Bring Your Own Chromebook

Please email any questions to Please note some parent questions are not verbatim, they may have been simplified for this forum, however the intent remains unchanged.

Why introduce BYOD/BYOC?

(Bring your own Device/Bring your own Chromebook)
The learning needs of students in the 21st century are different to those of previous generations. The NZ Curriculum reflects this need with a strong focus on promoting digitally capable, global citizens. Technology is moving at a fast pace and many of the careers we are preparing our students for do not yet exist. Skill-sets no longer revolve around merely learning facts, as this information is now at our fingertips. E-learning and BYOD/BYOC provides a structure for delivering a responsive curriculum and beginning this learning at primary will help foster a smoother transition to college.

What has prompted this?

Over the last few years we have been busy behind the scenes doing our research, which kicked off with parent feedback from our 2013 survey, added to the data from our 2015 survey. We have purposefully taken our time in introducing this technology as we wanted to ensure that we had all of the building blocks in place first (e.g. Ultrafast Broadband, Wifi). As other schools in the district are ahead of us, which means we can learn from their experience.

Parent asked: What was the Community feedback?

Community feedback from our 2013 and 2015 parent surveys gave us a clear indication of where parents want us to head. The 2015 survey asked parents to rate the school on "School has appropriate computer and technological resources". Although the percentages below may seem reasonable this was by far our lowest polling area in the entire survey. The comments parents had recorded provided a very strong indication that this was considered an area for improvement at PBS. All of the comments listed below, which relate to ICT at PBS, come from the 2015 survey.

The school has appropriate computer and technological resources:
Strongly Disagree - 4%
Disagree - 15%
Neither agree or disagree - 17%
Agree - 50%
Strongly Agree - 14%

All comments regarding ICT recorded within 2015 parent survey:
  • I would like to see BYO device in senior years
  • Being fairly new to the school it seems a fair way behind previous other dealings with schools and even early childhood centres
  • Access to up to date technology seems limited
  • There should be more in the classroom
  • Ict suite is too small/not enough devices in school
  • Devices in rooms to use - ipads, chromebooks (needed)
  • I understand that often several of the computers don't start up in time for the class to use (ICT suite)
  • Most schools now have opportunities for students to take in their own devices to use in the classroom, often children have to wait to access a compute
  • Classrooms need more computers especially for older children who need to research and publish more of their work digitally. My son often mentions having to go to other classrooms to use a PC
  • We wouldn't like to see kids having to bring their own devices - this would highlight inequities and raise significant issues with children being responsible for valuables
  • Heaps of computers in clasrooms and ict suite
  • Really need more computers in classrooms!
  • Many other schools have implemented BYOD and use chrome books/tablets I think PBS seems a bit behind the times in this area
  • It would be nice to have iPads, chromebooks in classes rather than an ICT suite
  • To a certain extent the school is resourced well however, I think the senior end of the school should be on a BYOD system. I think ipads/tablets are a great teaching resource for the junior end of the school although I haven't seen any in use.
  • My child often comments on having to use other rooms computers and the ICT suite not operating to full capacity
  • Very behind in the ICT technology, 3 or 4 computers in a class is not enough. Bring in digital classrooms
  • Not sure, but my children are always positive about the ICT time
  • Limited computers and computer space
  • Would love to see more i-pad -type use in the classes
  • Increased access to ICT needed for students
  • Better IT for senior years especially
  • Provide more accessible computers for older children
  • More ICT in classrooms
  • ICT, it's the way of the future
  • ICT moving forward each child needs iPad/BYOD, interactive whiteboards, school need to be more ICT focused. This is the future for our children.
  • Would love to see more opad style use in class
  • Digital technology (needed)
  • IT infrastructure and involving technology more in everyday curriculum
  • Technology inside classrooms (needed)
  • More interaction with IT
  • More IT
  • IT access for all students
  • Technology advances e.g. chromebooks, Ipads etc
  • Technology developments and skills developments (needed)
  • Classroom technology updates to enable more e-learning
  • I.C.T (needed)
  • Technology and science resources (needed)
  • Digital infrastructure and hardware (needed)
  • More computers
  • IT (needed)
  • Investing in digital technology
  • Upgrading IT technology
  • Funding to improve technology and ICT resources in classrooms and create more innovative ICT links between home and school
  • Byod
  • iPads/tablets available for senior children are currently at the mimimum
  • Invest in ICT
  • Continued expansion of classroom computer technology
  • Digital technology upgrades
  • More access to ICT across the school
  • Improving technology
In addition to these survey comments, families moving to PBS from schools in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch often comment on the lack of BYOD as a low-point and as being 'behind the times'.

Parent asked: Why Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are our preferred device option; many other NZ schools are already using this device and finding it the ideal choice for classrooms. Some of the reasons for this are: a long battery life (requiring no charging throughout the school day), attached keyboard and reasonable size screen, able to get online quickly, lightweight for carrying between home and school. Having one preferred device also increases equity between students e.g. they are all on a level playing field. Chromebooks are also a preferred device at both local Colleges, which means Year 8 students can keep using them through to Year 13. Students will be using ‘GAFE’(Google Apps for Education) as their main learning platform, which enhances their ability to work collaboratively and share work between home and school, teachers, parents and peers. 

The Chromebook is a new type of computer designed to get you on the web as quickly as possible. They’re faster, simpler, and more secure than traditional computers. If you’re the kind of person to do everything online, a Chromebook will help you stay connected and get more out of the web.

Parent asked: What makes Chromebooks different?

  1. All your work is done in a browser.
    Send mail, edit photos, create documents — you can do all of these activities in the browser, thanks to thousands of apps on the web. There’s no complicated software to install.
  2. All your stuff is saved on the web.
    Everything -- your apps, documents, settings -- are all stored safely on the web, and not on the device. So you’ll have constant access to your stuff even if you're using another computer.
  3. You can surf the web anytime, anywhere.
    Chromebooks connect quickly to your preferred wireless or wired networks. Some Chromebook models also come with built-in mobile broadband access, so you can get online anywhere you can make a phone call.
  4. Chromebooks start up fast and last all day long.
    Chromebooks start up quickly and resume instantly from sleep. Your favorite websites load quickly, with full support for the latest web standards and Adobe Flash. Last but not least, you don’t need to worry about power because the battery lasts all day.
  5. Your device will always be up-to-date.
    Each time you turn your Chromebook on, it automatically updates itself with the latest features, hardware and system updates, and anti-virus software.
  6. You can safely share your device, not your information.
    People can sign in with their own Google Accounts on your device to access their own Chrome apps, bookmarks, and settings. Or they can browse the web as a guest, without signing in. Either way, your personal files are never accessible outside your account.
  7. You are protected by built-in security.
    Each webpage and application you visit runs in a restricted environment. So visiting one page that’s been infected with something malicious can’t affect anything else on your computer.
  8. You won't need that much RAM.
    Since you won’t have client apps to manage, you don’t need that much RAM--everything you’re doing is taken care of by super fast and super secure supercomputers.

Where is the evidence to support the claim that students education will benefit from the addition of screen time in class?

Most of the research is based on the diverse needs of the 21st Century Leaner, as opposed to screen time. It is key to remember the device is the tool, not the curriculumThe device is a mechanism to access learning, just as text books are. 

National Standards results of schools who have implemented BYOD have risen rather than been negatively affected. As a school we the used the research and evidence provided by the 'Manaiakalani Project' in Point England, NZ. Their hub of schools has seen rising academic achievement, increased levels of student engagement and improved student attendance since introducing BYOD. Our Board of Trustees attended a presentation by the Manaiakalani Team and were impressed with their results.

Readings and research for the NZ context can also be found here on this Ministry of Education hosted site

Much of the evidence is qualitative rather than quantitative at this stage, but as a school we have used the research of Sir Ken Robinson, Marc Prensky, Derek Wenmoth (NZ), Tessa Gray (NZ), Karen Melhuish-Spencer (NZ), Dr Julia Atins, Mark Osbourne (NZ), Jane Gilbert (NZ), Professor Yong Zhao and Professor Sugata Mitra to name a few.

Do families need to purchase anti virus software for the chrome books?

No anti-virus software required on a Chromebook.

Why is the school dismissing the OECD report on Technology in schools?

The school has not completely dismissed the findings of the OECD report, as it does highlight some points which schools need to be aware of. However, overall the findings of this report are not a major concern within the New Zealand educational context. The data within the report is now nearly four years old and the results are taken from Secondary School aged students. This 2012 data do not take into account the pedagogical change that has occured since; the 'digital' classroom is on the rise globally.

Schools in NZ, the Ministry of Education and the NZ Curriculum document focus heavily on the needs of the 21st Century Learner, which is our direction. One of the reasons for introducing BYOD/BYOC at Paraparaumu Beach School is to address the changing needs of students and better prepare them for life. The skill-set required focuses on the future-focused Principles of the NZ Curriculum and the Key Competencies listed in this document.

There are many points which could be offered as to why these OECD findings are not necessarily relevant to our context, but here is one example: The PISA results used in this OECD report show Korean and Chinese students as having the highest achievement results. It is exceptionally difficult to draw comparisons between their education systems and ours. Their educations systems and curricula focus heavily on rote-learned knowledge. This is based on a model from the industrial era of education, which has changed little over time. Their education systems provide the outcomes the require and the skill set they need in their country for their workforce. The research of Professor Yong Zhao clearly states the need for such countries to take a wider view of education, with particular regard to increasing innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity.

What the OECD report does state is "The real contributions ICT can make to teaching and learning have yet to be fully realised. But as long as computers and the internet continue to have a central role in our personal and professional lives, students who have not acquired basic skills in reading, writing and nativating through a digital landscape will find themselves unable to participate fully in the economic, social and cultural life around them". This is a statement PBS fully agrees with. The introduction of BYOD/BYOC will not equal the delivery of a diminished curriculum. It will allow students and teachers to access the curriculum in a differnt way. We will not teach less reading, writing, maths, science etc - the curriculum will stay the same, however, didgital tolls will change the way we teach and learn in these subject areas.

Parent asked: Are there other device options?

Although Chromebooks are our preferred option, the Trust will be offering an HP Windows-based machine similar to the Chromebook. If your child is dyslexic, there is an advantage with a Windows machine which can use the best speech-to-text software. 

The Ministry of Education is clear that children should not be disadvantaged if they lack a device. How will PBS address this?

As stated above, finance is something we are cognisant of and equity is important to us. This is one of the reasons we prefer one device option as it raises equity and provides a level playing field. We will work with families in need and have some school-owned devices on hand for such students. 

One might be able to draw a link to Norrcom being the Chromebooks partners for Google in NZ and Norrcom being contracted by PBS for IT. Can this be confirmed or denied?

I can assure parents, unequivocally, that the the decision to choose Chromebooks as a preferred device was ours alone. Norrcom being our IT service technician ha nothing to do with it. Neither has their been pressure from any other external company or provider to use Chromebooks. Norrcom are a reputable company who serve our school well and I would have no hesitation recommending their services to others. Norrcom do not have any relationship with the Whakaaro Hou Trust.

What consideration has been given to student safety walking to and from school with these devices?

Student safety is paramount; fortunately incidences of such crime is low in Kapiti. Many of our students have been carrying much more expensive smart phones home in their bags for years. I can also offer you the reassurance that schools in Otaki and Porirua have been operating Chromebooks (through their own local trusts) for the past 12 -18 months. Their students take their devices to and from school daily without any reported safety issues.