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September 24, 2019

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Bring your own device helps develop right skills

THE Western International School of Shanghai aims to prepare students to live, work and thrive in a 21st-century world while at the same time being mindful of technology overuse.

As an IB World School, we are committed to the point of view from the IB Primary Years Program on technology learning, mainly to create opportunities for authentic and purposeful experiences in learning technology, learning about technology and learning through technology.

When technology is integrated into learning, opportunities open up for students to further develop their collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking skills.

To fully support technology integration in the PYP, WISS students in Grades 3, 4, and 5 participate in a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) approach.

The “why” of BYOD to WISS was simple: the development of 21st-century skills and placement of technology use integrating the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. The decision to have students bring iPads was a decisive one. Based on feedback from other international schools that employ a BYOD approach, having one type of device proved more effective for classroom use and manageability. iPads were selected because they are a useful, real-life tool with rich resources available for classroom assignments.

The air-drop feature eliminated problems with sharing files between students and teachers. For parents who were not iPad users, the rationale was explained as the need for children today to develop a platform-agnostic approach, as this will be their reality out in the world.

With personal devices in students’ and teachers’ hands, opportunities to learn the functionality of different online tools, stay up-to-date with technology evolution, and to use technology to inquire deeper was further actualized.

Students learn about the importance of staying safe online and how to communicate in a caring, principled manner.

Purposeful technology has allowed for the device to be sought after for more than just entertainment use. Parent feedback on the use of personal devices during the school day reported less use at home for non-educational reasons.

It is the goal of bringing a BYOD approach to WISS that students will see technology as a partner in their learning and recognize the importance of digital citizenship and online ethical behaviors attached to technology use.


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