Use of Devices at d'Overbroeck's

d’Overbroeck’s is a vibrant school with a spirit of continuous improvement at its core. As such, we are a device-friendly school that embraces new and effective digital innovations to provide an excellent educational environment for our students. We understand that our methods of teaching and learning must follow best-practice standards and equip students with the digital skills they will need at university and beyond in their future careers. We use digital innovations throughout the school where applicable to continue to improve teaching and learning, alongside traditional methods.

If you visit d’Overbroeck’s, you can expect to see students using a range of devices to assist their learning. Today’s students need new strengths and unprecedented versatility to navigate their future. The technology we use, the spaces in which we learn, the systems we use can all help develop these skills and should reflect these aims.

While simultaneously developing the skills that anyone would associate with a rigorous academic education, we promote key 21st Century skills: Collaboration, Knowledge construction, Skilled Communication, Self-regulation, Real world problem solving and Innovation, and the use of ICT for learning.

With specific regard to student devices, we require all students to come to school with a device that meets the following requirements:

  • Running windows 10 or 11 operating system
  • Has a touchscreen that supports inking
  • Has a stylus

 

Product Recommendations

Essential Features (all age groups):

The nature of our BYOD policy does allow students to use alternative devices to those recommended, and certainly there are less expensive options available. However, as a minimum the following requirements should be met:

Windows operating system (Windows 10 or 11)
Has a touchscreen and a stylus supporting inking

Extensive research has shown that writing by hand engages areas of the brain associated with recall and comprehension that typing on a keyboard bypasses.

Key Stage 3 & 4 Students

We currently recommend Microsoft’s Surface Go 3, complete with keyboard type cover and Stylus.

(Note the Surface Go 2 may be available for less and would also be a suitable device.

Sixth Form Students

We currently recommend the Surface Pro 8 with Surface pen.

(Note the surface Pro 7 may be available for less and would also be a suitable device)

For all students, a suitable carry case is also recommended. Further details on these devices can be found at www.microsoft.com

There was one significant barrier with regard to achieving the full benefits of making digital devices available in the classroom. This barrier was the inconsistency in device type and subsequent functionality. It quickly became clear that devices without a stylus and therefore inking facility were definitely limiting in their overall functionality. If you are joining us in September 2022, it we recommend that you purchase a product with relevant functionality, and from September 2023 please note that it is essential for all students to come to school with a device that has a stylus and supports inking.

Providing learners with a device that has a precise, on-screen digital pen increases their ability to:

  • Produce appropriate ideas
  • Solve problems
  • Communicate and build on complex ideas
  • Make accurate inferences about information
  • Learn during note-taking and knowledge creation

Research shows that a digital pen is one of the most important components in ensuring the impact of a device for maximizing learning outcomes.

We issue students with a ‘Microsoft 365’ account that grants students full access to Microsoft’s productivity suite, including: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Teams, Outlook and OneDrive. Our Microsoft license allows students to use either the cloud-based version of this suite operating in a browser window, or to download the full desktop suite, granting them the full functionality of the desktop applications. Microsoft 365 is used extensively throughout the school across all lessons and students are expected to make full use of these tools.

d’Overbroeck’s is very much a Microsoft-orientated school. In fact, we hope to become a Microsoft Showcase school soon which will provide a host of benefits including further specialist support from Microsoft, early access to research and learning solutions, guidance, and peer learning to name just a few. d’Overbroeck’s has long operated a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy at both our Sixth Form and The International School, offering students the option of completing classwork digitally. No doubt our student’s IT proficiency and that of our staff helped us navigate the challenges of the pandemic and the shift to remote and hybrid teaching and learning.

It is our intent that devices will always be used in an academically appropriate way, and not for all lessons and homework in all subjects. We appreciate that students spend time on screens extensively whilst at home, and we want digital learning to be used judiciously and meaningfully. We know that our students need to develop a whole host of digital skills in order to be best equipped to thrive in the world beyond d’Overbroeck’s, but this does not mean that they won’t need to continue to develop traditional skills – we aim to strike a balance.

If you have any further questions about the use of devices in our school, please contact our Director of Computing Dominic Hunter.