Stratford completes school-wide consultation on the use of mobile devices in schools

Stratford College Exterior Photo by: John Ohle
NEWS / 14 March 2019

The Department of Education and Skills asked all schools to consult with staff, parents and students on the use of Mobile Devices in school. The use of smart phones in schools will be included as an item requiring consultation under the Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill 2016.

Circular 0038/18 states: “The use of tablet devices and smart phones is now an integral part of the lives of children and young people. While this is a positive development, concerns have been identified including some risks associated with the misuse, abuse and possible overuse of these devices and the various associated technologies. Children and young people need to be guided and supported to become good digital citizens. In a school setting, using digital technologies mediated by the teacher with the skills to exploit the potential of the technologies can be invaluable in equipping children with the skills to navigate the online world safely.”

The school, PA and Board of Management have provided several opportunities for consultation since last September. Dr Stephen Minton, TCD met with staff, students and parents at the beginning of the academic year to speak on the theme of cyber bullying, An Garda Siochana met senior students at the beginning of the year, we held an information meeting for parents on our Digital Learning Strategy in February and Zeeko spoke to students, parents and staff about internet safety in March.

The majority of our parents support a policy of not having access to phones while in school so we will now look at our Code of Behaviour and school protocols to limit this accessibility and we welcome parents support of our school policy.

With regard to our Digital Learning Strategy and our Well Being Strategy and the challenges we outlined at our meeting in February we have agreed to encourage a Bring Your Own Tablet (BYOD) to school for classroom use as necessary as the best option. We are confident that, unlike 4G, our wifi and firewall settings provide a safe internet environment for our students. We will also be purchasing a small number of mobile devices for students and recycling some administrative PCs to ensure equity of access for all students.

Ms Gordon

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