What is 1:1 Technology?

What is 1:1 Technology?
Posted on 08/02/2017

In less than a month school will be back in session and the school district’s 1:1 M-Powered Learning Initiative will be underway.  During the 2017-2018 school year, each student in grades 6-12 will be issued an individual district-owned Chromebook to be used at school and home for educational purposes. Previously, the school district offered students computing devices at a ratio of approximately one device for every 1.5 students, but the shared devices were only accessible at limited times during the school day.

While there will likely be some concerns and difficulties that the school district will need to work through with this new initiative, it is anticipated that the value and potential benefits of providing all students with a device is well worth any problems that will be encountered.  According to an overview prepared by the school district’s technology department, it is expected that this initiative will provide the access needed to reliably integrate technology tools for facilitating quality learning experiences, while helping to engage students in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

An introductory video and a wealth of other information about the 1:1 initiative is available on the school district website (www.tinyurl.com/sdmampower), but a few of the basic questions and answers for the program include:

  • What is a Chromebook?  A Chromebook is like a laptop, but instead of having Windows or iOS operating systems, it runs on the Google Chrome web browser. Through Chrome, students can type documents, use spreadsheets, create presentations and more. They can access all of their work from any computer that connects to the Internet.

  • What if students do not have Internet access at home?  Offline access is available for Google Drive and Apps including Docs, Slides, and Sheets. The public library and many area businesses offer free wifi access. The district will be collecting data on home access and exploring options to help meet student needs.

  • Will the content available on the devices be filtered?  Yes, district-devices will be filtered/monitored at all times--even offsite. To comply with the federal CIPA law, public school districts must take steps to prevent students from accessing pornographic materials while using district connectivity or equipment. CIPA compliance is required on all school district devices, whether they are in use at school or elsewhere. These devices are the property of the school district, no matter when the device is being used. The primary purpose of the device is for usage in applications, communications, and websites that support our educational goals. Recreational Internet use is a “side benefit” that is allowable as long as it does not conflict with school and district policies and expectations.

  • How much does a Chromebook cost?  The district was able to purchase Chromebooks utilizing a portion of the existing technology budget that had been previously designated for a device lease that recently expired.  The HP Chromebook 11 G5 EE has a replacement cost of approximately $217. While this is a greater cost than most other school supplies, it is very comparable to the cost of several student textbooks.  The school district is also offering families an insurance program for devices that only costs $25 per year.

  • What is the expected battery life of a Chromebook?   Chromebooks have a rated battery life of 13 hours, but it will be expected that students charge them each evening to ensure maximum performance during the school day.

  • What are the expectations for Chromebook use at school?   Students are expected to bring their Chromebooks fully charged to school daily. Students who forget their Chromebooks at home will need to checkout a loaner device from the school library. Similar to textbooks and other school supplies, failing to bring a charged Chromebook to class may result in consequences for being unprepared.

Should school families or community stakeholders have any questions about the 1:1 technology initiative in the School District of the Menomonie Area , I invite you to visit me at the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (www.sdmaonline.com), and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sdmaonline) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/menomonie.schools)

*Thank you to SDMA Technology Team and Director of Technology Services Katie Krueger for contributing to this article.