1:1 questions

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 abelingb@wdmcs.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.






1:1 Proposal details

Last week we announced that a proposal is moving forward to our school board for moving to 1:1 with chromebooks for grades 3 thru 12.  Here’s some additional details/information…


What are the details of the plan?

1. District takes ownership of all chromebooks and reshuffles them to provide one for each student grades  3 -12  (in other words, no one can say “these chromebooks are excluded because I bought them with my departments or schools funds”)  All chromebooks are needed to ensure all students 3 – 12 benefit.   We will need the summer months for the reshuffle, as we expect it will take two months to reshuffle and prepare the devices for delivery in early August.

What about parent groups that purchased devices?  Chromebooks purchased by parent groups will be included in this reshuffle.  The current plan involves using each building’s existing inventory to supply their own students – so the devices they purchased will be used for their students.

2. District will commit to replacing Chromebooks on a 4 or 5 year cycle.  We will budget for 4 years, but will stretch to 5 years if devices are ok.

3. District will provide technical support and services for repairing Chromebooks, just as we currently doing for Chromebooks, including 1:1 Chromebooks at New Tech Schools.

4. District will provide the Chromebooks ready to use… schools will not have to install, inventory, or prepare the devices, these services will be provided by the district.  Chromebooks will be inventoried to your school’s library assets and can be checked out just like a book.  In fact, once a Chromebook is assigned to your school, it stays at your school and never travels with the student.  If a student changes their primary enrollment to another school,  they check the device back into their old school and checkout one from their new school.

5. District will provide a number of spares for each school, so the school can provide a loaner to students while their original device is repaired.  We expect the original device to be returned to the student and the “spare” will always remain as a “spare”, unless assigned to a new student who just enrolled.

6. District will purchase accident insurance for all devices (using management funds), which means students/families may be responsible for damage/replacement if the insurance does not cover the incident.  Any fines related to damage/lost devices will be collected by schools.

7. District curriculum funds will contribute $200,000 per year, which will ensure long term sustainability for 1:1 at grades 3-12.  Building funds will not be shifted to contribute to 1:1, however, all existing  printing costs (including replacement of printers) will be shifted to building funding.  This means 100% of all printing will be covered by each school/department/office.  For example, right now schools pay for only toner and paper.  In the new model, schools will pay for all supplies, including replacing the printer.  The district techs will provide quotes for the appropriate printer, but the cost will be covered by the school requesting (typical network printer is $500).

How will this impact building budgets?  The impact to the building budget is very little – as we’ve done an audit of school expenses on technology for the past five years which has shown that building funds were already used for technology devices such as Chromebook and iPads.  If we proceed with 1:1, buildings will not need to buy Chromebooks on their own any longer, so they can use those funds for printers. In addition, this will move 100% of printing costs to the school level, meaning their printing costs are directly related to how much they choose to print.

8. District will provide a learning management system (Canvas) as a single location for all online classroom content to all grades that are provided with 1:1.  (New Tech Schools are an exception – as they are required to use ECHO for their system, but all others will move to Canvas).   In addition, the S: drive will be removed and the cost savings are factored into the long term sustainability for 1:1.

Why Canvas?
The district’s online committee has already researched and reviewed learning management systems and selected Canvas.  

Will the S: drive disappear right away?
If we proceed, the S drive would not be available next school year for students – but it will still be available for staff so they still have the ability to access materials and transition to Canvas.

9. District will research advanced web filtering, providing filtering not only at school, but also anywhere the device is located.  We would like to provide building administrators with access to review student internet usage and we would also like parents to have the ability to review student internet usage as well.  In addition, we would like to enable parents to have the ability to set home internet filtering policies.

10. Schools will distribute the Chromebooks, both checkout and checkin.  Schools will also determine when/how the checkin/checkout will occur.

11. Schools will collect the parent permission forms related to taking the device home.

12. Once we have moved to 1:1 devices for grades 3 – 12, schools/departments/offices will no longer be allowed to purchase student technology devices for these grade levels.

13. What is the training plan?
We are preparing training sessions for teacher leaders and teachers will start this summer.  By enabling teacher leaders, we will be able to provide school level support to classroom teachers.

14. What is the timeline?
Our current draft is based on the ideals that we should A) spend as little as possible to get to 1:1  B) move as little of the inventory around as possible to get to 1:1. With those ideals, the current plan involves grades 3-12 moving to 1:1 at the start of the 17-18 school year.   


15. Is there a plan to expand 1:1 to cover PreK to 2nd grade?
No plans for next school year, however, it will be a future topic.  For next year, PreK to 2nd grade will continue with the classroom resources they have.  



Other questions that have been asked…


Q1. Chromebooks can’t print, so how will students print their work?

A1. Chromebooks can actually print, just like other devices.  When our district first rolled out chromebooks, we left the printing capability turned off  and it is still turned off today.  At the time, it was decided that we wanted to move digital and printing could still be done through other devices.

For next year, we’ll let each school determine how they want to handle printing. What’s interesting about printing and having kids each have a device –  many schools are reporting increases in their printing costs.  If every student can print to every printer – and they can print from home or from school, and they can print at night as well as during the day – it will leave us with some new challenges.

For next year,  we will enable printing, but only when the school requests it and has considered how they will handle the costs of the printing.

Q2. Has there been conversation about moving other existing iPads down to PreK-2?

A2. There was some conversation, but it was determined the iPads at the upper grade levels were purchased specifically because of the new science curriculum – and there are specific apps they use with specific units.  We weren’t able to find apps/extensions on the chromebook to replace the need for the iPads.   Instead of changing anything with the iPads, we choose to remove their access to classroom desktops and reduce the number of windows laptops.

For PreK-2, we won’t be removing or changing anything they have in their classrooms – at least for next year.  However, I would like to continue to talk with PreK-2 and curriculum directors to discuss what changes might be of interest at PreK-2.  So far, I’ve heard responses including…


* Leave it alone

* reduce desktops and move to chromebooks which go home with students

* reduce desktops and move to chromebooks which stay at school

* increase ipads and remove desktops