Friday, August 29, 2014

1:1 Rollout End of Week 2

We are almost done with our second week of Chromebook deployment. By the end of today we will have approximately 1,101 Chromebooks in the hands of our students. The deployment has gone fairly smoothly. Students needed to submit a user agreements and pay a technology fee before a Chromebook was issued. We had a cut off of August 15 to get the Chromebook the week of August 19 and a cut off of August 22 to get the Chromebook this week. The Chromebooks were sorted by Advisory teacher and handed out in Advisory (similar to a homeroom). Not everyone's fees and paperwork got recorded properly so IT ended up passing out some Chromebooks individually this week. But all and all, we feel our staggered deployment was successful. We have about 189 students left to pick up a Chromebook. So starting next week as soon as a student submits his or her user agreement and pays the technology fee, they will be issued a Chromebook. We will be doing this on an individual basis rather than doing another mass Advisory deployment since we have so few Chromebooks left to distribute.

This week, we created a troubleshooting flowchart for our teachers. Teachers were sending students to IT and to me for every little issue that came up. In reality, most issues with Chromebooks can be handled with a restart. We are funneling all Chromebook issues through our library. Library personnel have a fix it ticket to fill out when a student comes in with a Chromebook that is damaged or not functioning. The fix it ticket is a Google Form that when submitted goes to IT. All repairs are assessed a fee and the student must pay the fee before they will receive their repaired device. We have had to replace screens, hinges, keys, keyboards. A few issues have been sent in for warranty work but most devices have been repaired by IT.

In retrospect, we should have instructed students to physically examine the Chromebook the day they received it and immediately report any damage to the library. As it is, we are getting students who are saying the machine was damaged when they received it and they waited two weeks to report the damage. True or not, we can't be sure. So we are fixing the device and in most instances, charging a fee for repair.

At the end of week two we have learned a lot. I'm sure we still have much more to learn. I hope now that the deployment is mostly over, I can get into teachers' classrooms and start helping them take advantage of the device that students have. It is an exciting time for Norfolk Senior High!

Friday, August 22, 2014

1:1 Rollout End of Week 1

Yowza! I cannot think of a busier, crazier start to a school year in my 20+ year career! We are one week in to our Chromebook 1:1 deployment. I've decided to share some of my thoughts on how things have gone so far.

I don't think there is any one right way to do a 1:1 deployment. You just have to make a plan and power through it. Deal with things that come up but keep going. We decided to do our deployment after school had started and been in session a few days. For any student who had their Chromebook agreement paperwork turned in and fee paid by Friday of last week, they received their Chromebook this week. We decided to pass Chromebooks out in our advisory period which meets the last period of the day. We also decided to do a staggered deployment and pass out senior devices on Tuesday, juniors on Thursday, sophomores on Friday and freshmen on Monday. (So technically, we are not really through with our first full week of Chromebooks as we have Monday yet to go.) The reason why we chose to pass them out by class was so that we didn't have 1,200 devices hit our wireless all at the same time--not that we think that will be an issue but better to be safe than sorry. So we chose to do a class at a time. Our seniors and juniors had a relatively low submission rate of forms and fees. Sophomores and freshmen much better. (Our freshmen are coming from a 1:1 device situation at the Junior High. They know they want a device!)

We will repeat this process next week. For students who have submitted the Chromebook agreement paperwork and paid the fee by Friday of this week, they will receive a Chromebook next week using the same schedule. Once next week is over, we will see if we need to do another mass advisory deployment or we will handle individual students as they submit the forms and fee.

We knew there were some things we still needed to work out. Things like what happens when a student has a broken device. We didn't think we would have to decide this on day 2 but we did! Where do students go when they have a device that is broken or not working? How are we going to keep track of repairs and fee payment for those repairs? How do we determine if a student receives a loaner Chromebook while his or her Chromebook is being repaired? What happens if a student loses their charger? Yep, happened on day 3. We thought we would have a little time to work out some of these issues before they came up.

Now, what to do about students who do not pick up a Chromebook? In my opinion the fastest way to get students to pick up their Chromebook is for teachers to start using them! If there is no other way for a student to do the work required in that class, they will pay the fee, fill out the paperwork and pick up their Chromebook. Teachers absolutely have the power to control this!

We've had some bumps. We've had some hurdles to clear. Other things will come up. The important thing is to keep moving forward and to maintain our focus on why we are doing this. For Norfolk Senior High, issuing our students Chromebooks will ensure equity and access for all students and will help us to maximize student potential and transform teaching and learning. If we maintain our focus we can handle any issue that may come up.

That's it for Week 1. I will be updating our progress as we go through our deployment. Wish us luck!

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Thoughts on Going 1:1 Part 8

This is the final post in my summer series, My Thoughts on Going 1:1.

Have you seen this commercial?

Now you are probably asking yourself, what does Domino's pizza have to do with going 1:1? Well, it wasn't the pizza you should have been focusing on but instead the message: "Failure is an option." "In order to get better, in order to move ahead, you are going to make mistakes." "If we gave up after every mistake, we wouldn't come up with something new..." "We cannot be afraid to fail." I think all of this rings true for the journey we are about to embark on.

As much as Jake and I have planned for this rollout, we know there are things that are going to come up that we haven't planned for. We know that we will probably fail on a few things. But we also know that like Domino's if we give up after every mistake, we won't come up with something new. Ultimately we know that what we are doing is the right thing for our kids

Fail shouldn't be thought of as a bad word. I think in education we need to rebrand the word "fail." Fail should really mean First Attempt In Learning.

As teachers we are afraid to fail in front of our students. We are afraid to not be the smartest person in the room, the one who has all the knowledge. In reality, the smartest person in any room is the room itself. Our students will now have the answer to almost any question at their fingertips. We need to tap into that power and take advantage of it.

As a company, Domino's has embraced the motto "Failure is an option." Their motto continues, "We must strive for greatness in everything we do. But greatness cannot be achieved without failure." Imagine what could be accomplished if we used that same thinking in our classrooms?

This year, I want you to not be afraid to fail. Take risks. Try something new. Use technology in a way you never have before. I will be there to support you, to learn with you, to grow with you and yes, to fail with you.