Deepening Learner Engagement and Growing Digital Citizens
Our children will soon enter a workforce where the jobs they do will constantly change. To prepare them for this we need to instill in them a love of learning that they can carry with them throughout their lives.
Learner agency promotes this and is embedded in The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies as “the capabilities that young people need for growing, working, and participating in their communities.” When learners move from being passive recipients to being much more active in the learning process, and actively involved in the decisions about the learning, then they have greater agency. This fosters deeper engagement and greater ownership of learning.
E-learning through the use of digital tools is part of Kohimarama School’s toolkit for supporting and building Learner Agency with our students. Students are provided with opportunities to be actively involved in the learning and decision making process, and are enabled to to take ownership of their learning in a supported and structured environment, where teachers remain at the forefront of the learning process. SchoolTalk is an online application that supports the learning process and this is described further [below].
Additionally, and in parallel to Learner Agency, digital citizenship is about instilling the values and behaviours that lead to positive and effective use by students of ICT. By starting to develop this from the moment a student starts using a device we’re paving the way for them to participate online in a meaningful way. Importantly we’re also preparing them for any challenges they may face online, particularly in their later school years.
Overall, the introduction of learning applications on devices has expanded the range of learning opportunities and have been shown to support students knowing about how they are meeting the learning progressions in the curriculum.
Used in a balanced and integrated way, using a personal device to support e-learning delivers a number of benefits.
While we value the way devices can support learning we take a ‘fit for purpose’ approach to their use. At times we still expect that paper and pen may be the most effective way to complete a task. We are also aware of the health risks of overuse of devices and will be continuing to promote physical activity and device free learning time.
This page sets out our approach to the use of digital tools to support e-learning at Kohimarama School and how we ensure usage is both balanced and effective.
How we Balance Device Use
All device use is ‘fit for purpose’. This means that teachers will choose the most appropriate learning tool and materials depending on the task. For example, for reading, students will almost exclusively read a physical book, but may complete additional follow up activities using a range of materials including a device. Another example is writing. We continue to teach handwriting and ensure sufficient practice time to meet the core requirements of the curriculum. We also use books for writing.
Kohimarama School follow recommended OECD and Ministry of Education guidelines regarding average time spent on devices and health and safety. We continue to monitor these guidelines and best practices and conduct an annual review of our policies and procedures to ensure as a school we are following the latest recommendations.
In terms of time on devices, a Year 3 student would be using a device on average no more than 20-30% of the time in any given week. For older students there will be occasions where this increases because of a particular project or activity. When balanced out, across a typical school week all our students will spend a significant majority of time engaging in physical and device free learning activities. It is also important to realise that in many cases even when devices are being used they are not the only component of the student’s learning – for examples groups of students may use a device for research for a project or exercise they are working on.
We have a set of Teacher and Student Device Protocols in place to ensure Kohimarama School’s expectations on the use of digital tools for e-learning are understood and implemented consistently across the school.
Kohimarama School has an approved list of learning programmes for Teachers to access to support and enhance learning activities in the classroom. We regularly review these programmes, and note that many of these programmes are used to supplement or enhance, but not replace traditional methods of learning.
The New Zealand Curriculum requires students to have legible handwriting by year 8.
At Kohimarama School we are conscious of ensuring that students focus on using traditional pen and paper to achieve fluid and legible handwriting while also accessing on-line programmes to support and promote writing. Research shows that when students use word processors such as Google Docs rather than write in longhand, the amount of writing increases, the quality of writing improves, and this is particularly the case for low-achieving writers, (Hattie 2009).
Handwriting lessons are planned and taught from year 0 through year 4. In terms of completing work, teachers use their professional judgement to make the decision around the best tools for the learner for a given task.
How we Track the Effectiveness of Devices for Learning
Our key measure of learning effectiveness is how our students are achieving against the curriculum and our learning dispositions. As we introduce digital learning tools we closely monitor for any changes in student achievement and wellbeing. We also take into account the latest research, learnings from other schools in our community, and insights from the Ministry of Education to evolve our approach. Our goal is to continue to produce high levels of student achievement within a learner agentic environment. We’re seeing lots of examples of students extending their learning as a result of some of the tools we’ve introduced.
We have a range of devices in classrooms including ipads, chromebooks and desktops. We have found that these devices, when used within our learning programmes, can significantly enhance student engagement, expand the range of learning experiences that can be offered to students and help students to explore their learning more deeply.
We allow Year 3-8 students to bring a specific personal device, a Chromebook, to school. This is optional and we continue to provide school devices for student use throughout the school. No other personal device will be accepted. Key reasons for only allowing Chromebooks include:
- It is a reasonably priced device with the learning tools students require
- Trouble shooting several makes of devices is time consuming and not always possible if staff are unfamiliar with the brand
- It has limited hard drive storage and is primarily designed to enable Apps to be downloaded and it supports the use of Cloud solutions such as Google Docs
- We use a teacher management system called Hapara which is most compatable with Chromebooks This application enables us to monitor students learning and give feedback as well as ensuring students are using the devices safely and appropriately.
Why we Start at Year 3
In 2018 we extended the BYOD option to Year 3 students. Our belief was that this was the age where students develop a level of independence and responsibility to be able to manage their own device. It’s also an age where we can tap into their desire to take more ownership for their learning. Feedback from our teaching staff and student achievement measures has shown that students have learned to use their devices effectively for learning. They have knowledge about where they are learning, their next steps for learning and have provided evidence to demonstrate that. This also reinforces their assurance that they are successful.
Safeguards and Monitoring we have in place
As Chromebooks are web-based most of the Chromebook’s documents and apps exist in “the cloud” rather than on the device itself. This means that students have to login to the Kohimarama School environment to access designated learning tools and sites. The school router settings are locked down preventing students accessing other sites or web apps. In addition, all teachers use an application called Hapara that enables real time monitoring of student device use.
Bring Your Own Devices Guidelines & Policy
We have placed some clear guidelines around the introduction of BYOD:
- The sole purpose of the use of devices at school is to support and enhance educational outcomes. Their use is limited to this.
- Use of personal devices during the school day is at the direction of teachers and teachers monitor the use.
- Teachers are the professionals and will ensure that if the device is the best tool for learning it is used only for the period required to complete that learning.
- Headphones cannot be used other than at the direction of the teacher for an educational purpose.
- The use of a personal device is not to be used for any other purpose other than described above. Students do not have free use of devices.
- Students will make no attempts to circumvent the school’s network security and/or filtering policies.
- Students will not capture or distribute voice, pictures or videos of students or staff unless this is directed by teachers within an educational context.
- Students will not use personal devices outside of their classroom unless otherwise directed by their teacher for educational purposes.
- Kohimarama School will monitor the activity of students of the network. We do this regularly using Hapara (this allows us to see the past and present content on student devices).
- The use of personal devices falls under the conditions of the ‘Kohimarama School Cybersafey Policy’, ‘Cybersafety Student Use Agreement’ and the ‘Kohimarama School BYOD Agreement’.
Students bring their devices (including all peripherals) to use at Kohimarama School at their own risk.
It is the responsibility of the individual owner, to keep the device secure, charged and with up-to-date virus protection installed on the device.
Kohimarama School system and staff are in no way responsible for:
- Personal devices (including all peripherals) that are broken while at school or during school-sponsored activities.
- Personal devices (including all peripherals) that are lost or stolen at school or during school-sponsored activities.
- Maintenance or upkeep of any device (keeping it charged, installing updates or upgrades, fixing any software or hardware issues).
Consequences for Misuse/Disruption (one or more may apply):
- Access to device removed for the remainder of the day.
- Device removed and kept in the front office until parent/caregiver picks it up.
- Parent may be advised to conduct a more thorough search of the device.
- Privilege of using personal devices at school denied.
- Disciplinary referral as per the Kohimarama School Cybersafety Policy and Agreement. This may involve informing the appropriate external agencies/authorities, including the NZ Police.
We would like to reiterate that bringing a BYOD is an optional choice and that we have no expectations that every student must bring their own device to school.
Students who intend to bring a personal Chromebook into the classroom will be asked to sign a BYOD agreement which is to be brought back to the classroom teacher prior to them bringing their device in to school. We ask that Chromebooks are not brought to school until week 3 of term 1 so we can ensure classes are fully ready for them.
Instructions for setting up your student’s Chromebook for use at the school can be found here
Please follow this link to the:
- Staff Responsible Use Agreement; and
- Student Responsible Use Agreement
Learner Agency and SchoolTalk
Kohimarama School uses an online application called SchoolTalk to make learning progress and reporting more interactive and visible for students, parents and teachers.
A key focus for our school is building ‘learner agency’ where our students take greater ownership for their own learning. One of the tools that enables this is SchoolTalk and students can access this on their device. It enables them to plan, track, and provide evidence of learning. We use SchoolTalk to be transparent about the learning with the student, the teacher and parents at home. SchoolTalk enables this allowing each student and their teacher to track and manage their individual progress.
For parents and caregivers, SchoolTalk makes learning visible, and gives them a more holistic view of their child’s learning progress. Instead of waiting for a school report, they can now see in real time how their child is tracking. This app also provides the opportunity for parents to support their child in informed ways through a resource database that is linked to specific learning intentions from the curriculum.
An introductory session is held for parents of students at the end of Year 2 to introduce parents to SchoolTalk, how it works, and how to access information on student learning and achievement, as students commence using SchoolTalk to support their learning from Year 3.
Getting Device Ready for Secondary School
Whether moving on to Selwyn College or another secondary school, our students will be required to have a personal device as a tool for their learning. These schools also use tools like SchoolTalk to support learner agency. For Kohimarama graduates devices won’t be a novelty, they’ll be a tool they can use effectively to support their learning from day one.
Benefits of SchoolTalk
For teachers, SchoolTalk has enabled them to think differently about how they group and design learning to meet all learners needs.
In summary, these are the key benefits of SchoolTalk:
- Enables agency for our learners, making learning visible.
- Real time reporting on progress and achievement for parents, students and teachers.
- Creates efficiency for teachers – gap analysis, learning design, differentiating and personalising learning.
- Creating a learning partnership with whanau, providing resources and personalised support.
How do I use SchoolTalk?
To use SchoolTalk you need to be sent an invite by your child’s teacher. You can then login with Google, Microsoft or create your own account.
If there are any of you that have not received an invitation or would like to add a second parent to an account please email your child’s teacher.
What parents can view
Parents can view the following information on SchoolTalk relating to their child’s activities and academic progression:
- Progressions – Goals Achieved & Next Steps
- Intentions and Resources for each Goal
I have some other questions
For questions contact your classroom teacher.
The snapshots below are illustrative of the information visible to parents logging into SchoolTalk to view their child’s activities, learning progressions, achievements and next steps for learning.
You can view your child’s planned activities for the day and week. Further detail may be available clicking on the activity block.
You can view at what level your child is working at. Click on a block for more detail.
By clicking on a task name on the main screen you can see any resources that have been loaded.
Cyber Security and Safety Policy
Digital technology has a vital role in teaching and learning, running our workplaces, and our daily lives. Many of our students are digital natives, and we are committed to creating digital citizens. We value our internet facilities and ICT digital technology equipment and the benefits they bring us in teaching and learning and the effective operation of the school.
This policy applies to every member of the school community using digital technology equipment, including staff, students, volunteers, trainees, contractors, special visitors, and board members. Digital technology equipment includes computers, tablets, storage devices, cameras, cellphones, gaming consoles, smart watches, video/audio devices, and other similar devices. This policy applies to digital technology owned by the school, or owned privately and used at school or any other location for a school-based activity. It also includes off-site access to the school network.
We actively encourage our students to use digital technology confidently and competently by learning how to keep themselves safe online and manage challenges and issues, including understanding and meeting privacy and copyright laws, and protecting digital devices and equipment. As defined by Netsafe, a digital citizen:
- is a confident and capable user of ICT
- uses technologies to participate in educational, cultural, and economic activities
- uses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspace
- is literate in the language, symbols, and texts of digital technologies
- is aware of ICT challenges and can manage them effectively
- uses ICT to relate to others in positive, meaningful ways
- demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of digital technology
- respects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world
- contributes and actively promotes the values of digital citizenship
Computer and Cyber Security
Our computer security and cybersecurity policy works in conjunction with our Digital Tools and E-Learning Policy, Staff Social Media, and Community Social Media policies to provide a safe digital environment for the school community. While the digital technology policy is focused on digital citizenship and cybersafety, this policy works to protect school and private property and information. Computer security and cybersecurity is essential to protect information and keep students safe. The principal and board are responsible for the school’s computer security and cybersecurity and review this at least annually.
General Security and Family Zone
Our goal is to protect every student from online harm while still allowing them to take advantage of the incredible possibilities the internet has opened up. That’s why we’ve partnered with Family Zone, New Zealand’s leading provider of cyber safety and digital-awareness tools and services.
Family Zone helps keep kids safe online when they access the internet through the school’s network. They can also keep your kids safe when accessing the internet through unsafe networks, such as mobile phone networks and your home WiFi.
The school monitors traffic and material sent and received on school ICT equipment/devices using Family Zone and the school’s ICT network. The school uses filtering and monitoring software for this purpose to identify, restrict and manage access to certain sites and data, including email during school hours.
Family Zone restricts and controls access to searches and content on student devices from the internet. We are also updated when any new threats are detected by Family Zone. Family Zone’s internet management and monitoring software:
- Manages and monitors student internet use to ensure effectiveness and compliance;
- Controls websites, apps & videos (content/app filtering and safe search)
- Provides custodian alerts and risk detection
- Supports all devices used in the school
- Enables safe search and YouTube restrictions
- Blocks VPN and proxy circumventions
- Filters searches and SSL traffic
- Filters on 3G/4G and WiFi networks
- Supports parents to opt-in/opt-out
- Enforces school policy during school time
- Leverages school-set calendars
All students must have Family Zone installed and activated on ALL digital devices they choose to bring to school (e.g BYOD devices). The school will then be able to provide filtering and enforce its acceptable use policy on the device during school hours even if the student uses other networks to connect to the internet (e.g mobile data), which will help keep students safe online.
The school will protect students when they are using their School-issued Google account no matter what network they are connected to. Family Zone is not required for the School-issued Google account.
In exercising its duty of care, the school may inspect a student’s personal device at any time during school hours where they suspect wrongdoing or inappropriate behaviour. Such inspecting includes accessing content on the device.
- All school devices and user accounts are password-protected.
- We recommend that personal devices that are used to access the school network or school information are password-protected.
- We back up school information, software, and configuration settings, as appropriate.
- The school carefully considers what personal information is made available publicly.
- Confidential waste is disposed of appropriately.
- Staff and students are encouraged to keep alert for viruses, malware, and phishing email scams by:
Phishing is a type of cybercrime. Criminals pretend to be a legitimate or trusted entity in order to get people to voluntarily reveal their logins and financial or other personal details.
Spear phishing is a subset of phishing where the criminal first collects information about their target to make their request for these details more convincing.
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- checking the sender details of emails
- acting with caution if emails contain links/attachments or request anything unusual or with urgency.
If Kohimarama School experiences a cyberattack, we contact CERT NZ (New Zealand’s Computer Emergency Response Team) for advice and support, as appropriate.
As required by the Ministry of Education, Kohimarama School is responsible for keeping the school’s ICT network maintained to the current Ministry Standard.
Our school property plan contains a budget for maintaining the ICT network, including plans for any required cabling repairs, and replacement of network switches and/or wireless equipment.
In keeping with our Health, Safety, and Welfare policy, we follow procedures to guide our use of the internet, mobile phones, and other digital devices and equipment. We maintain a cybersafe school environment by:
- educating students, staff, and the school community about the safe and responsible use of information and communication technologies
- ensuring that the school’s ICT network, hardware, and software is effectively maintained and secure, including content filtering (safe searches)
- using helpful resources, such as those provided by Family Zone
- allowing for professional development and training for staff
- setting and sharing clear guidelines about acceptable and unacceptable use of the technology, and monitoring these guidelines
- following clear guidelines about publishing student information online
- having a clear process for dealing with breaches of the policy or agreements, including any incidents of cyberbullying – see Responding to Digital Incidents
- following guidelines for the surrender and retention of digital devices
- ensuring that members of the school community understand the policy, and commit to it by signing the appro priate use agreement which outlines requirements and expectations – Staff Responsible Use Agreement, Student Responsible Use Agreement
- reviewing use agreements annually.
The school maintains the right to monitor, access, and review digital technology use, including email use, and to audit material on school equipment. The school may also ask to audit privately-owned digital devices/equipment used on the school site or at any school-related activity. This may include browsing history.
Parent Monitoring and Reporting
We need your participation to keep our children safe on every device, everywhere.
Family Zone Insights is a tool available to all families at the school. Insights is not a parental control. It provides no filtering or blocking of content outside of school time. It simply monitors and reports on device activity and delivers weekly snapshots of kids’ device usage, straight into Mum and Dad’s inbox.
The school can manage internet access regardless of network connection, during school hours. Outside of school hours, management automatically switches to the parents and your settings then apply.
Family Zone Premium allows families to filter the internet (eg block adult content) and apply routines (eg study and sleep times) to devices with Family Zone activated at home. You can subscribe to Family Zone’s Premium in the ‘My services‘ settings in your account, and contact Family Zone directly with any questions or support.
The safety of students is of paramount concern. We take any apparent breach of cybersafety seriously and respond using our guidelines for Responding to Digital Incidents and Concerns and Complaints, as appropriate.
In serious incidents, we seek advice from an appropriate source, such as Family Zone, the New Zealand School Trustees Association, and/or a lawyer with specialist knowledge in this area. Special attention is paid to the need for specific procedures regarding the gathering of evidence in potentially serious cases. If illegal material or activities are suspected, the matter may need to be reported to the relevant law enforcement agency.
A major digital incident such as the posting of highly personal information or a graphic photo/video online can have a significant impact on students and staff. The school has the authority and responsibility to act, even when the incident takes place outside of school.
If damaging content has been posted online or a staff member or student has been involved in a scam, the school acts to minimise student/staff distress and ensure their safety. We follow our policy for the surrender and retention of digital devices, and we apply our behaviour plan management strategies in cases of unacceptable student behaviour such as cyberbullying.
In response to a digital incident, the school will:
- gather the facts to determine what has happened and who is involved
- support the students/staff involved
- determine the nature of the content (is it illegal, threatening or intimidating, objectionable, or does it breach privacy?)
- get offensive or inappropriate online material removed if possible:
- ask the person responsible to remove the offending information, page, or website
- request that the service provider or website owner remove the information or page
- seek advice from other organisations if necessary, e.g. Family Zone, the Ministry of Education’s traumatic incident team, and/or the police.
Ministry of Education TI Team
Freephone 0800 TI Team
(0800 848 326)
www.education.govt.nz Traumatic Incidents
- support those affected by the digital incident, where appropriate, to use “report abuse” buttons or other feedback methods on websites to report abuse/bullying, or report inappropriate text messages to the relevant service provider
- contact other relevant parties, e.g. senior staff, the board of trustees, pastoral staff, or parents/caregivers
- determine how/when to release information to the wider community and the media
- record full details of the incident.
If the school was the online content host, the school uses the safe harbour process as detailed by the Ministry of Justice, and/or seeks legal advice as necessary.
After the incident is resolved, the school continues to monitor the wellbeing of the affected students/staff and provides support if needed. The school holds a debrief to assess management of the incident, and how well the cybersafety guidelines were implemented.
Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy
[To be built into the School Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy]
Kohimarama School ensures students health, safety and wellbeing is supported when using digital devices.
Current practice is that our teachers continually monitor and evaluate the physical needs of the students, i.e. have they been sitting for a period and need to move? When they are ready to move, they get up and stretch before moving to the next piece of learning. In accordance with the school’s policies, protocols and Ministry of Education guidelines the school ensures:
- A break from computer tasks every 30 minutes to allow for movement and change of visual focus.
- A mix of sedentary and active tasks in each student and classroom day. (A balance of curriculum incl. physical education, arts, fitness etc).
- Encourage students to use good posture, frequently change positions and respond to discomfort by changing positions.
- Break times are device-free, outdoors whenever possible, and should promote the development of gross motor skills when possible.
The School is conscious that when using devices students require seating and workspaces that are comfortable and promote good posture. Kohimarama, like many schools, has moved to new ergonomic chairs in most areas of the school which are both age and height specific.