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Getting the Most Out of Your 1:1 Ed Tech Program

Posted by The LearnBop Team

Mar 3, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Since the late 1990s, one-to-one (1:1) computing has been sporadically implemented in classrooms around the globe.

Offering the benefits of equal access, easy upgrades, simple networking, standardization, and the ability for teachers to more easily monitor student progress and online behavior, 1:1 ed tech programs have played and will continue to play a major role in education policy.

Of course, a 1:1 ed tech program may require substantial institutional investment. Without proper implementation, training, software licensing, monitoring, security, upgrades, and maintenance, a 1:1 program might not be nearly as successful as originally intended.

Want to learn about a handful of school districts who are doing it right?

Check out the 5 districts below:

1. Leyden High School District 212, Illinois

Leyden High School District 212 is now in its third year of being fully 1:1 with all 3,400 of their students getting issued Dell Chromebooks. The school district has shared its story with thousands of educators around the country through site visits, 3-day 1:1 symposiums, webinars, and conference participation.

leydenhighschooldistrict212

Technology Director Bryan Weinert chronicles his district's 1:1 program on a dedicated 1:1 at Leyden page. There you'll find his technology policy, a Chromebook Procedures and Information form, a Chromebook Agreement and Signature Form, and much more.

Kudos to Bryan and his team for publishing so much helpful content for other educators to find!

2. Barbers Hill Independent School District, Texas

Just a few weeks ago, Barbers Hill Independent School District’s technology director Katie Russell led a session at the Texas Computer Education Association 2015 Convention and Exposition where she shared her district's "surprising, tradition-shirking journey" when it decided to upgrade its student notebooks to Acer Chromebooks.

barbershillindependentschooldistrict

Since 2004, the southeast Texas district had used a traditional one-to-one notebook policy, allowing students to take the devices home. But by 2012, the equipment was aging and in need of an upgrade. Before making immediate plans to purchase new devices, the district gathered data by surveying students about their computer needs and habits.

To learn about how Barbers Hill Independent School District turned their program around, check out this article from EdTech magazine.

3. Lower Merion School District, Pennsylvania

A lot of schools and districts have a multitide of questions when it comes to setting up a 1:1 program for their students. Lower Merion School District has a great FAQ page for their 1:1 laptop program.

lowermerionschooldistrict

Questions include:

  • Will there be training for parents?
  • What are the goals for this initiative?
  • How will this initiative be evaluated?

To read the answers, check out the FAQ page here. Great inspiration for fellow educators!

4. Kent School District, Washington 

The technology programs in the Kent School District are supported by the state-funded Replacement Technology Levy, which provides $7-$8 million. Since 2004, the district has used these funds to equalize students’ access to technology, when school leaders launched a pilot one-to-one notebook program at the Kent Technology Academy.

kentschooldistrict

The program has since been expanded to include every student in the district, starting in seventh grade. In fall 2014, more than 11,000 notebooks were distributed, according to the district.

Kent is not a wealthy area. According to district statistics, more than half of the district’s students participate in the free or reduced lunch program.

To address the lack of wireless access away from school grounds, the district has been distributing digital kiosks that resemble ATM machines throughout the community. These kiosks are equipped with touch-screen computers and double as wireless hotspots for areas that don’t otherwise have wireless Internet connections.

To learn more about these kiosks and what Kent School District is doing with local businesses and Internet service providers to keep costs low, read this EdTech magazine article here.

5. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), North Carolina

Using funding from the federal government's Race to the Top program, Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools (CMS) in North Carolina is almost finished rolling out 30,000 Chromebooks to its students.

charlotte-mecklenburg-schools

This initiative caps two years of efforts to connect district classrooms to the internet. In August 2014, CMS finished bringing Wi-Fi to every mobile classroom. The district has also bought digital textbooks in science and social studies classes.

Starting in January 2014, principals have enforced a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy, where students are allowed to bring their own tablets and smartphones from home into the classroom.

CMS gets its Chromebooks at a special price of $220. Not all the Chromebooks are covered by the Race to the Top federal grant dollars. Remaining costs will be paid for with county monet in the CMS budget.

Students do not take the Chromebooks home. In most cases, the children pick up the computers at the beginning of school, carry them throughout the day, and turn them in for recharging before heading home.

In some schools, each room has a cart full of them that the middle school students pick from as they get to their core classes.

Source: Charlotte Observer

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