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[Hands-On Favorites] One-to-One Initiatives

By Christine Weiser | October November 2007

Executive summaries of recent district installations.

NAME: Jerry Vaughn, superintendent
DISTRICT: Floydada (TX) Independent School District
WHAT WE USE: MacBooks www.apple.com

How our district uses it: We have a four-year lease with Apple for the hardware, and we’re in a two-phase implementation process. We have completed three years at the junior high level, which we began after receiving a $480,000 TIP (Talent Incentive Program) grant for those grades. For the second phase, we will use local dollars. In May 2005, our board unanimously voted to spend local money to immerse our high school in one-to-one computing, so we have just finished our second year at that level.

Why I like it:
Our district is 85 percent low socioeconomic with a 77 percent Hispanic student population. Before the one-to- one program, 83 percent of our students didn’t have a computer at home. After we rolled out the junior high one-to-one initiative in 2004, we quickly saw phenomenal results. And test scores have continued to improve: Seventh-grade math has increased 33 percent, 10th-grade language arts has gone up 31 percent, and 11th-grade social studies scores have risen 20 percent.

What I wish it could do
: As with any education initiatives, sustainability is the key because the grant money is running out. It takes some refocusing of your budget, but it’s worth it.

NAME: Wade Pogany, director of curriculum and instruction
DISTRICT: South Dakota Department of Education
WHAT WE USE: M285 Tabletâ?¯ www.gateway.com

How our district uses it: Under our governor’s 2010 education initiative, districts can apply to start a one-to-one initiative. At the department of education, we work with each district to implement its program. Schools buy or lease the tablets, and we reimburse one-third of that cost, as well as provide tech support.

Why I like it:
There were so few glitches with our pilot program. The technology worked well and the training was good. I like the Gateway hardware: It has good battery life, durability, memory, and speed, and it comes with a good software package.

What I wish it could do: The governor’s vision is to see all high schools in South Dakota using laptops. We’ve already seen higher motivation and better integration of technology into learning. This program is also part of our workforce development plans.

NAME: Dr. Agnes Slayman, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction
DISTRICT: Kershaw County (SC) School District
WHAT WE USE: HP Compaq nx5000 notebook PCs and laptops www.hp.com

How our district uses it: We made our campus wireless and extended the secure wireless network into the parking lot and athletic facilities. Kids and parents can connect into the network even off campus.

Why I like it: HP financial services worked with us to help us get the best we could for the money we have. Our lease
agreement with HP means we get a new laptop each year, so our equipment never becomes outdated.

What I wish it could do: I look forward to starting the one-to-one in our middle and elementary schools too.

NAME: Michael Droe, chief technology officer
DISTRICT: Hacienda La Puente (CA) Unified School District
WHAT WE USE: Dell Latitude D620 www.dell.com

How my district uses it: We made the one-to-one implementation a priority and are restructuring the way we fund internally as part of our standard technology refresh and budgeting processes. We lease the laptops for about $260 per student per year. The laptop may also be made available for ownership by the parent (or student) after completion of grade eight and graduation, respectively. When our initiative is fully implemented, every incoming fifth and ninth grader will get a new laptop.

Why I like it: The Dell Latitude D620 has many benefits, like security, functionality, weight, and a rugged frame. Dell worked with us to get the laptop price point to where we needed it to be—and offered bundles that worked with our education goals.

What I wish it could do: As a district, we would like to have a laptop model that does not use the CD loading tray, and we’re working with Dell to incorporate a slot-loading CD device similar to the one used with their XPS 1330 laptop. â?¯

NAME: Kristina Grasty, English teacher and ELD site coordinator
DISTRICT: Los Gatos (CA) High School and Hope Enterprises Schools in Ethiopia
WHAT WE USE: StudentMate www.one2onemate.com

How my district uses it: I have taken the StudentMate to schools that serve the poor in Dese and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and have introduced it as a cost-effective tool to teach English.

Why I like it: Although not a laptop per se, the StudentMate offers modules such as word processing and a typing tutor to address specific learning areas. The device is durable and touch-sensitive. It slips easily into a cart to power up, so you don’t need to walk to a computer lab.

What I wish it could do: I look forward to seeing more modules that incorporate high-interest reading passages, meaningful assessments such as process writing, and more critical and innovative problem-solving math modules.

About the Author

Christine Weiser is a writer and editor who has reported on K-12 education technology for more than 15 years.

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