- Former Lake Park Audubon School District (Minn.) technology coordinator Bob Henderson writes for eSchool News that the district had to overcome a number of challenges, especially on the budget front, to become the 1:1 device darling it is today.
- In order to get devices in the hands of every student, administrators had to consider how to handle the cost, how to get the school board's support, and what to do once they had the devices.
- Henderson recommends finding a partner that can work within a district's budgetary limits to source devices, warranties, support and service; considering recertified devices instead of new ones; securing buy-in from the board by involving them in the device selection process, and planning beyond the device purchase for training, curriculum and regular equipment refreshes.
Central to Henderson's case is the common refrain that there's more to implementing a 1:1 device program than simply putting tablets or notebooks in students' hands. These devices have plenty of potential to enhance learning for students, but they're not a magic bullet that will do so by virtue of their presence alone due to today's students being considered "digital natives." Unlocking the full potential of these tools requires plenty of teacher training and significant thought into the curriculum resources used in tandem with them.
This seems like common sense, but a handful of districts — especially in the early days of 1:1 — have learned the hard way.
The initial price of adopting and implementing a program can be perhaps the biggest hurdle for stakeholders. But when compared against the price of adopting all new textbooks, the upfront cost of the devices and the ongoing costs of maintenance, warranties, and licensing curriculum resources can be comparable, if not cost-saving, in the long run. For those yet to dive into such a program, Henderson's experience provides a solid guide to crafting a strong proposal.