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Catherine Hiltz

I think the best way to go is laptops for everyone. I had to create a technology plan for one of my grad classes last spring, and I felt very strongly in easy accesss, not just accessibility, but easy access. I purchased my own laptop about two years ago, and it's been the best investment. It is light and I take it everywhere. Time is a real issue and it is often the one that is insurmountable.

My tech plan included wireless classroom laptops on moveable carts, and laptops for each teacher. Each teacher had to pay a portion of the laptop; I think it was $200.00, non-refundable, and if the teacher stayed with the school division for three years, the laptop became the teacher's property. This may help the fear factor, because teachers may feel far more ownership in learning to utilize the tech.

Our school division purchased laptops for our administrators. I think I have only taken it out of my office twice, because it is much larger and heavier compared with my own. The type and size might also be a thought worth considering.

knobloch

I favor giving every teacher a laptop. But with the laptop has to come accountability. The message has to be technology is no longer optional. We expect everyone to move forward. What will your technology goal be this year?

My fear is that if every teacher is given a laptop with no accountability, the teacher may opt not to use it or not use it any differently than the desktop they currently have. In that case, I would rather put more computers in the hands of the students.

I am an administrator in Jeff's school. Our BHAG is stated in our vision, "by 2012 we will be one of the leading school's in Asia and the world". Technology by itself will not make us a leading school, but we cannot call ourselves a leading school in 2012 if we do not embrace technology.

Barbara

Thanks for your comment Catherine and Jeff's administrator!

I agree with the accountability issue. Laptops without expectations and training are useless. I also think the issue of easy access is part of the equation. ( Catherine I like the ownership concept too...helps create buy in)

In our school community it is also about evening the playing field because some teachers have laptops and others have seriously outdated desktops which limits their productivity and inclination to try.
One of the greatest ways I have found to help my staff become comfortable with technology is the gift of time. They have very little prep time each week so I set aside faculty meeting time to play in the "technology sandbox".

I appreciate your BHAG it is impressive. I agree that technology is not optional and that as you have alluded it is one of our tools in the pursuit of excellence. What would you consider to be the essential elements of a "leading school" in 20012?

Scott McLeod

I sort of blogged about this issue a while back:

http://snipurl.com/1d26i

It's a difficult dilemma. I'm not sure there are any easy answers. Obviously most of this is very context-dependent...

knobloch

Our administrative team decided our strategy and therefore how to spend the money.

We will purchase 36 sets of laptop carts with ten computers each. 6 sets of ten will go to each of the six schools (Elementary, Middle, and High on two campuses).

We will purchase laptops for about 40% of our teachers. They will have to apply to receive one.

36 classrooms will get Smartboards. Again, teachers will need to apply and show how they will use it to affect student learning.

We will purchase and mount as many LCD projectors as possible. We think we can use leftover money from this year's budget for about 80% of our classrooms.

We have $70,000 to spend on professional development over the next year plus. In addition, we will have four full-time Technology Resource Facilitators (TRF), two per campus, to help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum and classrooms. Jeff Utecht, mentioned in the original post, will be one of our TRF's.

Alan Knobloch

Scott McLeod

Alan, do you think a structural strategy such as yours sends an implicit message to teachers that using technology is optional (i.e., that you can apply for some if you want but otherwise don't worry about it)?

Alan Knobloch

Scott,

We do not worry about the implicit message as at the last faculty meeting I visually and verbally sent the message that technology is no longer optional. I informed my faculty that my expectations is that they will take, at least, one step forward next year with technology. If they have never used it in their classroom, they will need to use it once per semester. If they use it once per semester, they will need to use it once per quarter and so on.

We know we are buying almost 500 laptops next year. We felt it was important to make a large number of those available for student use. Our plan is to capitalize on those who want the laptop in year one by preparing them to be tech buddies for the rest of the staff in year two when everyone will have a laptop.

Alan

Barbara

There has been an ongoing discussion on Clay Burell’s blog regarding moving to a 1;1 environment. Today there is a link to a school website which about that schools move to 1:1. The site is meant to communicate with the parent community about the transition and answer questions. It is worth taking a look.

http://knowledge.as.edu.au/Welcome.html

Clay's blog: http://burell.blogspot.com/2007/03/call-for-crowd-wisdom-planning-for-11.html

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