To be consistent with the Bolivar R-1 District Mission Statement, Bolivar High School has an obligation to prepare students for an ever-changing world, one that sees technological advancements happening at a rapid rate. We believe that every student has a right to an education that prepares them for further education and future employment, and develops the skills that they must have as citizens of the 21st Century: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. We believe a 1:1 initiative can help ensure that every student in every class will have the opportunity to learn in an engaging environment reflective of the world that surrounds them.
In a 1:1 school, every student has a school-issued mobile device (laptop, iPad, Chromebook,etc) to use for learning. The students are allowed to take the device home daily unless parents elect to opt-out of this responsibility.
Since a project like this is a big decision, we think it is very important to consider all the benefits and potential problems. It’s important to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ and communicate clearly to ensure that everyone has the needed information.
While there are many reasons we believe 1:1 supports learning, it should be noted that providing devices should never be about the technology itself or the bells and whistles that technology can provide. Technology is a powerful tool that has the ability to be a game-changer and an accelerator of learning when it is used effectively. Below we have outlined some of the reasons 1:1 is being considered for BHS.
-To ensure that digital tools are available for learning and are not dependent on access such as being able to schedule a computer lab or a family’s ability to afford a device.
-The opportunity to collaborate with other students and teachers seamlessly.
-The ability for teachers to provide more timely and specific feedback for students.
-To increase the ability of students to write, edit, and revise with more timely feedback from teachers.
-To provide opportunities for teaching digital citizenship and developing a positive digital footprint.
-The opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning creatively with digital tools.
-Leveling the playing field for access to digital tools for learning.
-Affordability. Compared to laptops, iPads, etc., the Chromebook is an excellent value.
-Utility. Chromebooks provide the tools and access needed for learning efficiently.
-Device management. Chromebooks can be managed remotely by our staff, updates install automatically, and they don’t have to be reimaged.
-Security. Chromebooks aren’t vulnerable to viruses and hackers.
-Portability. Most work on a Chromebook can be done even when offline.
Frequently asked questions from our meetings with parents and students:
What happens if the Chromebook is lost, damaged, or stolen?
The school would likely create a self-insurance plan to manage loss. Students would pay an annual fee to insure the device. If the device was lost, damaged, or stolen, the student would pay a deductible amount but the remaining cost would be covered by the insurance plan.
Will 1:1 result in less teacher/student interaction, discussion, face-to-face communication?
Our vision for this program is that we will have a blended learning environment. The strategies that teachers use currently, such as direct instruction, conversations, project based learning, as well as many others will not be replaced because students have access to devices. Our expectation is that students will consistently have learning conversations in classrooms. We want to see oral communication increase and not decrease.
The devices would serve as a tool for instruction in the same way that a pencil, paper, or a textbook have been traditional tools. A connected device is just a very powerful tool that can be used effectively to support and even accelerate learning.
It is likely the devices would not be used in every class, every day. Teachers would not be required to meet quotas for use but would be encouraged to use the devices in ways they feel would add value to the learning experience. Teachers establish the learning environment in the classroom. There would be times the expectation from teachers would be that devices are put away.
Are there studies that show 1:1 increases student achievement? There have been mixed results in the literature on the effectiveness of 1:1 for increasing student achievement. Student achievement gains are possible if the devices are used effectively. Increases in student learning are more dependent on how the devices are used rather than merely the presence of the devices.
Some students don’t have internet access at home? How will the school address this?
We will have to be conscious of this as we ask students to use the devices outside of the school day. Some things, such as creating a presentation, or writing an essay can still be done using a Chromebook even when it is offline. It should be noted that BHS is open both before and after school so students could have access here outside of class. There are also a number of public wi-fi locations in Bolivar.
Can students opt-out of participating in the program?
Taking the device home would be optional. However, using the device in classes would be required. Students who opt-out would be required to pick-up the device each morning before classes and drop it off each day prior to leaving.
Is the cost of the program worth it?
This program can be initiated without an extraordinary increase in tech spending. The district spends to update, maintain, and acquire technology each year. In addition, there are some efficiencies to be gained in a 1:1 environment. Since computer labs would no longer be needed, the school gains valuable space. Desktop computers would no longer be needed at BHS, these devices could meet needs in other buildings in the district.
Will teachers receive professional development related to this program?
Teachers would receive professional development to help the program succeed. Beyond just using the device, learning would also focus on how to leverage the device in ways that will add value to instruction.
How will student privacy be protected?
Most of these concerns are related to cloud-computing and the use of Google Drive. According to Google’s user agreement, student accounts will not be subject to data mining or advertising.
What would the school do to ensure the devices are not a distraction and actually are used for learning?
Teachers would need to be aware of how students are using devices during class time. Inappropriate use of the devices would result in corrective actions.
What safeguards will protect against misuse of the device or inappropriate material?
Bolivar is in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and maintains a content filter and firewall for all Internet-enabled computers and equipment. User policies and acceptable use agreements would be established. It may also be possible to filter the device even when they are off-campus. Certainly, parents would retain the ability to set rules for use at home.