Written: Feb 7, 2017
Today I’ve been fielding email questions that came in after our 1:1 announcement.
You’ve got questions – and you deserve answers – so go ahead, send me thoughts, ideas, questions (send to firstname.lastname@example.org). As questions are asked, I’ll response to your privately, but I’ll also add your questions (without your names or identifiers) to this list.
Q1. Does this include Chromebooks purchased with Perkins funding?
A1. Yes… we’ll be including all chromebooks from all sources – as that’s what it will take to make sure that every child has one. In most cases, the devices won’t leave your school, so they will still be assigned to your schools inventory and checked out to your students.
Q2. What happens to the carts and wall mounted cabinets that we have for our existing chromebooks?
A2. We’ll be leaving the carts and the wall mount cabinet… as schools and classrooms can decide if they want to keep them or contact operations/warehouse for assistance with removing them.
Q3. If the proposal does go through can k-2 get their classroom computers?
A3. Sorry, the computers that are removed from grades 3-12 are being removed and not repurposed, as they are basically choosing to remove desktops and move to chromebooks. They need to be removed so that there are no costs for software/repair/replacement – as it’s the costs savings from removing them that creates the funds that are needed so they can have chromebooks.
Basically, this same conversation needs to happen at PreK-2 – we choose not to include PreK-2 in this proposal right now, but we need to continue the conversation next fall at the lower grade levels to determine what changes they would like to see. Ideas that I’ve heard so far are..
1) Leave PreK-2 alone, no changes
2) reduce desktops and move to chromebooks like the others, kids taking them home
3) reduce desktops and move to chromebooks but they stay in the classroom
4) reduce desktops and exchange for ipads
Q4. Will Canvas be taking the place of Google Classroom? That is, will we be phasing out Google Classroom?
A4. Yes and Yes.
Q5. How did Canvas get selected?
Our online learning committee (about 25 to 30 teachers) has conducted reviews of learning management systems multiple times over the past few years – and they selected Canvas.
Q6. Did the online learning committee consider Google Classroom?
A6. Google Classroom wasn’t officially reviewed by the group – as they felt they already knew what Classroom offered. Instead, they were interested in what other solutions provided that was beyond Classrooms capability.
Q7. What were the factors for why Canvas was selected?
- Feature sets including quizzes and assignment submissions that were more robust than Classroom and other.
- Ability for classrooms teachers to ask for tech support help directly from Canvas – and they can get help night or day. No waiting until Monday to get help on something that you need to have ready for Monday.
- Ability to sync student courses from Infinite Campus.
- Ability to integrate with Google Apps
- Ability to maintain our online presence. Classroom is based on Google Drive – which means your files are stored in Google Drive, which also means your files are deleted when your google account is deleted. In Canvas, courses belong to your school. If the teacher leaves, the files don’t disappear, they are kept with the class
- Extensive on online training and videos that are available to all staff.
- Works on all devices/browser… even has a great mobile app to allow students easy access
Q8. Will we be able to keep our teacher desktops?
A8. Yes, in all grades 3 thru 12, the desktop computer connected to the projector will stay. At the secondary level, we’ve had a few requests to remove the desktop, but not from the majority of users – so for now, we are planning on leaving the desktop connected to the projector and will re-evaluate this after we’ve made the move to 1:1.
Q9, I’m curious about storage in the elementary classrooms. I can’t imagine we are sending Chromebooks home for 3rd graders everyday, but they will need to be stored and charges. Will we have an option to have a cart in our classrooms?
A9. The plan is to send the devices home with students. Currently, we have two schools (Crestview and Clive) that send chromebooks home with students. Each of these schools have been sending devices home not only this year, but also all of last school year.
Of course, some classrooms choose to keep the devices in the classroom during the first few weeks of schools – as we let each classroom decide on the timeframe. However, we are not currently providing carts or storage to the existing elementary rooms and are not planning on providing it this fall.
Q10. We use the chrome book carts all the time in my class. I use google classroom and also do my written tests on google forms. Is there anyway we could get a chromebook cart for my room? Just wondering as this will really mess up what we do in our class.
A10. Actually.. the plan would help you, not hurt you. Every child in your school would have a device that they could bring to class when needed.. you would never need a cart, you would just tell them to bring their device and you would be all set to go.
Q11. But what do we do if they forget to bring it? Will there be any extras?
A11. There are some spares available at each school… but here’s what our 1:1 schools have found so far: if a student forgets and we give them another, then they forget it more often. If we force them to go with out, or ask them to redo the work another time, then those schools are reporting that very few students forget… but, yes, there will be spares at each school
Q12. Will the students receive a case to carry their Chromebooks in? Also, when we remove desktop computers, will we be able to keep the one that is on our media table?
A12. Yes, there will be a carry case – the specific carry case hasn’t been determined. In fact, we are looking to put together case options and send them out to the schools this spring to have students/teachers help us rule out which cases should be considered.
Yes, the desktop that is connected to your projector will stay… all the other desktops will be removed. However, its not likely that we’ll have time to remove them this summer, but it will most likely happen starting next fall/winter.
Q13. Half of the students on my roster do not have Internet access at home. Will the district provide Hotspots to enable students without Internet access to use their Chromebooks at home?
A13. Sorry, but we are not able to fund hotspots for home usage. However, it’s interesting to note that two of our highest poverty elementary schools have been 1:1 with chromebooks for almost two years now – and we know many of their families do not have internet access. We’ve heard that kids/families are resourceful and are finding internet access – but that we must still be aware of this and be cautious of what we assign to our students.
We also need to remember that Chromebook can use the basic tools offline, meaning that they can use google docs, spreadsheets, and slides without internet access – and they would not be able to access the internet.
Q14. Does Canvas “talk with” Infinite Campus, ignore Infinite Campus, or supplant Infinite Campus?
A14. Doesn’t supplant Campus – as the state requires schools to use Campus, PowerSchool or JMC for state reporting purposes and Canvas doesn’t meet state reporting requirements.
Do they talk? Yes, in fact, when a student logs in, they will see all of their courses – they are already assigned to the courses based on their course enrollments in Campus. Also means that staff don’t have to create courses /add kids, etc either.
Q15. Does Infinite Campus send any grades to Canvas or the other way around?
A15. Grades can not go from Campus to Canvas – and Canvas can send only the final semester grade over to Campus – that’s it. So… for now, we will ask folks to start moving course materials over to Canvas – but keep grades in Campus. Down the road, we can discuss if we want to move the gradebook as well. My initial thought was that asking folks to move to Canvas is enough… asking them to totally relearn a new gradebook at the same time is going too far.
Q16. I see that you are planning on training sessions this summer— I was wondering if it would be at all possible for one to be put in on the last day of school??? I know that personally I would like to have training prior to having kids that have them in their hands, and I would definitely prefer having information up front rather than at the beginning of the next school year when I have a million things that need to be done.
A16. Since it’s already set as a work, the district tech team doesn’t have the abilty to step in and declare a training date – however, if this is of interest to you, I would suggest requesting it from your building administration. If they want to have training options set up on that day or other dates this spring, they can make the request to us – and we’ll make sure resources are in place to make it happen.
Q17. How about training opportunities this spring?
A17. Yes, we’re now working on that as well… there may be some one day optional sessions available for those who are ready to get started.
Q18. Will there be courses offered this summer for implementation of Canvas?
A18. Yes, we will be offering courses this summer related to Canvas.
Q19. Will the elementary art teachers be able to keep all 4 desktops in the art room? I have students use Photoshop in class sometimes and the 4 computers are helpful.
A19. Yes, only the core classroom desktops are removed, the art machines are not on the list for removing
Q20. My classroom is old and I only have 6 outlets. 2 are already full with just my teacher desktop, speakers, microphones, 2way radio. My other four outlets are all in back of my room. Will the district be providing extension cords, etc.? I have safety concerns with that option too. How do we expect students’ technology to stay charged all day?
A20. We are not looking to add electrical outlets. The feedback we have from the new tech schools and places that are already using chromebooks is that the devices last the full day. If there is a need for extension cords, that will be a school decision, as they currently have the ability to get power trips/cords as needed.
Q21. What about desktops in the media centers? are they staying or going?
A21. There no plans to remove desktops/workstations from the media centers.
Q22. I use quizlet for my class, can I embed that resources into Canvas, so that student don’t have to leave to go to another website? What about quizzizz?
A22. Yes, quizlet can be embedded directly into Canvas. I don’t believe Quizzizz can be embedded yet.
Q23. Will students be able to bring their own laptops and turn down the chromebook?
A23. We’ll have to talk through this issue – as there isn’t an answer yet. I can see advantages and disadvantages to allow students to bring their own device. In the end, it also may end up being a school by school policy. Sorry, no answer yet, but it’s a great question.
Q24, You mentioned a carrying case for the Chromebooks. Will students be required to carry their Chromebooks from class to class in the carrying case to prevent dropping/breakage in the hallways? Or will the Chromebooks have some sort of permanent padding attached to them?
A24. We haven’t decided on what type of carry cases will be used – I’m sure that parents would appreciate it if the cases had protective padding – but we also must balance that need against what the students will honestly use. We are planning to send examples out to schools this spring to collect feedback from students, staff, and parents.
Q25. How do the NTN schools currently deal with Chromebooks that are not charged up for use each day? Are there policies about coming to school with the Chromebooks charged? Does the charge last all day? Do they have charging stations and cords in each classroom? Will we have those options?
A25. Our new tech schools ask our students come to school with their devices charged – and for the most part, that is what happens. Yes, they are finding that the devices stay charged for the full day. If charging stations, cords, power strips are needed, buildings can pursue those options.