Beyond the Hardware

1/28/2014 7:00:00 PM

In the November 2013 issue of Tech & Learning, we asked districts around the country why they chose certain devices for their 1:1 initiatives. In this follow-up feature, we ask other districts to dive deeper into what makes a successful 1:1 and BYOD initiative. Which policies and procedures need rethinking? How do you keep these expensive programs going? Four districts share their stories below.

You can watch their archived panel discussion from Tech Forum California at livestream.com/techlearning

Los Angeles Unified School District

By Ronald S. Chandler, Chief Information Officer, and Dr. Themistocles Sparangis, Chief Technology Director, IT Customer Services

We are at the beginning of our 1:1 program. The LAUSD 1:1 program is better described as an initiative to transform teaching and learning by focusing on the new Common Core State Standards, and implementing the necessary resources and professional development to increase student achievement for all LAUSD students.

As part of the “Common Core Technology Project” (CCTP ), we have implemented tablets (iPads) with instructional apps (from Pearson) preloaded in the preliminary and first phases in roughly 50 schools. With the recent approval of phase two, and as this program grows, we are expecting that there will be multiple approved devices and a wide range of instructional materials. This recent approval is a significant expansion of CCTP which will provide the technology needed to all schools to accommodate the new Smarter Balance computer adaptive test as well as increase localized support. This LAUSD Board approval has effectively made the CCTP the largest 1:1 deployment, to date, in the nation.

We are setting up our network infrastructure to accommodate a one-to-many device deployment. This will likely will be a combination of district-issued and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD ) scenarios. We do not currently have a BYOD program in place, but recognize the need to be strategically prepared for this, both from a policy and a technical perspective. Our plan is to continually phase in schools every six months until all schools are part of the CCTP .

We see the following strategies as key to a large-scale 1:1 initiative:

■ Build a cross-functional interdepartmental team to address all issues, including procurement, policy, facilities, technology, security, operational management, etc.
■ Implement a mobile device management strategy that can accommodate a large implementation.
■ Secure support for the program across stakeholders to support funding.
■ Implement budgetary mechanisms for the replacement of outdated devices.
■ Create policies around good digital citizenship.
■ Move away from “acceptable use” and towards “responsible use” policies.

The evolution of our project will be in the preparation for the unknown, especially from an infrastructure perspective. We believe that CCTP , the new Common Core State Standards, and the District’s autonomous schools initiative (which gives greater autonomy to local school communities) all will play a role over the next five years in creating new operational models to sustain CCTP.

Tustin Unified School District

Crystal Turner, Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services and Robert Craven, Senior Director, IT

Our 1:1 rollout encompasses supplying students in grades 5-8 with iPads and a ClamCase keyboard. Students in grades 9-12 will be issued laptops. In grades K-2, we are issuing one iPad mini for every three teachers, and for grades 3-4 one full-size iPad with keyboard case will be available for every three students. This initiative covers all 24,000 students in our district.

The project is being phased in over the course of this school year. In addition, classrooms are being updated with new projectors, Apple TVs, interactive whiteboards, voice amplification systems, new teacher computers, and an iPad for each teacher. A Cisco access point covers each classroom. We are currently adding additional access points to in-demand areas. Students are also permitted to bring their own devices to campus. While we aren’t seeing enormous utilization of this, there is certainly growing interest.

In 10 weeks, we’ve gone from supporting 500 devices distributed in small pilots at the high school to distributing more than 3,000 devices. Supporting these devices with this brisk pace of distribution is an ongoing challenge. Here are some strategies we used to ensure this was a success:

■ For PD, we hired 13 digital literacy coaches who work with 5-7 teachers each on deep levels of technology integration. This model has had a great impact in the classroom. We expect to see the value of the work of our digital coaches increase as the teachers they work with begin to take leadership positions within the district and guide other teachers on the use of technology within the classroom.
■ We used communications tools to involve our families and community in the planning of this initiative, garner their support, and assist in moderating expectations. The result? This community helped Tustin secure a 25-year bond that will fund these technology upgrades on an ongoing basis every five years. The bond includes another $5 million dollars available every five years for technology integration.
■ We recognize that instruction is going to change dramatically over these next five years as students move up through the grade levels with better skill sets and teachers finetune instruction to move to greater levels of technology integration. We follow the SMAR model for our PD efforts to prepare our teachers for these changes.
■ We are preparing for a near future with students using both their district-supplied device, as well as a device they bring from home. This is certainly going to have an impact on both our instruction and our infrastructure.
■ The rapid rollout was accomplished through extensive pre-planning by the technology department in collaboration with the district digital coaches, the curriculum department, maintenance department, and site leaders. It was essential that all departments, schools, and groups participated in the planning and deployment.

Saddleback Valley Unified School District [Mission Viejo, CA]

Michael Morrison, Chief Technology Officer

We call our 1:1 initiative “Door to the Core,” because we believe technology opens the door to the Common Core State Standards (www. doortothecore.org). We currently have about 6,000 iPads and iPods, and we recently added 1,500 Chromebooks in pilot classrooms.

The pilot Chromebook projects have gone very well. These devices have become a natural part of the class and the teachers have embraced the paperless workflow as well as designing lessons that are more engaging through technology. We intend to go to a 1:1 model in our 4th , 7th, and 10th-grade classes by October 2014. This will add an additional 7,000 Chromebooks to our district.

The four biggest challenges for the “Door to the Core” initiative are funding, sustainability, training, and infrastructure. Here are the ways that we are attempting to address these challenges:

■ We used CCSS monies to purchase the Chromebooks and secured commitments from our administration to add additional grade levels as we show success.
■ We garnered additional funding by cutting costs on toner and paper. These funds will go to support replacement costs and expansion of the project.
■ For PD, we plan to train 30 teachers each month. We will not leave a school until we have success for our training initiatives. We’ve committed 3-3.7 hour classified staff to assist and one teacher on special assignment. We’ve informed staff that if a particular school or set of schools needs more time we will push back all the other schools. The idea is that there will be No Teacher Left Behind in our rollout.
■ Teachers help build curriculum materials that we are distributing on Haiku sites. We also have about 6,900 students bringing their own devices to school. While our BYOD programs are still running strong, we find the programs that offer more direction to the parents have been more sustainable and affect education in a more powerful way.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District Costa Mesa, CA

Jenith Mishne, Director of Educational Technology

We are now in the fourth year of our largest 1:1 implementation. We rolled out 650 HP netbooks in grades 5 and 6 with a focus on improving writing across the curriculum, especially in science. We think the following steps were the keys to the success of this program:

■ For the first two years, we had a dedicated IT support person working with the edtech department and the teachers to support the implementation.
■ Before the rollout, we crafted a well thought-out plan that included objectives for both students and teachers.
■ We had specific metrics that would be used to measure the effectiveness of the program.
■ We provided ongoing and timely professional development for teachers as well as a coaching/ mentoring model in the classroom. However, despite all the PD, some teachers still struggle with making the paradigm shift needed to make the 1:1 program work in their classrooms.

For the first three years, ET and IT purchased replacement netbooks and kept the netbooks working, but we are now at a place where too many of them are breaking and we don’t have a good replacement model in place. We are now looking at replacing the netbooks with low-cost laptops and Chromebooks.

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