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Technology for Learning at BISB

At the British International School Budapest, we continually strive for educational excellence in order to provide the vital pathways to further educational opportunities for our students. Interwoven with this, we have a duty to prepare our students for their fast-changing, globally-connected, technology-rich future in the most responsible manner possible.

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To ensure that our Technology for Learning approach in school has integrity, we, as a whole school actively encourage certain practices in the use of technology. All technology, including, but not limited to laptops, tablets and mobiles are to be used for the purpose of learning in class. Consequently, these devices are to be used only during lesson time for the purpose of learning and not in common spaces such as the corridors, auditorium, stairwell or dining room either during break or lunchtimes for other purposes. Students are encouraged to make use of both the ICT Lab and Media Centre if they need to make use of technology for learning during these times. The use of earphones and headphones outside of classrooms is discouraged. These measures are to ensure that we adhere to acceptable Health and Safety standards, social norms and maintain educational excellence.

 

Primary School

We have invested heavily in our infrastructure to create a fast and reliable network, everywhere in the school and are running a highly successful 1-to-1 iPad programme in the Primary School (KS1 and KS 2). These devices are set up in such a manner so as to be secure when browsing as well as being easy to locate if misplaced. These devices are supported by classroom desktop computers as well as a mobile laptop trolley and remain in school after hours for charging and maintenance. Our use of technology is completely focused on learning throughout the school by allowing our students to use technology as a powerful tool to express their understanding in a different, interesting and exciting way.

 

Secondary School  

Bring your Own Device (BYOD) programme

As the students move into the Secondary School (KS 3 – 6th Form) the provisioning plan is slightly different in that the students have the opportunity to bring their own devices into school. BYOD means students bring their own devices to school for educational purposes. In the classroom, students will use devices responsibly, and only with the permission and direction of the teacher or another staff member. Of course, technology alone will not improve learning — but when combined with the right instruction from skilled staff, amazing things can happen.  While we refer to this as a 1-to-1 Bring your Own Device (BYOD) programme, we need to be more specific about the requirements in order to better suit the learning needs of our older students. This device must be either a laptop or a ‘hybrid’ type device that has a full keyboard. This allows students to confidently type and to work on a screen size that is comfortable to view. This excludes 7 and 8-inch tablets and we suggest a screen size of at least 11.6 inches.

The advantages of a BYOD programme in the secondary part of the school are numerous, well documented and include the following:

 

  • Students can use devices to learn anytime, anywhere and are likely to do so.
  • Students can collaborate with their peers after school, about their school work.
  • Student-owned devices can be customized and updated.
  • Students are already familiar and comfortable using their own technology so they can focus on actually learning with them than learning how to use the device.
  • Students will be more organized with all their notes and assignments all in one place.
  • Gives the students limitless access to information and resources.
  • BYOD allows student & teacher to swap roles.
  • Teachers can use technology to be more connected with students and parents than ever before.
  • Students love technology so BYOD engages students and creates enthusiasm and excitement about learning.
  • BYOD allows more opportunities for more personalized learning where students can excel at their own pace.
  • Students take control of ensuring that their device is working, instilling a sense of responsibility.
  • The majority of students already own the devices necessary for BYOD.

 

Technical specifications

A possible list of specifications of a suitable PC laptop might be (this is by no means exhaustive or prescriptive):

 

  • RAM Computer Memory: 4GB
  • HDD or SSD Capacity:  +100GB (This could be less and increased if the unit has SD slot capability)
  • OS: This can vary from unit to unit and there is no specific requirement. The school environment runs Windows 10 and all students are able to download MS Office without cost.
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 or better
  • Screen Size: Minimum 11.6 inches
  • Keyboard: this must be an English alphabet keyboard not a Hungarian alphabet keyboard
  • Graphics Processor: Not of great importance in the learning environment but may be of importance to individual students.

 

Any of the Apple MacBooks is suitable.

A Chromebook is also suitable as long as the user is satisfied with the certain restrictions it may have.

The students have full access at BISB to a single sign-in portal and the Microsoft Office 365 online package with an option to download both PC and MAC versions of the latest MS Office without charge. This package also includes considerable, secure cloud storage lessening the need for large storage on the device itself as well as providing an access point for the Firefly virtual learning environment. To maximize the potential of this, secondary students are required to bring their device to school fully charged on a daily basis. We are also able to provide a limited number of laptops for students who might not have their own device available on a given day as well as lockable storage for all devices. Students are therefore responsible for the safekeeping of their own devices whilst at school. This includes, but is not limited to laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Students are required to use the school's wireless network, which they will access for free while at school. They will not be permitted to access their paid data plans while in class. The network’s filter and robust firewall will also help to prevent students from accessing inappropriate web content while they are logged on at school.  The appropriate and correct use of this technology involves the need to use technology safely, effectively, ethically and respectfully and they are supported in this with Digital Citizenship and the use of Social Media discussions in both PSHE and ICT lessons.

 

Communicating with Parents

In the Primary School parents have access to the Kinteract platform that provides regular updates to them as well as documenting the progress their child is making. In Years 1 and 2 we, make use of the Seesaw platform to share regular class updates, which doubles as a virtual learning environment in class and off-campus. Years 3-6 make use of Seesaw to post class updates and share a digital portfolio of work with their parents. As a virtual learning environment, they make use of Firefly. Students in the Secondary School make extensive use of Firefly for classwork and homework. Parents are able to review their child’s homework by making use of the parent app.

All parents have access to the Firefly Parent Portal that provides a link to the online Parents Evening System that we use to book a time to speak to their child’s teachers.

 

Virtual School Environment

BISB is well equipped and the staff experienced in delivering high-quality online provision should the need arise. We are able to make a rapid and seamless transition to virtual lessons using our existing platforms and Microsoft Teams for the delivery of lessons.

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