2020 BYOD Pilot not to be extended

The 2020 Trustees decided at their meeting on 28 July 2016 not to extend the Trust’s BYOD pilot when the current programme comes to an end in early 2017.  Some of the factors influencing this decision were:

  • operational and financial risks
  • processes for handling bad debts
  • more schools now have access to BYOD schemes

A report is to be published on the lessons learned.

Toggl for Time Management

Coordinators will recall Sylvia’s presentation on Toggl at our Nelson hui.  I have been meaning to post the outcome from the discussion following her presentation about a sensible set of ‘project’ categories  for you to use to monitor your lives and find out where all the time goes.  It would also be really useful feedback for us when we try and scale the coordinator and delivery partner roles and develop new support roles.  So if anyone has joined the Toggl world, please feel free to share your reports with us.  I am not so interested in week-by-week reports as I know your workloads fluctuate wildly, but what would be good is a three or six month report.

The categories agreed were:

  • BYOD
  • Finance Related
  • General Admin
  • Kiwiskills
  • Media and Community Liaison
  • Meetings (incl NCCG)
  • Net Sign Ups
  • Rejuvenation
  • Reporting (incl surveys)
  • School Liaison (incl Graduations)
  • Stepping UP
  • Technical Admin (Ordering, fixing etc)
  • Training Set Up
  • Travel

Dick Smith closure

On 25 February 2016, the Dick Smith receivers announced that all Dick Smith stores, including those in New Zealand, would close.  Unlike the earlier announcement when the receivers hoped to find a new buyer, the decision to close all New Zealand stores in 8 weeks does mean that we need to change some processes around our BYOD scheme.

  1. All devices purchased under our BYOD scheme are now out of warranty, so there is no need for the devices to go to a Dick Smith store for assessment.
  2. Any problems with the devices must continue to be reported to Kristina (0800 272020); she will record details and provide instructions.
  3. This is likely to involve asking the families concerned to drop off their faulty device to the school point of contact or to the CiH coordinator; the device is then to be couriered to Kristina (we will cover charges).
  4. Kristina will follow up the insurance claim in the same way that she does now.  The repaired device will be returned to the coordinator, school or family.

So it is still pretty-much business as usual with the one exception that we can no longer use the local Dick Smith store as a drop-off point.

Any questions, please contact Kristina.

Impact of Dick Smith receivership for CIH BYOD pilot

Most of you will be aware that during the Christmas break Dick Smith was placed into receivership.

This raises the question about how this might affect families on our BYOD scheme, in particular when it comes to insurance claims (all devices are now out of their 1-year warranty).

The simple answer is that nothing changes.  The devices procured for the BYOD pilot have been paid for in full by the 2020 Trust and they remain the property of 2020 Trust until such time that families have paid for them in full.

Families must continue to report faulty or damaged devices to Kristina (0800 27 2020). Kristina will prepare the paperwork for the family to take with their device to their nearest Dick Smith store.  The Dick Smith store couriers the device to Kristina, who lodges the insurance claim.  After repair (or replacement) devices are returned directly to the family or via the local Dick Smith store.

Chromebooks and CiH

Chris Turner has asked a number of questions about chromebooks and CIH.  My responses are recorded here for others who may have the same or similar questions.  But just as a preamble, Sue Kini is testing the water in Whangarei, offering chromebooks to CiH families who are part of a BYOD cluster as an alternative to a refurbished computer.  The offer received a positive response from schools, which perhaps was to be expected, but it is too early to see how well this will work with families.  In principle, we want to be flexible about the type of computing device we provide as part of CiH, but we do want to make sure families are aware of the constraints around chromebooks and the absolute need for an internet connection  to do anything useful.

Question 1.  I’ve been having a look at Chromebooks preparatory to approaching two of my schools about training/offering their families a Chromebook.It’s going to require a change in training, which is not really a problem – most tutors would be able to cope with it.

Comment: We have a Chromebooks Stepping UP module;  Sue Kini will be reviewing the other CiH modules for a ‘Chromebook world’ as part of her pilot.

Question 2. Another consideration that I thought about is that we should still offer the family a choice of a desktop, laptop or a chromebook. 

Comment: Absolutely – we should offer all three options – there is a training module prepared by Patrick Harlow (one of Briar’s tutors) that trainers should use to help families understand the relative benefits of each type of device before they make a decision.

Question 3. The Chromebook that we supply them with is to be the family’s device, and not for the child to take with him/her to school, do I have that right?  

Comment: Our objective is to build parents’ and caregivers’ confidence in using digital devices, whether this be a desktop, laptop or chromebook, “to support their children’s learning”.  We will not be telling them what their children can or can’t do with the device.  In the Whangarei case, we definitely see the children taking the Chromebook to school, but parents would also have been trained in its use, so they can use it with their children at home.

Question 4. Difficulties arise when there are more than one child going to the same school and requiring a Chromebook as well.  I know that Taupo High School does have spare Chromebooks for those who don’t have one, so the device at home can stay there.  However, I’m not too impressed with the robustness of a Chromebook as a family device and am worried that a family with several kids and mum and dad will also find that it’s not suitable either.

Comment:  We are only funded to provide one device per family.  So this a factor families need to take into account when making decisions about the preferred device.  Patrick’s training module should also help families reach a good decision.

Question 5. I’ve found out that the child doesn’t have to have a Chromebook at home in order to do his/her homework.  Homework can be done online on a desktop or a laptop, files can be transferred with a pendrive from home to school and vice versa.

Comment: I totally agree.  The Whangarei pilot is a response to an economic situation.  Schools are requiring students to bring a Chromebook and asking parents to pay the device off over 2-3 years (like our BYOD pilot).  CiH families also need to contribute towards the cost of an internet connection.  Together these costs can be $20 per week.  However, if the Chromebook is supplied as part of CiH, families only face the cost of the internet contribution ($10/week).

Question 6. A Chromebook might not be popular with a family who likes to play games.  With a 16GB SS Hard drive, you can’t install any games, and you’d be limited with what games could be played off a pendrive!  It does have an HDMI connection, two USB connections and an SD card slot, so it could be connected to a monitor or a TV.  

Comment:  This is another factor that families need to take into account when choosing a Chromebook.

Question 7. Where do we buy Chromebooks from?  Dick Smith?  I went there yesterday and they didn’t have any.  Didn’t seem interested in ordering any in for me, either.

Comment: Dick Smith’s sponsorship funding for Computers in Homes has ended and any consideration of a possible renewal now rests with the receivers.  My view is that this is highly unlikely, at least in the short term.  So we are not obligated to purchase from Dick Smith.

Question 8. I’ll ask my trustees if I can buy one from Noel Leeming and give it a good test run.

Comment:  Good move.  Noel Leeming is actively advertising BYOD devices at the moment.


Some families are asking for more than one BYOD device

Families in some schools are asking if they can procure more than one device through our equity scheme.  The short answer is no – all our processes have been set up for just one device, at least for the pilot programme.  However there are always exceptions – one family in Dunedin had twins, both in the same BYOD class.  So clearly we can’t say “no” in cases like this.  The innovative solution developed by Janine was to get another family member to register and pay for the second device.  In one case it was a separated spouse; in another a grandparent.

So there are ways to say “yes” even when initially we say “no”.  Our rules:

An individual can only purchase one device; they will be allocated a family number and be required to set up an standalone automatic payment.  There is nothing stopping a second adult member of the family purchasing a second device, but it must be registered under their name with a separate AP.  The APs can even come from the same bank account, but must be set up as two separate APs, each clearly identified with the different family numbers.

In Dunedin, one of the families short-circuited this process by following the first set of rules with two family members signing up for devices but then combined the APs into a single $20/week payment for the two devices against just one of the family numbers.  Every week Kristina has to remember who the two linked families are in order to reconcile $10 to one account and $10 to a different account.  This is not easy to do when you are processing hundreds of APs every day, as she is.

If we decide to extend the scheme beyond the pilot we will include an option for purchasing more than one device, but this will still only apply in special circumstances, and only when the family has established a trusted credit record with us.

Tech support for BYOD devices

Our BYOD pilot has thrown up an interesting issue about responsibilities for tech support for the BYOD devices.  As these belong to the 2020 Trust until families pay them off, it is in our interest to ensure the are properly maintained and supported.  Hardware issues are covered by warranty and insurance.  User issues, like lost passwords, are more problematic.  For the pilot programme, CiH Technicians may be contracted to provide user support of this nature, but please ask the techs to include full details of the supported provided on their invoices, i.e. family name, nature of problem, time to fix.  And preferably keep the invoicing separate to other CiH invoicing.

Microsoft Office Software for BYOD Devices

Can we supply Microsoft Office with BYOD Devices?

The product recommended for BYOD devices is Microsoft Office 365.  This is a cloud-based package (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive) that normally sells for NZ$165 per annum.  The good news is that the Ministry of Education has negotiated a Student Advantage Licence for home use (with up to 5 devices/student) at no cost to students.  This is managed by Datacom as part of the Microsoft School Software Agreement. From 1 December 2013, every school and tertiary provider in New Zealand that licenses Office for staff and faculty is eligible to get Office 365 Pro Plus for its students at no additional cost.

Schools choosing to use Office 365 will be responsible for securing licences (see below) and helping families load the software to their BYOD laptops.

How are Office 365  licences  allocated to students?

The Ministry agreement (for an Office 365 A2 Plan) includes:

  • Cloud based email, calendar and contacts
  • Use your own domain name
  • Instant messaging, voice and video chat
  • Online conferencing with desktop sharing
  • Web-based viewing and editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files

The student software client (Office 365 Pro Plus) can be ordered by schools online or by contacting Datacom.

Will the Office 365 Pro Plus software work on laptops if they are not connected to the internet?

Yes.  Once the Office software is downloaded to a student’s laptop, the software can be used offline without a live internet connection.

Chromebook Management Console

Does the BYOD Equity Scheme include classroom management tools?

No.  The purpose of our scheme is to help families who cannot afford the outlay required to purchase a digital device, typically $300 to $900.  We provide an opportunity for families to procure a device and pay it off with weekly payments spread over a 1-2 year period, without incurring high finance charges.  It is the responsibility of the school to provide the necessary infrastructure to support a BYOD environment, including wireless connectivity, ultra-fast broadband connectivity, teacher professional development and any management tools that might be required.  We are happy to help put schools in touch with others already managing a BYOD environment and suppliers who may be able to assist.

Do schools need the Chromebook Management Console to manage student devices?

I have heard good reports from schools who do have a tool for managing student devices, but I don’t really know much about them.  Typically these tools allow teachers to create user groups, pre-install and block applications, track assets , manage user access, configure network access and customise user features.  Google has developed a web-based management console for Chromebook devices.  They have also prepared a guide for schools and teachers to help with planning the deployment of 1:1 devices.

Where can schools get more information about the Management console?

Cyclone Computers has been licensed by Google to distribute the Management Console in New Zealand.   A good first step might be to contact them.  Meanwhile let’s see if we can find some schools that are already using the Management console.