Our visit to Bettendorf High Schools 1:1 iPad deployment

Entrance to Bettendorf High School

Entrance to Bettendorf High School

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

What’s your story?  Why are you 1:1?

The process began several years ago as a discussion with administrators and the school board.  It expanded to become a K-12, district-wide discussion that included research and school visits.

Why 1:1?  If we truly believe that we are preparing students for their future – we can’t afford not to provide them access to technology.  They used a number of resources from Dr. Scott McLeod, including those relating to how our workforce needs are changing.

They also pointed out how their demographics are changing and the technology is needed to level the playing field.  Currently they are at 30% Free/Reduced Lunch  (Note: West Des Moines Community Schools demographics are also changing, as we also just reached the 30% free/reduced lunch percentage.)

Is there a person or group that was the driving force behind the project?

The most frequent answer was “Jimmy”,  meaning Jimmy Casas, the high school principal.  Of course, Jimmy wasn’t present when this happened, and I’m guessing he would have deflected the attention.  However, Bettendorf offers other districts an important lesson in 1:1 roll outs – the real implementation takes place at the school level and building leadership is crucial to any change initiative.

What was deployed, to whom and when?

In the fall of 2012, 800 total iPads were deployed to all 9th and 10th graders at Bettendorf High School.  Starting next fall, all incoming 9th graders will receive iPads.  Why deploy in this manner?  What about current juniors and seniors?   At this time, there are no plans for deploying devices to existing juniors and seniors.  The decision to deploy in this manner was strictly financial,  it’s what the district could afford and also determined to be the manner in which they could ensure long term sustainability.

What is it that you want or expect as a results of this initiative?

Increase student engagement and transformed teaching and learning.

Other general notes…

What about the existing technology, was anything taken away when 1:1 was deployed?  No..  the existing computer labs and resources stayed and when those resources are due for replacement, we’ll then discuss what happens.

Originally, they proposed to the school board to reallocate money from 1) existing computer labs, 2) textbooks, and other resources.  However, the Board choose to provide additional sales tax/ppel funds to start the project instead.

They charge a $10 fee per student per year, which is technically a tech book replacement fee that is primarily used for online text books and apps

They piloting other devices, including an ASUS tablet, which included in classroom and take home.

Are you paperless?   No. Our goal isn’t to be paperless, that isn’t the main goal.  We still use paper when it makes sense.

What’s the plan for textbooks?  As each textbook/resource comes up for replacement, we’ll be looking to see if they still need the resource and if so, if they can find a digital version.  After that, we may look to do classroom sets instead of one per student.  AP courses may be the exception.

Currently 94% of families have internet access at home.

So far, at the 18 week point of the project, 1 iPad has been lost and 7 needed repairs.

Currently spending about $625 per student for the device, case, and apps.

Originally, the high school had 13 traditional computer labs, but that will be re-evaluated at the time that each lab is due for replacement.

Can students currently bring their own devices?  or their own iPads?  No…  not currently. They would like to do this, but they can not due to limited bandwidth.

Does the high school or district have a learning management system  (LMS) selected or designated for use by staff?    There is no school or district mandated LMS or website tool.  Teachers are welcome to select the tool that is appropriate.  In fact, their training modules includes training for Moodle, Schoology, and Edmodo.  

However, teachers are required to have a web presence...  that includes basic contact information, syllabus, and assignments.  However, the district does not require the usage of any specific tool or resource.

When 1:1 was decided for 9th and 10th grade – what else was discussed for other grades?  The district is moving forward with 5 iPads per elementary room and other deployments at other grade levels will be determined in the future.

We were really impressed with their roll out nights.  Every district has required parent nights – but in Bettendorf, the parent night is the same night that the device is actually rolled out.   Compared to other districts, they are utilizing the parent night to A) handle the deployment without taking up instructional time and B) use the opportunity for parent training.  Here’s an overview of how it works….

1) Both the student and the parents are required to attend.

2) Parents and students start together in the cafeteria where they review and sign the usage agreement and responsibilities.

3) Parents then moved to another room and school leaders work with parents on understanding appropriate usage, expectations, and other tips/strategies for issues at home.

3. At the same time, students were in another location where they received the iPad.  Students then enroll the device into the management system (Casper Suite), and began basic iPad training.

4.  At the end of the night –  parents, students, and their iPad head home together.

Can student bring their own iPad? No, they want the device enrolled into their management software to enable distribution of apps that are owned by the district.

Why the iPad?  We tested other devices (even allowing them to go home), but in the end we felt that other districts with laptops were primarily doing the more of the same tasks – just electronically.  We wanted to change the tasks to do things differently.  Other important features included… the instant on/off,  ability to access a variety of apps, and it was key that many apps will allow students to work at home without internet access.

We visited several classrooms that contained students of various grade levels, which meant that some students had iPads and other did not.  What did students think?  I heard from some that didn’t feel it was problem – yet others who were upset and wished everyone had a device. 

A major portion of their professional development was developed by Physics/Astronomy teacher, Christopher Like,  @christopherlike  It focuses on the self-paced, individualized technology professional development plan that was rolled out with Bettendorf’s iPad initiative.

* It’s called Mission Possible (visit: https://sites.google.com/a/bettendorf.k12.ia.us/bhs-tech-pd/) the plan consists of individual missions, or modules, that staff typically complete on their own.  It’s based on gaming attributes like points, levels, titles/badges, etc.

* Completing missions gives you “paw points” and a certain number of points moves you to a new level.

* Certain levels must be completed before iPads are made available to you.

* There is a leader board that displays how many points and what level each staff member is at.  This is NOT evaluative at all, there is no requirement to reach the highest level.

——————— Photos from our visit to Bettendorf High School—————————————-

One thought on “Our visit to Bettendorf High Schools 1:1 iPad deployment

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

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