Modded One to One Proposal

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 15, 2016

    So, I am the tech dude at our school, and I've been thinking about proposing something to our principal, but I've kind of been afraid to until I've really thought it out and maybe done a little research.

    My proposal is this: one of our main issues with doing things completely digitally is that not everyone at our school has access to a computer or internet at home, due to low-income or other issues. Because of this, we wouldn't be able to do things like assign homework that requires a student to research something online, or access an online textbook. So I would like to make sure that 100% of our students have access to a device and internet at home by loaning them Chromebooks through our library if they need one (to keep through the year), and explicitly connect them with discount internet services, such as Comcast's 10 dollar a month internet service for families which qualify for free lunch.

    Here are some of the reasons why we should take this action. First off, the standards are changing all over the place, such as with the NGSS (which in middle school requires an integrated approach mixing physical, life, and earth science which makes our current textbooks useless because they were all kept separate) and Common Core. New textbooks are coming out. New textbooks will be EXPENSIVE. They can cost anywhere from 100 dollars to 300 dollars. We have four classes that use textbooks per student. That is 400 to 1200 dollars per student to replace textbooks. Even if we were to go one to one, where EVERY student were to get a Chromebook (not my proposal by the way, only for those who need it), Chromebooks only cost about 100 to 200 dollars, and they'd be able to use them for all four textbooks, so that would be much cheaper, even if we still had to purchase digital versions of textbooks (which due to reduced production costs are only about 50% the cost of the original textbook). Even so, many textbooks are now available online for free for many subjects such as the CK-12 textbook for math and science.

    English and Reading teachers can assign free or much cheaper novels through Google Play instantly. Also this removes the issue of these books getting damaged.

    Students could access their textbooks anywhere (doesn't have to be on their school provided device) there is an internet connection. They'd also be much much much lighter to carry and store.

    Teachers can gather materials they want to use online and share them to students seamlessly via Google Classroom or other LMS.

    Speaking of the boon for teachers, teachers spend obscene amounts of time in the copy room making copies for their classes or waiting in line for the copier. All materials and handouts that they make can be sent to students instantly via Google Classroom. This frees up more time for the teacher to make more effective lessons.

    Also students can have easier access to their teacher and their teacher has easier access to their students at any time of day. If there is an issue with an assignment or the teacher just wants to share a message, an announcement through Google Classroom reaches everyone in the class at home or on their phones. An assignment can be assigned at any time or edited at any time. Since ALL students will have access to a computer, any student can email their teacher at any time.

    Also we have an online system for tracking grades. Not all students can or know how to access it. With everyone having access to the internet, every student can keep track of their grade at any time in real-time instead of having to wait for their teacher to print out a progress report.

    Having cheap internet access will of course also benefit the rest of their family as well providing internet use and research for the older members of their family and allowing them to connect to teachers more easily.

    This really is about providing equal access for everyone. All students are going to grow up in an age where so much of what they need to succeed and survive (job applications, information about healthcare, pretty much anything) is online. We really owe it to them to provide them with essential education in this area, and the tools they need to access it.

    We don't have the money to go 1-to-1 (but we do have a LARGE pot of money to be used specifically for technology which might cover this plan), and I think trying to do a BYOD plan will just highlight the inequity we have in families with technology, but at the very least, we should provide the tools to those who really need it. What do you guys think?
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 16, 2016

    Yeah. Linux is pretty great. I used to use it to run a server. We don't have any old machines lying around though. Most older tech gets taken back by the district. For most of our teachers, the Chromebooks are the first portable educational tech they've seen in the classroom. I believe we only got projectors and ELMOs like a few years ago.
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jan 16, 2016

    We are a 1-1 district due to a huge grant, but what the tech people don't seem to get is that at least 25% of our families don't have Internet access.
    MS and HS students can take their Chromebooks home, but the district also bought nice carrying cases.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 16, 2016

    Your ideas are sound and could be a good solution.

    What are your plans for handling Chromebooks that are lost or damaged by the students?
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jan 16, 2016

    Would the school pay the 10 a month for the Internet or would the families be expected to pay that? I know 10 doesn't seem like much, but realize that some families still won't pay it.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 17, 2016

    Our school now has a student tech team devoted to repairing and troubleshooting tech problems run and trained by me. They can fix most common Chromebook issues. For those we can't fix, they either get repaired by our District supplier and if they're out of warranty, Chromebooks are so cheap, it's easy to replace them.

    We have a really large sum of measure C money. Right now what we're just using it for is replacing teacher projectors with ceiling mounted projectors, but we'll still have a ton left over and probably still more coming. Purchasing a few Chromebooks won't be too much of an issue or even the 10 dollars a month.

    We don't have an overly high percentage of students who qualify for free lunch so I don't expect to see too many take advantage of this. We'll definitely be able to provide for those who do, but still don't want to pay the 10 dollars a month.
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Jan 22, 2016

    I think it's a great idea and a strong proposal! Our district piloted 1:1 Chromebooks last year and this year switched to iPads. The Chromebooks were great, so easy to use, very few tech issues/glitches, and nearly indestructible. The district also provides MiFis for students who can't access high-speed Internet at home or who can't afford it (some of our students come from way out in a rural part of the county with no infrastructure). I say go for it!
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2016

    A lot of money given to schools is earmarked for specific things. Are you certain that money allocated for school technology would be able to be spent for family internet access at home? I would think that it would be difficult to get something like that approved at my school with all of our regulations and bureaucracy in place. Before you get too far along with your plan, you should verify that the money you have access to can actually be spent on what you want to spend it on.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 23, 2016

    I've never heard of MiFi's. Interesting. We're mostly urban/suburban, but it's good to know there are alternatives if they happen to live further out.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 23, 2016

    For internet access at home, I don't know for sure. I'm sure we could spend them on Chromebooks to check out though. Our principal is very resourceful and sometimes not always forthcoming with the district if she wants to do something she thinks is a good idea but doesn't want to run through district bureaucracy. She's very much a "it's better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission" type person. And I'm sure if she really liked the idea, she'd find a way to spin the proposal/purchases in a way that it meets the requirements of the money.

    I do know most of the money is slated for ensuring equal technology access for all, so it's likely that it will fit under that umbrella. I did tell her about it a few days ago, and she said it sounds intriguing, and she wants an official proposal from me.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 23, 2016

    This is a great idea. Even if the P doesn't go for it now, you have planted the seed. When it is more possible, the idea will happen because you planted that seed in your P's mind.
     
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  13. Merc

    Merc Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2016

    I say be cautious. I am a tech lead and history teacher in a district that has purchased thousands of chrimebooks. It's sounds great in theory, but it's actually a tremendous amount of work.

    For example, is your staff fully trained and willing to rebuild their curriculums to take advantage of the chromebooks? How many Google certified educators do you have? Does your staff understand the differences between Microsoft office and Google Docs? Do you know the cost of licensing content? Does your grade book run off Java (PowerSchool requires Java), because Chromebooks aren't Java compatible. Do you have a program to manage everyone's access?

    I am a huge proponent of one to one tech for students. But I hate the idea of buying a large amount of tech and not having a detailed plan to implement its use properly (I am not saying you don't have such a plan). Many districts buy technology only to find out their teachers don't have any idea how to use it to enhance learning.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 24, 2016

    Yeah. I'm similar. I'm the tech lead and computers/science teacher. I set up our school's Google Apps domain, created the accounts and manage access and filters, and oversaw the purchasing and installation of hundreds of Chromebooks. I've personally been training staff for a few years now and most all of them are fairly comfortable with Google Docs. Our grading system doesn't use Java (not that it would matter because the teachers use PCs for attendance and such anyway).

    Note that this isn't really a real one-to-one initiative. It's providing tech just for those who don't have access to it at home. I'm anticipating out of our school of about 700 students, that at most the number of families without access or the ability to get access would be around 50, but on average probably more like 10-20.
     
  15. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jan 24, 2016

    Have you thought about surveying all students to see who has technology at home and who doesn't? 10-20, or even 50 out of 700 seems low.

    My suburban school has close to 50 percent of students without access to usable technology at home. Some might have phones, but they're not going to type an essay on a phone.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 24, 2016

    A survey would be part of the initiative to find out exactly how many students need internet access, and I agree a phone would be unusable. I do have to admit that my number comes mostly just from talking to students, and that nearly every student I've talked to seems to have internet access. I don't have official numbers in this case.
     
  17. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Jan 24, 2016

    At my school, our 7th and 8th grade have a Chromebook assigned to them that stays at school. When they handed them out, it was last minute so there wasn't a real plan so it was a mess. Halfway through the year things are okay but not all problems are worked out. High school gets laptops assigned to them that they take home, etc. I have no idea how that works.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 3, 2016

    Yeah. I'm leery of doing a full 1 to 1 implementation. We'll see how this one works, since it should be smaller scale.

    I'm guessing at some point, we'll be going 1 to 1 as a district anyway, so I won't have to deal with that whole issue. That will be the district's problem.

    Anyway, my P received my proposal and said that it described her imagined ideal school environment. She sent it on to the assistant superintendent for our district and he said it sounded like a great idea too and gave us the green light. So we're going to be doing it next year starting with the survey. My P said there would probably be enough money to just buy the $10 internet connection outright for the families that need it, and we could always write a grant for more money (though we already have more than what we know to do with at the moment).
     
  19. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Feb 4, 2016

    Congrats!
     
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