By Anita L’Enfant
If you’re beginning a 1:1 student laptop program in the next school year, now is the time to start planning. You will already have a clear vision of the program — the next step is to look at the logistics and support needed to achieve your goals. There are questions you can ask internal stakeholders now to learn which technology-related needs and concerns your school has. Once you’ve surveyed your stakeholders, you can work with an education services provider to tailor a 1:1 technology strategy using a holistic approach to meet your goals.
1. Do you currently have full-time IT support staff in your school?
Even in the most successful 1:1 technology rollouts, there are bound to be questions on device use and how to connect to the network. If you don’t have any IT support, teachers might approach more tech-savvy colleagues to solve their technology problems, costing these teachers time and productivity.
2. Are there policies for handling IT-related issues?
If you do have IT staff support or plan to hire some either internally or through an outsourced relationship, they can’t devote all their time to supporting technology in the classroom. Map out how much time and cost should be allocated to this type of support and describe in detail how both students and teachers can address any 1:1 technology issues.
3. Are there policies for using the devices inside and outside of school?
If there are already policies in place for using the Internet, computers and social media in your school, you can build off them to craft guidelines for new 1:1 technology in the classroom. Components can include appropriate use of technology in the classroom and outside it, protecting against cyber security issues and what to do in cases of device downtime inside the classroom.
4. How do you plan to integrate 1:1 technology into your curriculum?
Issuing 1:1 devices to students and teachers without providing learning around how educators can use the technology in the classroom, is a recipe for disaster. Discuss the needs, concerns and ideas of your teaching staff and engage an outside education services consultant for assistance in fully integrating 1:1 technology in the classroom.
5. Will you have a document workflow strategy with security, privacy and archiving procedures?
You’re about to have a lot more data flowing through your school with a 1:1 program. This includes both data stored and shared between devices and data printed on school printers. Security parameters and privacy controls must be in place so data isn’t compromised or accessed by the wrong individuals. For instance, you might want to impose a rule that teachers and students can’t use personal email on their devices when using the technology in the classroom. Also consider how you will store data that must be retained for a number of years and the costs of potential solutions.
6. How will you track performance on your technology investment?
Having metrics and a reporting structure in place is crucial to demonstrating the ROI of your 1:1 technology program. But even more important is actually knowing what you want to track from the beginning of the program. Are you looking to increase overall education outcomes, reading ability or math scores by using technology in the classroom? You’ll be able to find these answers by surveying all your internal stakeholders, including administrators and teachers.
7. How will you identify areas for improvement around technology within your school?
Your new 1:1 rollout should never be a Band-Aid for your school. The program will continually need to be optimised to produce the most successful use of technology in the classroom possible. Come up with a schedule and process for how often you will assess how your different 1:1 program components are performing for your school.
Establishing the national Professional Learning Services team at XciteLogic in 2009, Anita brings over 20 years teaching experience to Datacom’s Education services. She has taught most age groups — from kindergarten through to university lecturing — and has also assumed specialist teaching roles. Her previous teaching and consultancy roles, and current role with Datacom, has seen her work throughout Australia and internationally, teaching students, educating teachers and working at systems levels to help implement learning initiatives where teachers learn alongside their students in a technology-rich environment.