1. I can't connect to the school wi-fi?
During the Autumn Term we are mainly focusing on using the Kindle for eBooks: these should be downloaded to your device at home. You can then use these eBooks on your Kindle anywhere, anytime and without wi-fi. Some teachers and departments will start to experiment with other apps that need wi-fi. To connect you simply need to turn your wi-fi on from the settings and then select BOYD from the wi-fi preferences. We found that some parents had password protected the wi-fi and this stopped students connecting.
You can find a short video guide to wi-fi issues from our Digital Help Folder, located in the Handbooks and Guides on our Information Page or follow the link here
2. Will the new broadband be accessible from 1st September?
No. The upgrades are being rolled out through the Autumn Term as COVID, BREXIT and haulage issues have effected supply and impacted the workforce and our timeline over the summer. This is one of the reasons why we want a focus just on eBooks.
3. What about power and charging?
Kindles should only be used in lessons on the site each day: this means a maximum of 5 x 55 minute lessons per day or approximately 4hrs and 40minutes. In normal usage Kindle batteries will last 12 hours compared to 10 hours on the iPad according to Amazon and Apple.
However, any tablet will not last 10 or 12 hours IF they are not fully charged every night, are used before students get to school, have the screen on all the time, and if they are not set with the various power saving measures in place [see Kindle Set Up page].
4. Can Kindles be charged at school?
If the power saving steps are followed in the Kindle Set Up page then there is no need to charge a Kindle during the day. However, each classroom will/does have a five bank high speed charger located at the front of the class. When used we will add a comment to SIMS so that we can follow up, support and educate students and parents about power savings.
5. How can a school go digital overnight?
Digital is not an overnight strategy but a long term direction of travel with an end goal of being fully digital by 2024/25. It is better to think of it as a journey. Please see our Digital Strategy here
6. What does fully digital mean?
By fully digital we mean that digital methods of learning and organisation will be seen as being just as normal as using a pen and paper or a lever arch folder are today It means all students and staff using tablets to support interactive and collaborative classroom learning experiences that uses traditional methods alongside video, photographs, and other multi-media experiences to capture, deepen, enhance and organise the students learning experiences.
7. What will this look like in practice? Will students still write, use pens and paper and read paperback books?
Yes. Elements of all of the above will remain in place in some departments dependent upon the needs of the department, and the way that they need to work. Our partner schools that are five years or more into this journey saw initial resistance replaced by a swift take up as training, problems and issues were overcome. Today they work in a 70/30 blended fashion with most departments fully digital and others working in a blended fashion mixing traditional and digital.
8. What about public exams? Won't students will still need to write for these?
Yes, students will still need to practice their handwriting under timed conditions for public examinations and in our Partner schools this is a normal working method for end of year examinations, practice tests etc. It is worth pointing out that the government and the examination boards are now on their second consultation in three years into the future of online examinations. It is now very definitely more a question of when not if exams go online and part of our planning for the future does anticipate this occurring at some point in the 2025-2030 time frame.
9. What day to day help and support will be in place for students/staff with devices or software problems?
The school library will be the focal hub for all Kindle, eBook and Kindle Software Queries. Mr Brown is accessible at break and lunchtime and before and after school/during enrichment to provide assistance and guidance with device issues.
In terms of training then we recommend that all students and staff visit the Microsoft Educator Hub and work through the online training courses in One Note and Teams - they are of a high quality and internationally recognised.
Year 7 and Year 8 can also access support and guidance through their Computer Science lessons.
10. Why Kindles?
Kindles with Google Playstore installed provide a value for money, tablet experience that will run the necessary classroom software we need students and teachers to use e.g. Internet, eBooks, Office 365 and various interactive classroom apps. We don't need or expect the tablet to be a super expensive, powerful, cutting edged device as this would not represent value for money.
11. What about the school Wi-Fi capacity and network are these being upgraded to cope with demand?
Yes we are working with a number of partners to roll out improvements to our broadband and wi-fi network. This work started over the summer of 2021 with the installation of a new 1GB broadband line, replacement of our 1GB switches with 10GB switches. Further upgrades will continue through 2021/22 as we invest in installing a second 1GB broadband line and continuing upgrading networking cabling and wi-fi access points. We anticipate that by the July 2022 we will have completely upgraded our entire school network.
12. Will the school be employing more IT technicians and IT leaders?
Yes. We are recruiting an additional Senior IT & Software Team Leader to support our existing IT technicians plus we will be recruiting an IT apprentice as well. In addition to this we are also working with contacts and consultants from our Partner Schools and have engaged the services of a specialist trainer.
Our existing Network Consultants LCS are also a central component providing the much needed continuity and knowledge of our school and our systems. Finally we have also engaged Blue Sky Systems Ltd for additional cabling, technical and upgrade support and future remote network management services.