The 2010-2011 school year will be the first year that all students at my school will be required to bring a laptop to school each day. I'm excited about the model that we've selected because we are not mandating that students purchase a particular model nor are we mandating that they purchase software at this point. Students may use laptops that they already own, which is great as 60-70% of our students already own a laptop (see our 1:1 FAQ doc for the complete details on our plan-we also have some of our work posted at our 1:1 planning site).
The model that we selected gives individuals the element of choice, which I think will lead to some innovativation in and of itself. For example, some kid might choose to purchase a low cost netbook, which leaves extra money available to purchase an eReader and an inexpensive video camera. It also prevents us from locking into a particular platform and model so that when a new innovation comes out (eg, the apple tablet/eReader), we're able to consider integrating this new technology.
A thread about 1:1 learning recently circulated around the California Independent Schools Listserve (of which I'm not a member) and our head of school, Joan Lonergan, responded to a question from one school leader about our 1:1 learning plans. Joan shared her reply with me and I thought she absolutely hit the nail on the head in her description of our 1:1 learning model that we'll be deploying next year. So I asked Joan if I could republish her excellent work in this space and she obliged. Joan's answers follow and any comments that I added are highlighted below in orange.
Q: Do you have any WRITTEN policies I could review? Contracts with parents?
A: None. We have said we are initiating a 1:1 device program, issued some minimum specs that are desirable for all devices to be used in classes, and said we will support both Macs and PCs on minor repairs in school and provide low end loaners while families take care of major repairs. We have predominantly Apple platform here and an Apple store downtown so we think this will work. We already have a large majority of our students bringing computers of some sort to school with no issues about service, etc. We are now looking at infrastructure issues to make sure we have wireless and electrical capacity campus wide.
Q: What to do is computer is lost, stolen or broken?
A: We have loaners (for loaners we are using low cost, yet powerful HP 5101 10.1" Netbook computers running the Ubuntu Netbook remix-all software is free and open source)
Q: Who purchases the computer?
A: families independently, not through school
Q: Controls on what is downloaded on the computer?
A: We have a minimum expectation of software and applications should be on all student computers, but we are making a very conscious effort to use as much open source software as possible.
Q: Anything else you considered as you made this decision??
A: We have considered every option to be a 1:1 school and opted for the easiest for us and the least restrictive for our families. We are piloting this second semester so will have more to share in June. Matt Montagne is our Academic Tech person whom I have copied. You might want to touch base with him in a few months.