Technology for learning

At Avenor, we co-create the best future for and with our students. Being future-ready is one of the characteristics of our Avenor Learner Profile and no one can imagine a future without technology.

This is the reason why our vision regarding technology is to provide every student with the digital competencies that prepare them for the ever-changing world that we live in. We create a culture where everyone embraces new ideas and technologies. We guide young adults to become principled digital citizens.

Bring your own device

Avenor College has developed the “ Bring Your Own Device” program in the belief that this is a suitable way for the school to provide teachers and students opportunities to extend and enrich learning by

Shifting instruction towards more engaging, autonomous, student-centered learning where inquiry and authentic learning are emphasized. (Skill Based)

Focusing on 21st Century Learning, including critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, self-direction, and global and cultural awareness.

Using online learning tools and digital content.

Screen time at Avenor College

Screens are part of our lives, of our children’s lives and it is clear that we cannot avoid them but we, adults (teachers and parents) can control their usage and we can teach our students to use them for learning. One common idea emerging from research is that we need to find ways to engage our children positively with technology and not to forbid it.

What does it mean then to engage positively?

Screen time is one first concern when we engage with technology – how long is too long? One study by the Oxford University [1] shows that the evidence base for the potential harm produced by using devices is often overstated and that not all screen time is equal – it is more important to look at the quality of the screen time rather than its length. 

One hour spent watching a documentary, typing up a summary and redrafting it based on the teacher’s feedback is different from one hour of social media.


There are many types of activities that a child can have on their device. We look below at screen time outside class, time which can broadly categorized as below:

a. Passive screen time
e.g. watching Youtube, Netflix, Instagram – at home, this can be used as a way to relax, but please be alert at signs that raise concerns: sleep deprivation, insomnia, headaches, irritable responses from your child. Here are some signs of screen time overuse and how to handle these. In school, we do not allow passive screen time use. When a class watches a video, it is not passive – it is for educational purposes and it is followed by either a class discussion or an activity that reinforces the learning from the movie – students learn best when information is presented to them in various ways.

b. Social media screen time
Includes video and audio chats with family, friends. In certain conditions, when family members or friends are not close this time represents a valuable way to connect. In school, students might use zoom to connect with other students and/or with the teacher (in a hybrid learning environment), therefore making this time an educational screen time.

c. Gaming screen time
It depends on the game. There are educational games and games for fun. We recommend that at home you download yourself the games that your child is playing and discuss their value together. You might want to refer to our National Online Safety subscription for descriptions of the most trendy games. Your account, that the school offered last year, is still valid for this school year. In school students are not allowed to play games – school is a place where during breaks we encourage students to socialise and play outside. No screens are allowed during breaks and during lunch. Only students working for projects are allowed in dedicated areas, supervised by adults to use their screens.

d. Screen-on-a-side
Whereas for some tasks (such as cooking, gardening, tidying up your room, learning a new skill) having a screen-on-a-side can bring more information or more fun, we do not recommend this when students complete school work.

e. Creative and interactive screen time
This type of screen time type turns children from consumers of technology to creators with technology. They can draw, paint, learn calligraphy, code – all these are good activities, triggering their curiosity and are a healthy way of interacting with technology.

f. Educational screen time
Your child might join virtual classes or be set school projects (such as, for example, in PBL, Arts, Science). This time is used for learning and it is valuable time. In some cases, technology is used to transform learning in ways not possible without it.

2-5 years old

Studies from the American Association of Pediatricians and the World Health Organisation recommend about 1 hours of screen time per day. It is recommended that the screen time is shared with an adult. At Avenor Nursery, children spend around 30min per week for Nursery and Reception groups and around 30min per day for Year 1 groups. to learn the basics of using technology for educational purposes and are always under the teacher’s supervision.

6-12 years old

This is the time when children get their own device, a time when they start developing their habits regarding the use of technology. At Avenor, our approach helps them develop healthy habits with regards to the use of technology. A study by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health [2] underlines that “families should negotiate screen time limits with their children based upon the needs of an individual child, the ways in which screens are used and the degree to which use of screens appears to displace (or not) physical and social activities and sleep. We would also adopt the expert recommendation that screens are avoided for an hour before the planned bedtime.” In school, students use devices only during classes for educational purposes.

13+

It is essential to help students develop independence and self-control with regards to the use of technology. An extensive study found that “moderate digital engagement does not correlate with well-being, but very high levels of usage possibly have small negative association.” [3] It is more important how and when teenagers use technology, rather than the amount of screen time. At Avenor, our students use technology for educational purposes only. We restrict the space and time when they can use technology outside class.

At Avenor, we follow our Bring Your Own Device policy here. Phones are not allowed to be used in school, as they are not appropriate for learning. Students should keep their phones in their bags during the school day. Any other devices are not allowed during breaks and during lunch. Only students working for projects are allowed in dedicated areas, supervised by adults to use their devices.

During lessons, students will follow learning experiences that are defined by the teacher or agreed with the teacher. Devices enrolled into our school server will be restricted to access only applications that are allowed by the teacher, to help students focus on their learning. Students use devices to increase their engagement and to enhance their learning.

Outside lessons, students in grades Pregatitoare – 4 are not allowed to use devices at all. Our position is that this time should be used for socialising and playing. Students in grades 5-12 might need/want to extend learning outside class. For them we allocated areas designated for using devices for learning purposes only:

  • One quiet area for students who need to work individually on assignments.
  • Another area for students who need to collaborate on various tasks.
  • A third area is allocated for students in Grades 11-12 only.

When needed, these spaces are supervised by teachers, who ensure that students use their devices for educational purposes.

[1] “Children’s Screen-Time Guidelines Too Restrictive, according to New Research | University of Oxford.” Ox.ac.uk, 14 Dec. 2017, www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-12-14-children%E2%80%99s-screen-time-guidelines-too-restrictive-according-new-research. Accessed 12 Sept. 2021.

[2] “The Health Impacts of Screen Time – a Guide for Clinicians and Parents.” RCPCH,
www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/health-impacts-screen-time-guide-clinicians-parents. Accessed 12 Sept. 2021.

[3] Orben, Amy, and Andrew K. Przybylski. “The Association between Adolescent Well-Being and Digital Technology Use.” Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 3, no. 2, 14 Jan. 2019, pp. 173–182, , 10.1038/s41562-018-0506-1.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

JAMF is a purpose-built mobile device management solution (MDM) for schools. With its intuitive web-based interface — deploying, managing and securing  iPads and Apple TV (used in our school) has never been simpler. Jamf gives teachers the ability to deploy and manage Apple devices – the best learning technology – with ease, so students can focus exclusively on learning during the time spent in school.

Students will not be on their iPad all of the time. Teachers will ensure that there is a balance between time ‘on’ and ‘off’ the iPad. “Anywhere, any time but not all the time”, and the time that students are on their ipads depends on their age as well.

Yes, students can use an iPad that they already own. It can be any model of Apple iPad which supports “Apple Pen”. If you buy an iPad for your child, consider buying one that does not have a sim card or, if it has one, then the card needs to be removed while the child is in school. 

The iPads will be used to engage students in a range of learning experiences, through the use of a variety of educational apps. It will be used as a tool for goal setting and reflection, researching, creating and collaboration, as well as allowing for connections to be made between home and school.

The school does not have any spare iPads for students. If you can not afford an iPad, for the school year 2021-22 only your child may bring another device like an Android tablet, or laptop but not a phone. From September 2022 students will only be allowed to use iPads registered in jamf.

Answer: Research has shown that effective use of technology can lead to improvements in student engagement and increased student engagement can lead to improvements in student outcomes.

The time that students spend on their iPad will vary from day to day. Students will be encouraged to use their iPad to support a range of learning experiences including collaboration, researching, creating, goal setting and reflection etc. Students will be encouraged to use their iPad “Anywhere, any time, but not all the time”.

Many of the applications are free and paid ones (which are bought by school) will be provided (pushed) by school if the iPad is registered to our JAMF server. If an iPad is not registered to our server, parents will be responsible for setting up an iTunes account and monitoring their child’s updates and purchases. When the school buys a subscription, all accounts need to be managed centrally, this being the reason why we cannot install apps on ipads not registered in jamf.

We have chosen to be an iPads school after a 2020 survey that showed, at that moment, 70% of our students owning an ipad. iPads are user friendly and there are plenty of outstanding educational apps for iPads. It is not heavy and the battery lasts for a whole day, therefore cases when a child needs to charge in school are minimised.

We have chosen iPads, as they are easier for students to transport and keep them charged. We have also considered the cost of the iPad vs cost of MacBook/laptop. 

We have purchased iPads for our staff through iStyle Romania. However, it is the parent’s decision as to where they would like to purchase their child’s iPad from.

Teachers at Avenor understand the importance of students needing to develop skills such as Handwriting, Reading and Writing without the support of technology. Through effective team planning, that is based on student learning needs, teachers will ensure that there is a balance between learning time spent on and off the iPad.

 It is ultimately up to parents to decide how much time they would like their child to spend on the iPad at home and what applications they are allowed to use.

 If the iPad is registered to our JAMF server, Avenor IT department will install the necessary applications (free or paid) remotely. If it is not registered, then students/parents will be given a list of the applications that need to be installed on the iPad for school use. It is up to parents to decide which apps they will allow their child to use at home. We recommend that parents categorise their child’s applications into ‘Home Use’ & ‘School Use’.

Students are responsible to keep their iPads secure and carry them with them during the school day. When they don’t use their device they keep it in their school bag. We recommend that all iPads have an appropriate cover to protect / reduce the chance of damage.

Students will be required to take their iPad home each day for charging. 

During the school day students will only be using their iPads when supervised by a teacher. Students will not be allowed to take their iPads outside during recess and lunch unless it is for a specific need, which would be in a supervised environment.

Students will only be allowed to use their iPad before and after school, if a parent supervises them. It will be up to parents to decide how their child’s iPad is managed at home.

Hybrid learning in 2020-2021

In our hybrid model, technology has transformed from an information transmission environment into a tool for connecting, collaborating and building learning.

When devices are used during class, they do not replace work tasks that can be done just as well offline – they are used for tasks where technology enhances learning and provides appropriate challenges, differentiation or customization.

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