Archbishop Lanfranc is a secondary State school in Croydon, Surrey, which is a little south of London. A mixed, urban, multi-ethnic 11-16 school, Lanfranc has 1052 students on roll, 30% of whom are eligible for free school meals.
Describing itself as “Early networked”, ie where the staff has normalised the use of the digital in their everyday teaching and are beginning to use the networks to operate outside the school walls and the normal school hours, Lanfranc has partially implemented BYOD. It is currently being implemented only in the years 11-14, and then only for multimedia projects. The reason is somewhat prosaic, but useful to know: the school’s wireless system “died” before the scheme could be extended to the 14-16 students or to further subjects.
The current situation is that a new network is being installed. The school is moving towards a totally cloud-based system using mostly mobile technology. Therefore BYOD will become another facet of this by allowing students to use mobiles when appropriate, in addition to the kit provided by the school.
The new school-wide wireless network will allow students to have access from any point in the school building. This allows total flexibility in the mix of mobile devices that can be used. Lanfranc is moving away from the traditional fixed wire network.
The reason that the school wanted to adopt a BYOD approach were as follows.
First, it would enable a rapid deployment of ICT when needed rather than always requiring preplanning.
Second, a sense that students would be more engaged if they were using their own phones.
But what about those students who don’t have home access or a device of their own? For the 5% of students who fall into the former category, John Hobson, Head of ICT, says:
“We've used all the Government schemes available to assist families to obtain equipment and have had the highest uptake locally of such schemes.. In addition, we provide after-school access.”
As for the 20% of students who are not able to bring their own phone into school, Hobson explains:
“We expect to use mobiles in group work and collaborative activities. We are also going to pilot Google Nexus tablets in parallel.”
So how has Lanfranc managed to get everyone on board with this approach? By removing the fears teachers might have had about controlling when and how the technology would be used. This was achieved by building in the teacher’s final say-so into the user agreement signed by students.
Also, as Hobson states,
“It’s important to involve everyone in order to avoid people getting cold feet further down the line.”
It’s too early to say whether BYOD will be successful, but the early signs are promising, with some units of work involving movie-making with mobile phones.
One unfortunate obstacle has arisen: a sudden huge outbreak of theft. Hobson explains:
“Thieves remove battery as a first step so internal tracking is disabled. We’re currently looking at commercial answers.”
Fortunately, the educational benefits look set to outweigh these early problems. The next 24 months will see.
The school’s website is http://www.lanfranc.com