My notes from visiting 1:1 iPad deployment at Waverly-Shell Rock

waverly ipad visitAs part of our district’s 1:1 study, we recently sent a team to visit the 1:1 roll out at Waverly-Shell Rock schools.  The following is not the final notes/findings from our entire group, but instead just a summary of my personal notes.

Also visit:  My conversation with middle school students using 1:1 iPads at Waverly-Shell Rock

What’s your story?  Why and how did you become 1:1?

Their middle school was devastated by flooding back in 2008.  With the help from FEMA, state, and local resources, the school reopened in the fall of 2011 as a 5th grade thru 8th grade middle school featuring a 1:1 ipad rollout to all 600 students.  The middle school was originally designed to have desktop computers in each of the classrooms, plus traditional computer labs, and mobile laptop labs.  However, during the construction, they discussed that they were already close to one device per child – so they changed the model to provide a device per student.

During the fall of 2011, they deployed an iPad to all students grade 5th thru 8th.  One year later, they deploy an iPad to all student 9th thru 12th grade.

Why did you go 1:1? 

To provide our kids with equal access to the tools and resources needed for learning.  We needed to put all student on a level playing field and give them all equal footing.

What results do see or expect?

Increase in student engagement in our classrooms.

Caused a change in classroom management and the tasks that are given to our students.

Students are writing more than they did prior to 1:1.  In addition, teachers commented that students in general are creating more, instead of just memorizing.

Also noted that students now have more choice about how they demonstrate their knowledge.

Another nice result >>  Open enrollment was up 90 students this year.

Are the middle school and high school iPads set up the same or different?

They are set up differently…  At the middle school, the iPads are locked down.  Students are not able to download or update any apps.

At the high school, the district provides a base set of apps on the iPad  but then students uses their personal iTunes account.  This provides them with the ability to download their own free apps, as well as to perform app updates that are needed. High School really likes the ability for students to download the right app for the right task.

Other general notes………

The first four years of equipment was purchased within the bond for the middle school.

At the lower grade levels, 4th grade classes have 8 iPads per room.  Next year, K-3 will have 5 iPads per classroom. 

Also considering deploying an iPad for each student with an IEP, as they are seeing that iPads are a tremendous tool for leveling the playing field for special needs students.

We try to keep assignments to the iPad, giving them tasks that do not require home Internet access.

Currently using Canvas as the Learning Management System.  However, Canvas is currently an option and is not required of all staff.

How many positions were added or altered due to the 1:1 deployment?  1 existing job role was partially shifted to help, and 2 FTEs were added.   In addition, teacher librarians have shifted over time, more towards being a technology resource.

All K-12 associates in the district have an iPad and receive training.   They received comp time instead of being paid for the training.

Facebook is blocked at the middle school level (5th thru 8th), but is open at the high school (9th thr 12)

Help Desk at the high school is staffed with a district technician, as well as students.   Students help with basic troubleshooting, and apps/updating. At this time, students are not involved in physical repairs of the iPads, this is handled by the district technician

Apple TVs are installed in all classrooms

Middle school received all new furniture when the building opened last year – and they have noticed that the flexible, soft furniture helps in aiding with collaborative projects.

How are student videos collected/submitted?  A solution used at the high school…  create a classroom youtube account… give out the password to students, so they can use the account to post their final videos to youtube.  Then change the password between projects.

One of the most commonly used apps is Notability, which is basically a digital folder/filing system the contains all your documents and allows students to annotate on their documents.

What challenges/issues has you encountered?

The occasional student with inappropriate pictures…. which is addressed during random spot checks of student iPads.

Student filling the space on the iPad with their own pictures/music.

The app store locks up when it’s accessed by a large number of users from a single ip address (which happens at the start of school), but they are looking at room by room deployment/setup next year, instead of a building wide setup, all on the same day.

Early into the project, they had issues with printing, but they claim that this probably helped reduce printing costs and helped individuals seeks out digital solutions.

Workflow issues – A few staff we talked with weren’t discouraged by the workflow issues –  but they commented that they were dealing with a lot of emails from hundreds of students. Managing the emails and all the attachments was at times, overwhelming.   Of course, those that use Canvas had no concerns about workflow issues at all.  At this time, usage of Canvas is still optional and is not required.

Staff commented that they really liked how the district provided them with access to the iPads months before the students received them. 

Staff also commented that the Kindle app has been very popular in English classes.

Staff appreciated the differentiated PD sessions that were available to staff, so they could pick the course/sessions that best met their needs

Written by Brian Abeling, @wdmtech

One thought on “My notes from visiting 1:1 iPad deployment at Waverly-Shell Rock

  1. Pingback: What’s the status of the district 1:1 study team? | West Des Moines Community Schools Technology

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