My notes from visiting Minnetonka’s 1:1 iPad program

On July 18th, our district sent a team to visit Minnetonka Schools, Minnesota’s 1:1 iPad Institute.   They initially started a pilot with select freshmen classes that involved only 16 teachers. After a semester, it was then expanded to include all freshmen classes.  The following year, the district expanded the project again to include both freshmen and sophomores.  Also visit  “My Favorite quotes from Minnetonka’s 1:1 iPad Institute “


Minnetonka iPad Resource………………

  1. Minnetonka Technology iPad Page
  2. Data collected from the pilot
  3. Official presentation at 1:1 iPad Institute
  4. The formal iPad agreement form used by Minnetonka
  5. Minnetonka common sense media provides checklist for parent




General notes…………….

* They started digitizing curriculum about 10 years ago – initially using Blackboard as their LMS (Learning Management System), but are now using Schoology.  It’s very apparent that the curriculum/resources cycle and process is very critical to the change process relating to bringing iPads into the hands of students.

* They wanted to focus their efforts on one single campus for 1:1, and they selected the high school (grades 9-12, about 3,000 students total population)

* Originally they thought it would be a laptop, but after conversation with  staff, the iPad fit the needs better.  In fact, they mentioned that they “fought against the iPad” for some time.  However, teachers really desired the instant on/off and all day battery features.

* Their pilot originally started with just select 9th grade courses.   The planning group selected specific courses/periods prior to the schedule being made.  When teachers were assigned to the schedule, this process identified which courses/periods were involved in the pilot.  This enabled them to conduct the testing in the key content areas that they desired and also enabled the district to avoid hand picking of “techie” teachers as well as selecting only volunteers.  In addition, the structure of the pilot enabled them to obtain classroom results from the same teacher, teaching the same exact subjects/courses – but yet get results from classes that did or did not have iPads.

* After a semester of collecting data, the pilot expanded to all freshmen courses and the following year expand to also include sophomore classes.

* The key points to their pilot:

1) Control Group: The 16 teachers were selected based on the scheduling of the Math, Science and English course sections.  Whoever was assigned to teach those sections were chosen to participate!  It gave them the best cross section of teachers this way – not “hand selecting” the teachers who were just tech savvy or interested in this type of work.

2) Digital content:  Their prior work to digitize the curriculum into a district standard learning management system was critical.  It gave everyone a standard platform to work from.

3) Administrative planning team:  A core group of project administrators met every week during the first year of the project.  Their tasks included: collecting and analysis of classroom data as well as to coordinate communications with staff, students, and community.

4) Training: This included both additional training days during the summer and school year for the teachers in the pilot and the usage of TOSA’s (teachers on special assignment) who provided direct on-site support for classroom teachers.

* Another key to the project: creating a clear process for document management.  In fact, they created very clear visual charts to demonstrate how specific files types (PDFs vs Word docs) are created, stored, and submitted to the teacher via the iPad.

* There was a strong focus on the usage of iPads for formative assessments. In fact, it was actively monitored during the pilot and they found that formative assessments increased by 65%.

* Other key findings from their initial pilot:

1)  increase in A’s and B’s, and decreases in D’s and F’s

2) decrease in missing assignments

3) increase in student organizational skills

4) content areas with the largest academic growth:  math

5) 86% of staff said their instructional practices have changed due to 1:1

* Student quote… “Now there’s no anxiety about it.” referring to the quicker turn around on assessments.

* Parent quote…  “surprised that the distraction is not as much a concern, instead they are more focused”

* Parents reported increased engagement with schools work, and less missing assignments

* Student responses..   It makes a huge difference in building organizational skills

* Student responding to how important the calendar feature is for getting organized.

* Another important finding… A significant change in behavior and attitudes of shy students.

* Teachers in their pilots received the equipment (and training) well in advance of students.  This is very common among other 1:1 projects, but in their case the professional development was perhaps stronger and more targeted since it was a smaller group (16 total teachers).

* They use Splashtop app, which allowed them to control their desktop PC from their iPad.




* They have tested the Apple TV for wirelessly displaying to the classroom projector – and this has been successful with teachers, but has not been successful with students.  Once students learn the code to access an Apple TV, they were attempting to access the devices from other rooms.

* Web sites that require Adobe Flash

* Upgrading to iOS5

* document management:  Not only creating the process, but keeping up with new options and apps that relate to document management.  They had been using PaperPort and Office HD, but are found that they were “glitchy” and not reliable – and are looking for alternatives.

* Classroom management.  As mentioned, it is a significant portion of their training program, but they still recognize it as an on going challenge.

* Looking back, they would place more emphasis to parents on learning, not the device.

* Using email to manage collection of student documents did not work, it was not sustainable. What was successful – using Schoology and Google Apps




Technology information……………

* Students do not use their own iTunes account. Instead, there is only one iTunes account for the high school.

* Casper Suite is used to make apps available and management.

* Students devices are currently locked down, students can not install or delete apps, and they expect that it will stay that way.

* Devices are returned to the media center each summer, they are wiped clean and reimaged with updated software.

* Inventory is kept in Destiny, their library management system.

* In addition to having the information stored in Destiny, physical index cards are made that contain the inventory information and students are asked to sign these cards when they first receive the equipment.

* Generally speaking, the district does NOT run updates very frequently, perhaps once a year. However, students can and do perform smaller app updates on their own.

* Although students can’t install apps on their own, there is a form and process for students to submit apps for the district to review.

* What happens if the student loses their iPad?  If a police report is submitted, the district will replace it.  If no police report is provided, then the family must pay for it.

* How long do they expect the device to last?   They are budgeting and expecting it to last 3 years.

* How is regular computer lab usage going, is it declining?   The usage rates have remained the same, however, it’s different staff who are now using it.

* How about COWS (Computers on Wheels, or portable laptop carts), how does their usage compare since deploying iPads? The usage of the laptop carts is way higher, mostly likely because of the wireless upgrades at the school that helped redesign the infrastructure to be based on density rather than coverage.

* What are you doing about printing? Nothing, we are not.  They had concerns over giving them the ability and then we won’t transform what we are doing.

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