Are any of your students taking their devices home?
We’re not opting to spend money at this point in time on insurance so that the children can take the devices home. Insurance is quite costly when you look at the price. We wanted to have software capability, we wanted to have more capability for the kids to do certain kinds of projects. We wanted to use the Chromebooks for testing on ISTEP, which you can’t do without additional software.
We’ve opted not to do insurance and we’ve opted to put the money back into software that kids can use while they’re here in school.
How does it affect the learning environment by leaving the computers at school?
We haven’t seen any difference in the middle school and that’s our baseline. It’s all about the tool, how it’s used and the instruction. We saw that very clearly when teachers were logging onto Google and My Big Campus for the first time this year.
We had several teachers do PowerPoint presentations that were almost like a webinar that would take kids through the process. At one point in time, the kids had to give the teacher a signal as to where they were in the process. Once they saw that, there was no need for conversation.
It’s all about how the tool is used instructionally. If that tool is happening during the school day and it’s being done in a collaborative environment where teachers and students are collaborating, it’s not going to make a difference whether or not the tool is at home.
Now, when we get really good, they’re not going to need a laptop at home. All they’ll need is a mobile device. They’ll be able to access everything from school using their own device. Since the students can access everything as long as they have wifi or the Internet, they can go anywhere to access their work. They won’t need a laptop or be at home if we become a 1:1 community or environment.