embedded throughout the school, we are constantly seeking to enhance our understanding of how best to deploy the vast range of apps, websites and game-based learning tools available to raise attainment and promote digital literacy.  

In September 2022, we are launching a more prescriptive Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy within the Senior School. Devices must be brought into school daily and meet our minimum specification. While smartphones have proved invaluable in the past, we are increasingly aware that they are unable to unlock the full potential of a wide range of digital tools and teaching methods now available in education. Smartphones are also unable to provide our students with the digital skills expected by universities and employers.  

The Frequently Asked Questions below provide more information about our approach to devices in the classroom. 

What specification should a device have?

The minimum BYOD specification that we require is:

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Specification

SCREEN SIZE The minimum screen size for Windows devices is 11” and for tablets and iPads is 9.7”.
Smartphones are not suitable or accepted devices.
WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY

Device must have 5GHz - 802.11 a/b/g/n, 802.11 a/g/n or 802.11 ac to connect

(Must have the 'a' to connect to a 5 Hz network)

Devices with 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11 n will not connect.

PROCESSOR SPEED Minimum 2 Core processor (4 core is preferred).
Minimum 8Gb.
OPERATING SYSTEM Most recent release & previous version only of the following: Windows 10, Apple iOS Apple Mac OS, Google Android, Chrome OS.
Note that Windows 10 is the preferred operating system.
LOCAL STORAGE Minimum 120 GB (Minimum 64GB for iPads).
BATTERY Device must come fully charged to school with sufficient battery life to last through the school day.
SCREEN TYPE Devices must be touchscreen. You may already have a relatively new device that meets the rest of the specification but is not touchscreen. This may be used in the interim with workarounds made in lessons where possible.
KEYBOARD The device must have a keyboard. A tablet device must have a physical keyboard attachment with separate keys for A–Z and 0–9.
These should physically move when pressed.

SOFTWARE

Students have access to the Office 365 suite of software applications through their school account. There is no need to purchase this. Note that Mac access to Office software can be purchased for a small fee through school.

ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE

Must be installed and kept up to date with latest releases.

CAMERA

The device must have a camera.

HEADPHONES

Headphones are needed. These should be discrete, in-the-ear headphones (not the large over the ear type). Simple, inexpensive wired ones are preferred.

STYLUS

A stylus is needed, this enables the device’s full touchscreen potential to be used.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

The following are not requirements but should be carefully considered:

  • Weight (max 2kg)
  • Screen size (max 13.3”)
  • The device should be carried in a sturdy, protective case.
  • Personal accidental damage insurance

I already have a device; do I need to buy a new one?

From September 2022, students in the Senior School should bring a device that meets our BYOD minimum specification with them daily. Where possible, this should have the functionality that meets our specification, however, we recognise that initially this may not be the case. For example, the device may not be touchscreen or have a keyboard. The use of smartphones in lessons will not be permitted.

Are MacBooks suitable?

The preferred operating system in school is Windows 10. Due to licensing constraints, a procedural workaround is required when using Office 365 using a MacBook. For the vast majority of students MacBooks are unnecessarily expensive. Exceptions might be if a student is studying a creative subject at a high level. 

Do I need to spend a certain amount?

There is no expectation of a minimum amount of money spent on the device provided it meets the lowest specification.

Where should I buy the device?

There is a great deal of choice on the open market, and you may choose to source the device that meets our minimum specification.  We recommend that you look carefully at the terms of any purchase and have in place warranties that you consider sufficient when buying. Alternatively, the school has worked with a supplier to offer a choice of three appropriate devices and a range of purchasing options. Please visit our dedicated purchasing portal for more information about these: www.hardsoftcomputers.co.uk/digital-learning-at-st-gabriels-school/

What software will I need to install?

All students have access to the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications through their school email account. This gives them access to key apps such as MS Teams, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneDrive. The device is owned and maintained by you and, as such, you can install whatever additional software you choose to. We would ask you to consider keeping additional software installs to a minimum to ensure the smooth running and operation of the device. Each student also has 1 TB of storage data through their school account. 

What if it gets damaged or lost?

The device should come to school in a protective case that can withstand the inevitable rigours of the school day. The device is owned and maintained by you, and we would expect, as you would, that students take care of it, as they would any other personal item of value. We would recommend that the device be covered by an appropriate level of insurance. You can insure the device under your household insurance policy (many policies will already provide cover and you should check this). The school cannot take any responsibility for damage, loss or theft, and the device is not covered by the school’s insurance.

How will you ensure safety online?

Online safety is of the utmost priority. Devices brought into school access the internet via the school’s monitored and filtered dedicated BYOD Wi-Fi network and students are subject to the Acceptable Use Policy that is rigorously enforced. Educating students about safe online behaviours forms a key part of our PSHE programme delivered through our pastoral system.

Will it be used in every lesson?

The use of technology in education has developed significantly over the past two years and as a school, we are keen to unlock the many learning opportunities it affords. We recognise the huge benefits technology can bring to our students’ understanding when blended with traditional methods of teaching and learning. We wish to avoid technology for technology’s sake. Devices may not always be used in every lesson but will always be used in a thoughtful and considered way to support student achievement and engagement.

Where will students keep their devices? 

Devices should be light enough to be carried during the school day. Lockers are available in form rooms. If a student is taking part in an after-school sports activity Sports Hall lockers can be used. 

Why does it need to be touchscreen? 

To future-proof your purchase and allow the student to interact with their work in a more intuitive way we would ask that all devices used by Year 7 (starting September 2022) are touchscreen. During remote schooling teachers began to unlock the potential of touchscreen technology in lessons and to not have this would be a backward step. We understand that some students in Year 8 to Year 13 may have a recently-purchased non-touchscreen device that meets the BYOD specification in every other respect. This may be used in the interim with teachers finding workarounds. 

Can the device be charged during the day?  

Devices must come to school fully charged with a battery capacity that lasts the school day (see specification). We will not be able to provide plugs or charging cables or charging capabilities. 

Will the school provide technical support for the device? 

The school will provide support to enable the device to connect to the school’s BYOD Wi-Fi and access the Microsoft Office 365 suite. Should teachers use specific apps in their lesson then they will provide instruction on how to access and use them. Other technical issues relating to, for example, software, the mechanical health of the device, updates, faults and warranty remain the responsibility of the student. Please check all warranty information when you purchase the device to ensure that it adequately meets your needs.