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From the Director of Digital Resources

Understanding the ICT Levy and iPad and Surface Pro Provision for Students at Concordia College

Three key principles have always underpinned our laptop and iPad provision for students at Concordia College:

  • that all students will have access to digital resources and services, including devices, that enable, support and enhance their learning experiences
  • that digital devices will not interrupt learning
  • that providing student access to contemporary and emerging digital resources at the College is sustainable.

These principles are why the College community provides fleets of College owned and managed devices for our students in the same way as textbooks and other learning resources are provided.

Prior to the Federal Government initiative in 2009 to provide students with access to digital devices for learning, Concordia families paid a small IT Levy in their fees that covered minimal access to specific computer labs and resources. After 2011, the IT Levy steadily expanded to cover a broad range of services associated with one-to-one devices, until by 2018 the levy legitimately contributed to the IT services, software, systems and device provision students now enjoy at the College. An occasionally expressed misunderstanding is that the levy only pays for student devices and that therefore families are entitled to keep devices when students leave the College. While this was a generous agreement up until 2018 in the Primary School, it was never true in the Middle and Senior School, and after 2018 iPads became part of the College fleet of devices and are no longer ‘handed over’ at the end of Year 6. The last ‘parent-owned’ iPads under the old scheme were sent home in 2021.

We set important expectations for students to care for and use individually assigned devices as if they are their own devices, but we learned in the intervening years since 2011 that, between warranty, accidental damages and repairs, many students in a three-year period do not retain the same device. Our hot-swap service – “If it’s not working properly, we’ll swap it for another” – is designed to provide uninterrupted learning for all students and therefore is not designed to support individual ownership models. Additionally, enrolments at varying year levels and at different times in the year make providing new students with brand new devices difficult, costly and even incompatible with their peer group devices.

For the reasons above, in 2013 we moved to a fleet management model for the Middle and Senior School and planned to move iPads to the same model as soon as Apple management ceased being reliant on attachment to a parent account. The latter shift in iPad management became possible in 2017 and was applied from 2018.

To ensure our fleets are up to date, we generally retire student devices after three to four years of use. This means that it is not unusual for students in Years 1, 4, 7 and 10 to have a new device in their hands, but it is also equally not unusual for students to receive a device that is one to four years old, in perfectly good condition, depending on how many devices are available at the time of distribution. So long as an iPad or Surface Pro:

  • is in undamaged condition
  • has a contemporary processing capacity
  • has a reliable, robust battery charge and life
  • can be used for learning as effectively as any other device in service
  • is less than five years old

we retain that device as part of the student fleet, with the intention that no student will be disadvantaged by the device they are provided.

We are justifiably proud of the IT services, systems and resources provided for our students by the College and we are especially grateful for parent and community support that enables us to offer leading-edge IT services and resources to support and enhance student learning experiences.

Tony Shillitoe
Director of Digital Resources