Saturday, February 18, 2017

One to One Laptop Program - Eleven Years Later

Much of what I am about to write are not my original ideas, I have no ownership over any of this. My hopes are that these ideas help you. No matter what I am about to say, if the technology does not disappear for teachers to teach content, none of this means anything. Technology has to work well, all the time for schools to be successful with a one to one laptop program.

I have been fortunate to work with some of the best in the "biz" when it comes to Ed. Tech. I have the privilege of collaborating on a daily basis with Mary Beth Hertz. And most recently Meri Martin has joined the SLA school network and I get to work with her too. Without these ladies, and all of the professionals that make up SLA schools and Ed. Tech./IT at SDP (School District of Philadelphia), none of this would be possible.

Some background: I am the founding Technology Coordinator for Science Leadership Academy (SLA) Center City Campus. We have had a one to one laptop program since 2006. SLA Beeber Campus (est. 2013), and SLA Middle School (est. 2016) both opened with a one to one program.

How does SLA do one to one?
The easiest way to answer this question is to tell you the schedule.
September - first day of school - 375 laptops are rolled out in under 20 minutes, to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. This is done by my advisory with 18 laptop carts. Usernames and pass codes (u/n & p/c) are handed out to all grades. I keep a Google Spreadsheet for advisors to refer to and hand out cut paper in envelopes with the u/n & p/c on them (to be disposed of later). I create a step sheet for teachers for this entire roll out. 
October - first week, first advisory - 125 laptops are rolled out to 9th graders, with a ton of support. They spend two marking periods in a technology ethics/SLA 101 course. They record and sign a "Custody Sign-Off" Sheet. They are asked to record their serial number, u/n & p/c for each login, for their personal records. I always suggest a contact in the student's cell phone. I create another step sheet for teachers for this entire roll out. 
June - Students turn in laptops in advisory. They are placed in carts and are returned to TechWorks. I prepare a step sheet each year for advisors and advertise with posters all over the school the date that this will happen. I prepare stickers for both the students laptop and charger. Chargers are placed in a box that no one goes into until school starts again. Laptop stickers are organized by color. One color for advisory and one color for graduation year. Teachers also have a step sheet for this process and my advisees help them accomplish this.
July/August - Laptops are assessed, fixed, cleaned. New laptops are ordered for incoming students. The new laptops are received and Enterprised for October rollout. The easiest way to do this that I have found so far is with Chrome Gopher and a bar code scanner. 

Every student is paired with a machine. The student is expected, to collaborate with TechWorks, to maintain the machine. There is a loaner system for repairs and the student always gets the same machine back. (Unless, of course, it is a total loss)

I am assisted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays by our Technician. We coordinate the break/fix and warranty repairs for all of the laptops, desktops, projectors, interactive boards, printers, onsite WiFi. As well as any other technology teachers/staff/students are using in the building. And yes, this can sometimes mean personal technology too. Students who choose to bring in their own laptops have limited access to TechWorks and other school laptop resources.

What makes one to one easier? 
The shortest answer is common language/common experience. Every teacher in every class is saying the same thing to students. The common experience is advisory, the advisors/advisories work together to make the impossible, possible. Students have the same rubric structure for each class and they have essential questions for each grade.

How many people do you have to help?
The entire school is committed to the one to one program, everyone helps me. Specifically for break/fix, it is me and a three day a week technician. This is a small school so we have limited resources. The total breakdown looks like this - Co-principals, one secretary, one college counselor, one emotional counselor, one program coordinator, one nurse,  one school police officer, twenty-six teachers, and 500 students.

What is the hardest part, what problems do you run into?
This question always stumps me, I know there are problems, but I never dwell on them, so I never have a quick answer.  If unsolved problems for users don't keep you up at night, this is not the job for you. You have to enjoy constantly solving problems and not let constantly thinking about them disrupt your wellbeing.

What tools do you use?
A list is to the right side on the blog website called "SLA Tools List".

Does the school have an acceptable use policy?
I teach three acceptable use policies in my classroom. SLA's, School District of Philadelphia's and The Franklin Institute's internet policy. I also like to point out and share policies from colleges and universities.

Science Leadership's AUP - this is a "living" document.
School District of Philadelphia's AUP

What is the filter on your network?
All of this is maintained by the School District of Philadelphia.
"Since 2001, the School District of Philadelphia has been required under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to maintain a filtering system that reasonably prevents both students and staff from accessing inappropriate websites and Internet content. While the filtering system does proactively try to prevent access to inappropriate websites and Internet content, the District has learned that modifications and exceptions are sometimes needed and are best identified by those using the Internet in an educational setting.
For this reason, the District has developed an on-line Internet filtering exception application which provides school-based instructional and administrative staff with the ability to request modifications or exceptions to the School District of Philadelphia's Internet filtering system. These requests are reviewed by an Internet Technology Filtering Committee (ITFC). Chat messaging services as a category are blocked. However, there is a list of exceptions for chat services that have been reviewed and approved by the ITFC. The approved chat services have been deemed appropriate for the educational environment and a valuable tool to support the District's instructional mission.
With the ever changing face of the Internet, the on-line Internet filtering exception application enables District employees to submit sites that need to be reviewed and either blocked or unblocked based on such essential criteria as the safety of students and/or staff, appropriateness in the classroom, alignment to the District's instructional mission, and the security of the District's technology environment."

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