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!