Media education & Media Use

Media education and media use are central pedagogical topics at our school. The teachers use a variety of media during classes in line with the contemporary teaching principles. Our main concern is the students’ development of competencies and their use of opportunities (IT literacy), while at the same time ensuring child and youth protection and the reduction of risks (eSafety).

In order to create the necessary preconditions, GISS will make large investments in the school’s IT infrastructure and will purchase new smartboards for the whole school and laptops for the Primary School in 2019/20. Parents support the “bring your own device policy“ from Year 7.

For 2020 we are planning to systematically develop the media education at the school through a series of measures while simultaneously regulating more clearly the use of electronic media including mobile phones on the school grounds. This is based on our pedagogical approach of holistic learning and an education in taking responsibility, as described in the new Teaching and Learning Framework. The fact that there are children aged three to 18 who live and learn together on the same campus must obviously be taken into consideration.

This has proven to be a great challenge, as this subject is quite complex and multi-faceted. There are many strong sensitivities, convictions and ideologies as well as discussions at school, at home, in research and in educational politics. We have consulted different sources, have received recommendations from the NSW government and have spoken with all stakeholders of the school community. Following are the results in a nutshell: 

Pedagogical measures for 2020

  • An IT curriculum for Years K to 6 will be developed and incorporated into teaching by all class teachers.
  • A mandatory touch-typing course will be put in place in Primary School (we will of course continue to write by hand during class).
  • A mandatory 2-hour course during one semester will be put in place for Year 7, where the students learn further competencies in IT literacy, upon which subject teaching will be built in the following years.
  • This course will be supported by senior secondary students, who, as part of an IB CAS project, will be trained as “cyberscouts”. These secondary students shall convey the subject of eSafety in particular, i.e. topics around data protection, personal rights, dangers on the internet, cyber bullying and addictive behaviour.
  • Additionally, the subject eSafety will be discussed in the class teacher periods at the beginning of the academic year and beyond as required.

Rules for personal electronic devices, especially mobile phones as well as school devices as of 18.11.2019

General
  • The use of electronic devices before and during school hours on the entire campus will be limited according to age of the students. The following regulations will apply.
  • In individual cases, medical or other reasons may justify the deviation of the named regulations. This decision will be taken either by the responsible teacher or the principal.
  • Personal hotspots, VPNs and similar technical facilities that circumvent the school network’s youth protection filter, or that hide the users’s identity are prohibited.
  • Regarding the use of electronic media, all students are equally responsible for the wellbeing of others, in particular of younger students.
  • The students may not use personal electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, smart watches etc.) anywhere on the campus (in- or outdoors) before and during school hours.
  • School devices (e.g. school tablets or laptops) may be used with permission from and under supervision of the class teacher or the librarian.
  • The students may not use personal electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, smart watches, tablets, laptops etc.) in the outdoor areas (school grounds, school yard) or in the common areas (assembly hall, reception, toilets etc.) before or during school hours.
  • The use of personal laptops (“bring your own device“) in class is expected for certain classes as advised by the teacher. For this, students have to ensure that the devices are brought to school fully charged and ready to use every day.
  • Personal mobile devices (phones, smart watches, tablets etc.) are not allowed during class, unless the teacher authorises this for eductional purposes.
  • The students may not use personal electronic devices in outdoor areas or in common areas before and during school hours.
  • They may, however, use these in the IB classrooms and in the IB student common areas (study centre, day room) also outside of lessons time.
  • While the use of pesonal laptops is required during class, mobile devices may only be used with the consent of the teacher.
  • No school laptops to be used by Years K to 2.
  • Year 3 may use the school laptops during the lunch break for writing exercises.
  • Years 4 to 6 may use the school laptops during the lunch break for educational purposes, sometimes, as an exception, also to play games.
  • Years 7 to 12  may use their personal electronic devices for educational and non-educational purposes (according to our ”Acceptable Use Policy“).
  • The librarian may impose restrictions as she/he sees fit.

Kindergarten to Year 6

  • The students may not use personal electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, smart watches etc.) anywhere on the campus (in- or outdoors) before and during school hours.
  • School devices (e.g. school tablets or laptops) may be used with permission from and under supervision of the class teacher or the librarian.

Years 7 to 10

  • The students may not use personal electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, smart watches, tablets, laptops etc.) in the outdoor areas (school grounds, school yard) or in the common areas (assembly hall, reception, toilets etc.) before or during school hours.
  • The use of personal laptops (“bring your own device“) in class is expected for certain classes as advised by the teacher. For this, students have to ensure that the devices are brought to school fully charged and ready to use every day.
  • Personal mobile devices (phones, smart watches, tablets etc.) are not allowed during class, unless the teacher authorises this for educational purposes.

Years 11 - 12

  • The students may not use personal electronic devices in outdoor areas or in common areas before and during school hours.
  • They may, however, use these in the IB classrooms and in the IB student common areas (study centre, day room) also outside of lessons time.
  • While the use of personal laptops is required during class, mobile devices may only be used with the consent of the teacher. 

Special regulations for the library (Supervision by the librarian)

Implementation

  • The new regulations are communicated through the Gutenberg Post on 15.11.19. They will also be explained to the secondary students in an assembly on 15.11.19 and to other age groups by their teachers. Parents with questions or comments are invited to a meeting with school management on Tuesday, 19.11.19 at 18:30 (before the PRC meeting) in the library. The regulations will take effect on 18.11.2019.
  • After a transition period of one week, mobile phones and other devices will be handed over to the Principal (or to Reception) if the regulations are breached. The devices may be picked up after school. Further measures will be taken for repeated or severe breaches of these regulations.
  • Our ”Acceptable Use Policy” will be amended according to the new regulations.

Overall, these regulations are to bring clarity and commitment to strengthen personal communication during the morning tea and lunch breaks, to limit risks while giving the older students more freedom and responsibility. Together with the new investments in the IT infrastructure and especially with the pedagogical components which will be implemented in the next school year, we are well placed to effectively further develop IT literacy and eSafety at GISS.

Lorenz Metzger, Principal