Our students compete on a global stage and they need new skills to prepare them for further study and jobs – many of which have not yet been created. They need skills we call the 4Cs: creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

The rate of change in technology and in society is so rapid that to prepare young people to live, work and be successful in the 21st century, they will need the ability to think both creatively and critically, problem-solve and work collaboratively.

Education is no longer about just knowing but about:

  1. Ways of thinking
  2. Ways of working
  3. Tools for working
  4. Skills for living in the modern world.

Technology has opened up new forms of learning and creative expression for students. It has allowed them to take greater control of their learning and to personalise it. Technology is breaking down barriers of geography and time zones. Research suggests that one-to-one or paired access to technology increases students’ motivation and engagement in learning and support them to see connections to what they are learning and the wider world. Quality teaching still matters. Technology on its own will not deliver an improved learning experience for students. Simply substituting the screen for the page does not enhance outcomes. Across the world it is well recognised that quality teaching is the single most influential factor on student learning. As technology advances further in the future let’s not forget that it is the teacher who makes the greatest difference. Technology simply provides a personalised tool of access and connectedness for the teacher and student to optimise.

It follows that if learning is off the page and into a creative and connected space then the physical space of the classroom also needs a similar transformation. While the traditional classroom of teacher-based instruction has merit, so too do the flexible learning spaces that enhance communication, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, inquiry-based learning and project-based tasks. It is the balance of these learning spaces that will drive the changes in the classrooms of tomorrow.

What does learning with a BYOD look like?

OneNote is a Microsoft cloud-based learning platform utilised by our school. Students use OneNote to organise their work into online folders. Being cloud-based, a student’s OneNote can be accessed anywhere, any time and from any device. They respond to tasks individually, in pairs or in groups. The task can incorporate multimedia input and responses and it allows for links to be inserted from other apps and programs to assemble ideas.

The teacher marks and provides feedback online. OneNote is continually synced so the students receive that feedback the next time they log on to a device. This term we are providing access for parents to do the same.

Another powerful tool of OneNote is the collaborative learning space where all children can actively contribute to a brainstorming session and discussion from their own devices. In the task above, students both posed problems and dilemmas they might encounter and then their peers contributed suggested solutions to the dilemma. At the end of the task the students discussed the value of the answers justifying reasons why they think a particular response has merits. This task then remains in each child’s OneNote file.

OneNote allows students to video themselves in response to a task. Students can complete group and individual videos as a form of text. Children are also able to respond to a question through a voice recording. This can sometimes eliminate the literacy challenges for some students to complete a task. They can also record themselves reading a text and then listen back to their fluency, expression and errors to identify their own goals in reading.


All students and teachers in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle can download and install Microsoft Office 2016 for free on up to 5 personal devices.

  1. Go to Office.com and sign in in the top right corner with your school email address (firstname.lastname@mnstu.catholic.edu.au)
  2. Choose work or school account
  3. When Office 365 opens you will see an icon that says Install Office 2016 in the top blue area
  4. You can follow the prompts from here on a device you need to load Office onto at home

Alternatively, when students sign on to the internet via mnconnect.cloud  their landing page comes up. In the top left hand corner when they click the Office365 icon, they will go to a new page that has an ‘Install Office 2016’ icon on the right.  

This access to Microsoft Office allows the use of Word, Excel, Publisher, Access and most importantly in terms of educational tools, it provides the use of OneNote which was outlined on the previous pages. It also automatically provides students with 1TB of cloud space (One Drive) to store all their files so that they can be accessed from anywhere, anytime and any device.

One of the first things we do with new devices at school is to ensure students have Microsoft Office downloaded for free. Do not buy a device package that includes Microsoft Office because you will be paying for something you don’t need. If you choose to download the Microsoft office at home prior to starting the BYOD project, please ensure you follow the steps above and that you sign up using your child's email address because that is what provides you with the free download and cloud space.


Safety is paramount to any education priority surrounding online devices. As part of this project students will participate in ongoing tasks, discussions and assessments to ensure they are acutely aware of unsafe situations and able to maintain safe practices to avoid these.

E-safety is a government run site that provides interactive and multimedia presentations for students to explore and complete as part of their classroom learning. The site also provides support lines and specific strategies to implement if a student encounters unsafe behaviour while online.

Example modules include

Cybersmart Detective

The teaching resource explores what could happen when someone reveals too much information online and it ends up in the wrong hands. The video invites students to follow clues throughout the exercise and use their powers of deduction to make predictions, draw conclusions and answer questions along the way.

Cybersmart Hero

The teaching resource addresses the issue of cyberbullying and the power of the bystander.


#GameOn is a teaching resource that follows the online experiences of a group of lower secondary students. Topics include cyberbullying, excessive gaming, sharing passwords and online friends. This video is divided into 5 episodes (5 min per episode).