Technology has infiltrated our daily lives in such ways, many of us are almost unaware of it…until it starts to interfere with what we’re doing.
The use and abuse of technology in schools across the globe has taken the headlines at times, as society works through how best to use mobile devices and the information and opportunities they give us access to.
In this final post of our series on contemporary boarding, it’s suggested that while there are challenges in managing technology, there are also many positives to be had from embracing it.
Director of Boarding at Barker College, Jon Rheinberger believes managing technology and the use of devices is a serious challenge.
“Students are largely unable to self-regulate their device use and this creates real challenges in managing boarding.
“The balance between educating on healthy use and imposing rules is difficult to achieve.
“In addition to this, the world in which they participate, which is hidden from view, can be a treacherous place and a great deal of vigilance is required which can be difficult to sustain.”
Abbotsleigh’s Rochelle Wiley agrees it’s a whole school challenge as well as a boarding challenge.
On the flip side, while challenges are recognised there’s also been positive outcomes from the use of technology. They include the use of boarding management software to streamline systems and processes across boarding houses and the school, academic applications for research and learning, and communication with the boarding and wider community.
“Whilst there are benefits,” says Matt Curran from Kinross Wolaroi School, “limitations also need to be applied in respect to strict guidelines for device management, especially during the evening, study and rest periods.”
For boys at St Ignatius College, it’s a way of staying connected to each other, their families and communities. However, director of Boarding, Adrian Byrne says the challenge is in them wanting to be connected 24/7.
“We have implemented boundaries for the boys, which our young men have embraced around the times when it’s appropriate to be connected.”
Technology use policies
Different schools have variations of similar technology policies, be it handing in technology before bed and participating in e-safety education programs, to signing user agreements, filtering and tracking content.
At The Armidale School (TAS), a mix of approaches is required when managing technology use, as Pip Warrick explains.
“Managing technology in a school setting is a mix of limitations, expectations, and education.
“In the boarding house, all students below Year 11 are required to hand in their devices and phones at night, and for younger students, there is only limited access to the internet on weekends.
“Filtering sites and the ability to track not just specific content but how much data an individual student is using guides our ability to help students learn how to better manage their use of technology and the internet.”
Missed the early parts of our look at the changing face of contemporary boarding? Here are the links to: