How We Became a 1:1 Computing School

iPad 2 group test setup

CC licensed (BY-NC) via Arne Kuilman’s flickr photostream

We did it! We are now 1:1 from Kindergarten to grade 12. Grade 8-12 has been 1:1 laptops for the past few years and our lower school has now joined the ranks! We are very pleased with how well everything has worked and how much it has made accessing technology easier in the classroom. I think that our success was, in large part due to the fact that we moved so slowly.

2009-2010

  • We had 4 desktops in every classroom, 2 computer labs, 2 carts of laptops and a class set of desktops in the Library.
  • A teacher survey revealed a desire for better access to technology because booking labs was challenging due to demand and the need for movement to another classroom.

2010-2011

  • We purchased 2 additional laptop carts to try to meet the needs of teachers.
  • The Primary School (K-5) received a donation of 6 iPads and decided to move them from room to room in K-5 to give everyone a chance to try them out for a month
  • We held a PD Session presented by Apple with all K-7 teachers to explore what iPads could do.
  • A document entitled The Role of ICT in the PYP was released by the International Baccalaureate Organization that provided guidance about what should be taught, how it should be taught and the recommendation that schools develop an ICT Policy to come to agreement about their approach

2011-12

  • A third cart of laptops was added to meet demand
  • We purchased additional iPads so that we had four sets of 6. They continued to be rotated to each K-5 classroom for about 3 months each to give teacher more of an opportunity to try them out.
  • With our lease renewal looming, we consulted with a Teacher Focus Group to determine the best configuration for our new computers when our lease would need to be renewed (in 2013-14). They determined that the following would meet their demands:
    • laptops 4-12
    • Grade 3 a mixture of laptops and iPads
    • iPads K-2
  • We then formed sub-committees to work out details of:
    • Student and Teacher Support
    • Facilities
    • Care and Control
    • Communication and Parent Support
  • We visited schools to see how iPads were being used
  • As ICT Integrator, I attended an IB workshop, The Role of ICT in the PYP,  and learned about a process to develop an ICT Policy document. We started by gathering teacher input about the questions that they would like our ICT Policy document to answer.

2012-13

  • We consulted with a Parent Focus Group, representing a cross-section of our community, to share our ideas and learn about their concerns
  • We consulted with Student Focus Groups (SK-3, 4-5 and 6-7) to plan rules and grade 5 licensing programme
  • We trialled the mac Airs with students and teachers
  • We trialled an always-on bag with students and teachers
  • A set of 6 iPads remained in each K-3 classroom all year
  • I attended the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Atlanta together with 3 Primary teachers (which, incendally, was fantastic!)
  • Teachers provided answers they thought would be “awesome” in response the questions they had posed the previous year about how we should approach ICT

Summer 2013

  • We turned an old storage room into a HelpDesk for IT
  • We turned the old computer labs into regular classrooms
  • We removed half of the desktops from the library
  • We removed the desktops from the grade 4-7 classrooms
  • We built storage cabinets for grade 5 and music classrooms
  • We trialled iPad syncing
  • The “awesome” responses from teachers were collated into a vision, guiding principles, practices and responsibilities as our ICT Philosophy document

2013-14

The Rollout

Because the grade 6-7 students would be taking their laptops home, the first few days of school were very busy!

  • Day 1: we met with each grade 6-7 class for 30 minutes to go over our revised Acceptable Use Policy
  • Day 2: we met with each grade 6-7 class for 60 minutes  to ensure they could all log in, access the wireless network, understand how to access their calendar and record homework assignments

The students were so excited – for the first time as a teacher, I actually received several standing ovations! Some students were interested in the specs of the devices, several students were concerned that they already had movies, music, etc. on other devices that are pirated (yeah – they learned something the the AUP lesson!) and others worried because they had previously signed up for accounts even though they were not yet 13 years old… There was already a lot of learning about responsible digital citizenship!

Pleasant Surprises

We spent years preparing for this and everything went extremely well. We previously had a lot of computers in the school and didn’t expect to see major changes in the classroom. However, teachers have really taken to using the electronic tools available and are using the laptops more than we imagined they would.

The iPads have been a very seamless addition to the Primary classes and a huge success! We have had every ICT class using the iPads and, despite some teacher hesitation last year, no one has missed having a computer lab. We have used the iPads to do work that is linked to their classroom content and learned skills that can be easily transferred to other content areas.

Continuing Challenges

We have had more cracked screens in grade 6-7 than we anticipated. We trialled the mac Airs with teachers and students last year and had no issues but apparently 11-13 year old boys are harder on their devices than our test- subjects! We are working on possible solutions (including hard cases)…

In grade 3 the teachers thought that we needed laptops but we haven’t touched them yet this year. So far we have only used the iPads. We are wondering whether we should return the laptops and get iPads for all students. This would also alleviate the challenges of shared iPads in grade 3. We’ll see!

My advice to anyone venturing down this path would be: take it slowly and consult widely.

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