My notes from visiting 1:1 iPad deployment at Johnston Schools

Johnston iPadsAs part of our district’s 1:1 study, we recently sent a team to visit the 1:1 roll out at Johnston Schools, Iowa. The following is not the final notes/findings from our entire group, but instead just a summary of my personal notes.

Tell us your story… Why did you go 1:1?

The desire to move to 1:1 was predominately driven by the community.  Several years ago, during community forums known as “Futures Meetings”, the community kept asking about 1:1 technology access for students.  The topic came up in every one of the community forums.

What results do see or expect to see?

NOTE: At the time we visited, the project was only 9 weeks old.

We expect the technology to support good teaching & learning practices. We also want our initiative to  promoting 21st century skills and digital literacy for students.

Immediately, they saw a difference in student engagement.

Staff have commented that they should shorten the passing time between classes.

Expect to increased focus on 21st century skills and digital literacy.

Feedback so far from parents, includes…  students are better organized, its more efficient, they seeing less paper used, and grading electronically is more efficient and provides more feedback to students in less time.  Parents also felt that the iPad was easier to use than a computer.

Other general notes……

How did you decide on which device?  Since the deployment was specific to grades 10-12 at the high school, they asked departments to help make the pros/cons list related to all of the final devices.  In the end, the departments helped to decide on the iPad.

How many positions were added due to the deployment?  2 FTEs were added, one related to training the other a technical position.

The policy planning took longer than they expected.  As they sent draft policies out for review, they had more revisions than they anticipated.  However, in the end, they felt it was time well spent.

Why was the high school chosen for the deployment? why not another grade?   Two reasons… 1) the “futures” meetings were the driving force behind the project and they focused on the future of the high school in specific.  2) they felt the project could make a significant difference in student engagement at the high school level.

The ability to annotate was significant for them… and Good Notes is the most popular classroom organizational app.

Do students feel that they need keyboards?  Most students adapt, and it’s usually only the adults who seem worried about this topic.  We really like their unique approach to addressing this –>  they created a keyboard cart.  A small cart with just wireless keyboards that a teacher could check out if they felt it was needed.

They created a very clear chart that outlines what is Negotiable and what is Non-Negotiable related to the iPad roll out.   For example, every teacher MUST use Moodle to post their classroom documents and syllabus.

Most professional development was done during the teachers common planning time.

PD contained:  keynote speaker at the start (they referred to as the fire-up), the Meet the iPad sessions, followed up with content specific app training.

How much push back was there on the roll out?  Most of it was when the project was announced, which was mostly concerns/fears about change.  They felt that they turned a significant corner about 4 months before students received their devices.

Student played several key roles in the roll out….  teams of students helped with various issues such as publicity, technical assistance, the actual roll outs, and even helped in developing a mobile app for high school.

They are using Casper Suite from JAMF to manage the devices.  There is a core group of apps installed on all iPads, and then students can use their own personal iTunes accounts to download their own apps.

At the launch event, parents and students were required to attend one of four optional dates/times.  They had 100% attendance.

They gave each student one stylus with their iPads, as they felt it was critical for using the device for annotation.  However, they only provided one – after this, students are able to purchase additional ones from the media center.

Web filtering is provided both at school and at home (as well any location where the device is connected to wifi).  They are using Light Speed Filtering for this task.

Students are required to use the district provided iPad and to use the district provided case.

If the device is lost or stolen – the family pays the full replacement cost.

The district does purchase Apple Care with each iPad, which covers a certain amount of damage.

Families are required to pay a $50 deposit before they can take the iPad home.  If the device is working at the end of the school year, the $50 deposit is returned.

The digital camera/ video camera has been significant for science courses – as its used to record and document their science labs.

What are the core technologies available in each classroom?  Projector, teacher laptop, and an iPad for each student.  Teachers are using software to display their iPad through their teacher laptop and then to the classroom projector.

They conducted some pilot testing in some classrooms the year before the launch.

Heard from several teachers… “Classroom management and physically moving around the classroom is more important now.”

For their first year of the roll out, they are monitoring:  student behavior incidents, student attendance, grades, and staff / student surveys.

Student iPads are randomly pulled from the classroom and are evaluated by staff.  They have found that word gets out fast when this happens… and students understand that their iPad can be taken from them at any point in time for review.

They estimate the total cost of the iPad to be $720 per student.. which includes the apps, management software, and the case.  Estimated $30 to $40 of this is specifically for apps.

Socrative is very popular for promoting formative assessment.

iPad reminders posted on the walls of Johnston High School

iPad reminders posted on the walls of Johnston High School

Challenges / issues….

Work flow issues….  Several staff we talked with are concerned about the day to day workflow of submitting and grading assignments.  It appeared that many of them are still working with email as the method of submitting and routing of student assignments.  In fact, one teacher commented that he feels that it takes longer to grade assignments than via paper – but he’s hopeful that this will improve.

Distracted by games...    Many staff commented on this – but there are two basic camps on this issue.  One side thinks it’s a technical issue and the solution is to either block all games or not allow students to use their iTunes accounts.  The other side sees an opportunity to teach students about responsible usage.  They pointed out that adults are distracted by their devices too, and we need to make this a teachable moment.   (Side note: other 1:1 iPad visits made this same comment, but also noted that it gets better with time and clearer expectations)

Written by Brian Abeling, @wdmtech

3 thoughts on “My notes from visiting 1:1 iPad deployment at Johnston Schools

  1. Pingback: Multiple Technology Devices or 1:1? | Educational Aspirations

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

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