We are considering an expansion of the number of Chromebooks at WHS to allow us to provide a Chromebook for each student at WHS. As a student entered as a freshman, they would be assigned a new Chromebook for their use during their career as a student at WHS. As they graduate, withdraw, or enroll in full-time Running Start the Chromebook would be returned for use by another student or school.
1:1 initiatives have shown mixed results. Some school districts implemented them quickly in response to the "fad," and there was not a readiness for the technology to be broadly and deeply used to enhance classroom instruction and student learning. In many of those school districts, the technology was not widely used in a way that enhanced learning, rather it was used as a substitute for paper & pencil, or was not used at all. Woodland High School has been growing in its use of technology. Many classes use it deeply and well. Others do not. In the 2018-2019 school year, the use of Google Classroom by teachers was an expectation. There is still a lot of work to be done to deepen the use of technology, but WHS is much more ready than many other schools have been for the adoption of 1:1. We intend to frame implementation around the "Triple E Framework" which uses technology to Enhance, Extend, and Engage Student learning. The staff has just been introduced to this framework. We see this as a tool to help us make progress on the life readiness technology standard.
Technology isn't a "magic bullet" in any District and no promise of improved metrics can be made simply by handing students devices. Here are a few reasons to reasons to consider proceeding:
There are challenges to implementation that must be considered by the board and administration; both practical and political.
On the practical side:
Initial costs — It is estimated that the acquisition cost of Chromebooks for the fall of 2019 would be about $50,000. (200 Freshmen times $250/each)
Life-cycle costs — Chromebooks typically last 4-5 years, after which time they must be upgraded to a new machine. Every year we must replace 20%-25% of the Chromebooks in the district. We currently have about 1440 Chromebooks in the District, about 480 of those at WHS. The 1:1 would increase the number of Chromebooks at WHS by about 120. This would mean an additional 30-40 Chromebooks would need to be replaced each year, a marginal cost increase of $7,500 to $10,000 per year, though the total cost to sustain the initiative at WHS would be $50,000/year (without inflationary escalation). With our current inventory of 1440 Chromebooks across the district the annual upgrade/renewal cost averages between $72,000 and $90,000 (again, without inflationary adjustment)
On the political side:
Community perception—We may be entering a period of relative austerity with our general fund. We can utilize capital funds to purchase technology. We can even request voter approval of a capital levy to support technology, as many Washington School Districts do. If we end up with larger class sizes or reduced classified staffing, but have shiny Chromebooks in the hands of each student, does that create confusion in the minds of our families and residents?
Potential Misuse of technology— Though we anticipate having all of the Chromebooks filter content and are able to monitor the use through a program we use called "Go Guardian" there exists the possibility (perhaps probability) that a savvy student will figure a workaround and could potentially utilize the technology inappropriately.
Sustainability— What will be the impact on perceptions if we begin this initiative and we are unable to sustain it?
Repair— Chromebooks are lost, stolen and damaged. Most Districts who have a 1:1 program have some form of self-insurance that they employ. Steve Rippl has put together a matrix of what school districts in the area do.
Summertime Possession— There is a mixed practice relative to students retaining the technology over summer months. This would have to be decided.
Parent/Student Contract— We are in the process of developing a contract for students and parents to support the 1:1 program