Prairie Digital Device Plan

A complex issue.

On April 13th, I presented a strategic digital device plan to the School Board.   This presentation was the culmination of about eighteen months of work by the strategic technology committee.  The charge of this group was to create a sustainable digital device plan for the district.  This representative committee was comprised of teachers and administrators from each building level as well as representatives from the central office curriculum and instruction team and the school board.

The team attended conferences and made site visits to learn about best practices and to see first hand what other schools have done.   Here’s the plan we created.

Overarching plan

  • Grades: K-1, Device: iPads, Ratio: 1:2 (one device for every two students), refreshed every 5 years
  • Grades: 2-5, Device: Chromebook, Ratio: 1:2, Refreshed every 5 years
  • Grades: 6-9, Device: Chromebook, Ratio: 1:1, Refreshed every 4 years
  • Grades: 10-12, Device: MacBook, Ratio: 1:1, Refreshed every 4 years
  • Staff, Device: MacBook, Refreshed every 4 years

One to one devices will start going home with students in 6th grade.  Students taking home Chromebooks will be allowed to keep these devices during summers.  We can do this because there’s no software to update. While 5th grade is listed as a 1:2 ratio, it will effectively be a 1:1 as the current Chromebooks at Creek can all be repurposed to 5th grade.  This effectively makes us 1:1 grades 5-12.

The best way to understand how this will be phased in is to look at the purchase cycle for the next few years.

 

2015-16 Purchase Plan

  • 240 iPads for Kindergarten – Includes Crest, Heights, Ridge and View (Hill received it’s complement of iPads when it opened)
  • 1,750 Chromebooks for all students in grades 6-9
  • 290 MacBook Air 11 inch for students in grades 10-12
  • 115 MacBook Air 13 inch for staff

 

2016-17 Purchase Plan

  • 240 iPads for 1st grade – Includes Crest, Heights, Ridge and View (Hill received it’s complement of iPads when it opened)
  • 400 Chromebooks for 6th graders
  • 300 MacBook Air 11 inch for students in grades 10-12
  • 115 MacBook Air 13 inch for staff

 

2017-18 Purchase Plan

  • 240 Chromebooks for 2nd grade – Includes Crest, Heights, Ridge and View (Hill received it’s complement of Chromebooks when it opened)
  • 435 Chromebooks for 6th graders
  • 310 MacBook Air 11 inch for students in grades 10-12
  • 115 MacBook Air 13 inch for staff

 

2018-19 Purchase Plan

  • 300 Chromebooks for 3rd grade – Includes all elementary buildings
  • 405 Chromebooks for 6th graders
  • 310 MacBook Air 11 inch for students in grades 10-12
  • 115 MacBook Air 13 inch for staff

 

To make the plan fiscally sustainable, the team was asked to avoid spending spikes — keeping the amount spent year to year roughly the same.  With the exception of the first year to launch, we did this by shifting the MacBook rotation for both students and staff to a model where roughly twenty-five percent of the fleet gets updated each year.  I’ll be sharing the specifics of the staff update cycle in a post all to itself in the next day or two. This also means that students using MacBooks may or may not get the same device each year.

It will take a few years to get this plan fully implemented.  This means that our upper elementary grades won’t see new devices until the plan gets fully rolling.  However, we will be pulling around 400 MacBooks off the line each year.  The goal is to backfill the four elementary buildings (again Hill won’t be included since it was outfitted with devices when it opened) with many of these computers to bridge this gap.  I anticipate sending at least 50 per building per year during this “catch up” phase.

Like any complex and comprehensive plan that is bounded by resource constraints, it’s not perfect.  However, I’m very excited by the commitment the district leadership team has made for our students.  Email me if you have a specific question.  Of course, everyone is invited to post general questions or comments here as well.

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