Increasingly the role of educational institutions is not to provide information but to teach boys how to select, interpret and work with it, in its various forms. Mobile technologies provide easy access to a wealth of information and are indispensable tools for handling it.
At Bishops, boys operate in technology-rich classrooms which are equipped with wireless networking and some high speed network points. Mobile devices are used to connect to the Bishops network and the academic Intranet. This provides boys with access to course resources, learning programmes and collaborative tools as well as educational software (largely Windows based). Material to be covered, the way it must be investigated and the manner in which it will be evaluated are clearly displayed on the Intranet for each subject.
Teachers from all departments at Bishops add value by using technology. They develop Internet integrated learning programmes in web format to harness the technology to enable teaching and learning in ways that were simply not possible before. Our teachers still lead the classes and control the boys so that learning and teaching takes place. When appropriate, boys work on learning programmes. Teachers have found that using technology in useful ways is motivational and productive.
Bishops believes that learning can be enhanced, deepened, and made more meaningful if our boys are active participants in their own learning. Laptops, and more recently, tablets, running Windows 8, are the tools that facilitate ICT integration and provide opportunities for interactivity, multiple role playing (such as listener, critic, mentor, presenter), and social engagement (such as group work, discussion boards, wikis). Most importantly, the organisation of the learning programmes and the method of delivery allows for a different classroom experience which can enhance the interaction between pupil and teacher.
In this way, Bishops boys are afforded the opportunity of developing technical, social and personal skills which are vitally essential for success and adaptation in the technology-rich world of the 21st century.
When are laptops introduced?
Laptops are purchased by Grade 8 parents in the middle of their son's grade 8 year. Details of this are communicated each year and parents are encouraged to involve themselves in the procurement process. Parents are asked not to buy their sons laptops until advised.
If for any educational reason you feel your son should have a laptop before the start of Grade 8, please consult with Sally Wilson, ICT Director, to ensure compatibility and to discuss other arrangements.
What do boys need to have?
Each boy is required to bring a fully functioning Windows laptop, or in certain instances a tablet, to every class so that the technology is immediately available to be used when appropriate. Bishops operates on a Windows platform. This is the only environment supported and every boy is thus required to work on his laptop only in the Windows environment.
For Apple machines, this means installing a Windows partition and possibly running Parallels, for which there is an additional cost.
All laptops are configured in a special way so that boys can access all the relevant material and software on the school network. This configuration is arranged by the school and is part of the once-off technology fee that is charged to every pupil's fee bill when they enter the College.
In specific situations where specialist software is required for a particular subject, boys will be billed through the normal billing process (as is the situation with textbooks).
Does the school or any staff member make money out of this deal?
No. Each year the laptop parent committee ensure that there is total transparency in decisions made regarding suppliers and pricing. Any benefits of the bulk deal are passed on to the parents in terms of pricing and service arrangement.