Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What is MyTech?
MyTech is a part of the College's ongoing technology development. Under MyTech every secondary student will bring their own device, such as a laptop, to The College. In many schools it is called a BYOD (bring your own device) program. By 2020 all students in the secondary years will be bringing their own device.

MyTech will mean that teachers will no longer move their class out of specialised classrooms to access computers for a lesson. It will also allow teachers and students to access a wide variety of online learning activities and tools anytime, in any lesson, while they are still in their normal classrooms.

Why MyTech?
Technology has revolutionised almost every part of our lives. It is an important tool used in most workplaces to increase efficiencies and enable people to perform their jobs better. In order to prepare students for this kind of workplace we need to be exposing them to a wide variety of technologies and providing them with the skills to be able to adapt to the rapid pace of technological change. This includes teaching them healthy digital citizenship values to match their skills.

MyTech will allow us to help our students become 21st century learners who are creative and critical thinkers and can work collaboratively with others. When each student has access to their own device, teachers have much greater flexibility to work at developing these skills. To facilitate this, the College is also implementing a new cloud based Learning Management System called Canvas. Used well, technology can create more interactive and engaging lessons. When students are engaged they learn more. The College anticipates the "MyTech" program will not only provide students with access to expanded, global resources and content but will also give students the opportunity to take ownership of their learning and be creative in their problem solving.

The MyTech program will continue to allow teachers to work in partnership with parents to develop a wide range of skills that will help ensure our students are well equipped to move into further education or into the workforce.

When does the MyTech Program commence?
The MyTech Program at Wollondilly Anglican College commenced on Day 1 of Term 3 2017 for Years 8 and 9. In 2018, Day 1 of Term 1, students in Years 7 and 8 will also bring their own device. This will then flow into the Collegiate years (11 &12). By the beginning of 2020 every student in Years 7-12 will be bringing their own device to the College.
Why wait until Term 3 2017 to implement MyTech?
To insure that MyTech is implemented smoothly we are allowing time to make sure that teachers, parents and students have time to prepare.

Although it is really just another bit of equipment that students will bring to class, for it to work smoothly there are a number of issues that have to be considered and addressed. These include:

  • - the College ensuring we have the suitable hardware and systems in place to cope with such a large number of devices accessing our network
  • - suitable programs and policies being put in place to ensure our students know how to use their devices appropriately and strategies are in place to prevent inappropriate use;
  • - staff being able to complete training to help ensure they are able to adapt their teaching and have the necessary skills to use technology effectively in the classroom;
  • - parents having time to save for and purchase a suitable device for their children.
What is Canvas ?
Canvas is a cloud based Learning Management System that is designed to make teaching and learning easier.
It will replace our current Moodle platform and will offer superior usability and functionality.
Students will be able to access Canvas anywhere that they have an internet connection using a web browser or mobile app.
Some of the benefits of Canvas for students are that it allows them to:

- submit work digitally;

- work collaboratively;

- receive feedback and grades digitally;

- check due dates for homework and assessments tasks;

- access and catch up on missed work;

- revise past work and class activities; and

- access extension work.

It also has benefits for teachers in terms of enabling digital marking, greater analysis of student results and easier distribution of learning materials. Not all class work will be placed on Canvas and it will be more beneficial for some subjects than others. Overall it is a great tool that will continue to help teachers improve the way we teach and provide greater access to learning tasks and feedback for students.

Why doesn't the College buy laptops for each student ?
There are a number of different options as to how a school can implement a 1:1 device program. One option is for the College to purchase identical devices for each student and add this to the fees and another is for students to bring a device that best suits them. No one option suits all students or families and schools have to decide what option best suits the majority. The College has chosen the latter option as it will allow students and parents to choose a device that most closely matches their needs for both the College and at home. It provides ownership of the device and helps to ensure that students value and look after it.
What are my options for purchasing a device for my child?
There will be several options for how you can buy a suitable device for your child.

1. Purchase an approved device from the College purchasing portal The College has set up a purchasing portal with a third party that will offer a range of suitable devices. The Portal will be ready to make purchases in mid-November 2016. The advantages of this are that parents can be confident that the device will meet or exceed the requirements of the MyTech program. The portal will provide a variety of competitively priced devices at a range of price levels.

2. Purchase an approved device from a supplier of your choice. Provided the device meets the minimum requirements, a student can bring a device that has been purchased from a retailer of your choice (eg Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi). It is important that you are very careful to ensure that the salesperson only sells you a device that meets all the specifications and it is recommended that you take the detailed specifications with you to the store.

3. Bring an existing device. Provided the device meets the minimum requirements, a student can bring a device that is already owned by their family to the College for the MyTech program. To meet these requirements it would need to be a relatively new device that is up to date and still has sufficient battery life.

How often will students be required to bring their device to the College?
Students will need to bring their fully charged device to the College every day.
How will the devices be used in class?
Currently our staff use technology in a variety ways to teach students. This ranges from setting specific online tasks to giving open-ended tasks where students are expected to use technology to solve a problem. With the introduction of our MyTech program the use of technology in classroom teaching will become more fluid and prevalent. Much of the content and many teaching activities will be delivered to students through our new Learning Management System, Canvas. It will allow students to take greater ownership of their learning and provide them with the opportunity to collaborate, communicate and research on a global level in real time.

The technology won’t replace the explicit teaching of concepts or the interaction between the teacher and the students. Its purpose is to enhance the method and practice of teaching. Students will still be required to complete handwritten tasks, particularly in Years 11 and 12, as we are conscious of the need for students to maintain their handwriting skills.

What effect will the program have on textbooks?
The College is moving towards electronic textbooks or eBooks, starting 2017 with Geography and History for Years 8 and 9. We plan to extend this across as many subjects as possible for Years 7 to 9 in 2018. The benefits of using an eBook are twofold: they contain interactive content and students won’t need to carry textbooks to and from the College each day.
What effect will the program have on exercise books?
The College will still use a blended learning environment meaning that traditional classroom methods, such as the use of exercise books and textbooks, are combined with the internet and digital media. Depending on the type of activity, the teacher will decide on the best tool to use and will clearly communicate this to the students. It is envisaged that the device will be an integral part of most, but not all lessons.
What types of devices does the College recommend?
The College recommends a relatively new Windows based PC. Other devices including MacBooks are suitable provided they meet the minimum specifications .
What are the minimum requirements?
In most cases, if you purchase a new personal laptop computer it will meet these specifications. Otherwise please check the minimum specifications .
A computer for around $500 seems too good to be true. Is there a downside?
For general College use, a basic Windows computer will meet the needs of the majority of students. Senior students studying an IT, D & T or Visual Arts course may need a higher powered computer to run software like the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) or Microsoft Access. Some students may also want to use their device beyond the classroom for other activities that may require higher specifications.
Will my child be at a disadvantage in the Senior Years in IT, D & T or Visual Arts subjects if they only have a cheaper laptop?
No. We will have some College computers available to run specialised software for these courses. Obviously student access to these computers will be governed by demand.
Is an Apple MacBook an acceptable device?
Yes. Provided the MacBook is relatively new it should meet the minimum specifications .
What are the benefits of purchasing a MacBook?
A MacBook may provide students with greater multimedia capabilities should they require them for visual media based subjects. Microsoft Office 365 is available for a MacBook.
What are the disadvantages of purchasing a MacBook?
A MacBook is generally more expensive than a Windows based laptop. They may also require extra software and carry additional technical support overheads for the user.
Why aren't iPads or tablets included?
Many schools have trialled iPads and are now moving away from them as they do not provide all the functionality that is needed in the learning environment. Disadvantages include the small screen and keyboard sizes. Additionally, only a limited range of programs can be run on these types of devices.
Should I buy insurance?
The security of the device rests with the individual owner; as such, Wollondilly Anglican College takes no responsibility for stolen, lost, or damaged devices. While College employees will help students to identify how to keep their devices secure, students will have the final responsibility for securing their devices. You may wish to check your homeowner’s insurance policy regarding coverage for portable personal electronic devices. Some policies cover loss or damage.
I have an old laptop at home, can I give this to my child to use?
We strongly recommend that the device your child brings to the College is as new as possible so that it meets our minimum requirements and is as functional and reliable as possible. Devices over three years old will probably not be suitable.
My children all share a laptop, will this do for the MyTech program?
All students will be set individual classroom tasks involving their MyTech device on a regular basis and across a variety of subject areas. For this reason, it is essential that all students have their own individual device.
I have bought the device, now what do I do?
Once you have purchased a device you need to make sure all the necessary software is installed. To get connected to the College WIFI network students will be expected to attend a MyTech Connect Workshop. In the meantime, we recommend your child gets comfortable using the device and avoids installing too many programs or games because they take up valuable resources and can slow the computer down.