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How Wellesley College created a comprehensive cybersafety ecosystem as a Linewize Partner School

"Our goal is to protect every student from online harm while still allowing them to take advantage of the incredible possibilities the Internet has opened up. That’s why we partnered with Linewize." Wellesley College principal, Brendan Pitman

NZ-schoollogos-greybg-Wellesley-CollegeWellesley College, an independent day school for boys located in Wellington, New Zealand, faced a range of cyber-safety challenges in managing its extensive 1:1 program. Initially partnering with Linewize to provide content filtering on the school network, the College moved to a new level in its digital journey when it added Classwize, a set of tools that empowers teachers to monitor and manage in-class internet use. 

The Challenge

At Wellesley, excellence in teaching and learning has always been the key focus. In accordance with that commitment, learning devices have been introduced for a single, overarching purpose: to enhance the learning experience.

To that end, the College has provided each student in Years 1 to Year 4 with a device for use at school. Year 5 to 8 students participate in the College’s BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program. 

Aware that technology constitutes a key component in educating today’s children to take their place in an increasingly digital world, College decision-makers were nonetheless concerned about the risks and challenges of the online world for young learners. Furthermore, they were committed to tackling those challenges in a holistic way, with the support of the entire school community.

The digital landscape at Wellesley also includes a high penetration of personal mobile phones with 4G data plans - in other words, devices that don’t need to connect to the school network to access the internet.

Wisdom beyond the filter

The College initially partnered with Linewize to provide on-network content filtering. This ensured that any student device connected to the school network would be blocked from accessing distracting and/or inappropriate material - from gaming to social media to pornography. Furthermore, the system provided the school with valuable reporting on each individual student’s online behaviour - flagging inappropriate or concerning activity which supports pastoral care and disaster prevention efforts.

Linewize’s network filtering platform, School Manager, proved an effective way to keep learning devices protected during school hours. But with increasing classroom use of devices, new gaps in the cyber-safety net were identified.

"We are aware that students can experience challenges when using technology... we believe that learning to navigate the online world in a safe environment and with the appropriate support, will better prepare them to deal with any obstacles they may face in the future." Wellesley College principal, Brendan Pitman

Empowering teachers

Teachers were finding classroom internet activity more and more difficult to monitor and manage, as students wandered off-task during lessons. Keeping everyone on the same page - literally and figuratively - became a mounting challenge. 

The introduction of Classwize proved to be the ideal solution, giving teachers at-a-glance visibility of 
student screens and empowering them to manage classroom internet activity closely and carefully.

Impacting the community

But a final cyber-safety challenge remained: device use outside of school hours. Many students had a long bus ride to and from school each day, and some were using the time to go online on their phone’s unfiltered 3/4G networks, and to share or even buy and sell data.

Once on the school grounds, hotspotting from students’ personal cell phones - and thereby bypassing the school network and the school’s filtering policy entirely - was becoming an increasing threat to digital safety
and wellbeing.

In the words of Veronica Stevens, deputy principal for teaching and learning, 

“Linewize solved the problem.”

An app that allows all student devices to be filtered appropriately on any network, anywhere, Linewize also gave Wellesley parents the opportunity to get onboard with the College’s cyber safety initiative. 

And they did so in remarkable numbers. 

"We take pride in providing filtered software that restricts access to certain sites and applications when connected to the school domain. Our partnership between home and school, through the use of Linewize, ensures a safe platform when students are accessing the internet through external connections." Brendan Pitman, Principal

The outcomes

With guidance and training from Linewize Education staff, and additional support from the Linewize cyber experts at ySafe, the College achieved a community penetration rate of 98%, as nearly every family activated a specially created account to protect their children’s devices outside of school hours. 

With its three-tiered approach to cyber safety encompassing the School Manager suite of network-based tools, Classwize for granular control of classroom internet, and Linewize, for keeping devices protected on any network - Wellesley College has achieved the gold standard in ensuring the digital health and wellbeing of every student in its care.

"... the completion of this three-tiered program would not have been possible without the ongoing support of Linewize staff.. students can enjoy the benefits that come with responsible, safe and filtered online access, whether they are at school, home, on a school trip or camp, at a friend’s house and anywhere in between."  Veronica Stevens, Deputy Principal

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