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For many government-funded schools, the IT budget can’t stretch to provide each student with their own laptop or handheld computer. However, through a resourceful program in 2012, personally owned student devices became integrated and supported within the curriculum and IT network at Orewa College, a secondary school located near Auckland, New Zealand. With the support of the parent community in providing their child with a handheld device, students at Orewa College are now enjoying the benefits of mobile e-learning and computing, all within a secure and dedicated student wireless network.
Prior to 2012, Orewa College deemed a 1:1 ratio of mobile computers to students as ideal yet financially out of reach for the school. Mark Quigley, Orewa College’s Deputy Principal and Director of Teaching and Learning comments on why this was so significant to the school, “Exposing students to mobile computing within the school environment is important as it expands learning opportunities and promotes responsible internet citizenship. Because we didn’t have the budget to supply the mobile devices ourselves, we made the decision to seek alternative means of making this happen.”
It was with these objectives in mind that the school first considered the idea of students bringing their own device (BYOD) into the classroom and grounds. Parents were very supportive of the idea even though for many it was an extra financial burden. The viability of the BYOD program rested on the cost and resource hours needed to purchase, deploy and manage a high-density wireless network; one that was capable of supporting the extreme throughput demands of more than twothousand students and staff.