Digital Literacy Week in Review

Sample Student MacBook Air with sleeve

While there was no singular major event that happened with our digital literacy initiative this week, but there were a lot of significant smaller ones.  So, here is a quick recap.  We had some movement on the policy front.  The Board gave a very favorable first reading to student laptop policy.  I anticipate few if any questions at the May Board meeting.  I would expect it to be adopted at that time.  The policy itself is very brief and global.  However, the rules and regulations associated with the policy, it follows the main policy statement in the linked document,  are pretty in-depth.    This “rules and regulations” portion is not technically part of the board policy.  But, will be included or referenced in building handbooks this summer.  This is the document that will have great deal of impact on how all of us work with these computers on a day to day basis.  While it’s probably not totally comprehensive, we have done our best to make it as inclusive as possible.  It covers topics like, day to day care and student expectations with the laptops; damage, theft, and accidental loss; descriptions of how much personalization in terms of software and hardware can be done to the laptop, etc…  This will be absolutely critical information for staff, students, and parents to understand and know.

The skeleton for the “rules and regs” came from Van Meter CSD, Iowa.  Van Meter has been a 1 to 1 school for the better part of three years now.   After we got initial Board approval for laptop purchase in February, I sent a message to the state of Iowa ed tech list serv, put a request out on Twitter, and asked the team at Apple , “What is a best in breed example of student laptop 1 to 1 policy?”  The vast majority of the twenty or so samples I got back were derivative of the Van Meter agreement.  I then ran this document through several feedback cycles with the Digital Literacy Advisory in February and March.  I presented this revised, localized version to the Board last Monday.  While there were some great questions, the majority of the feedback was positive and reinforcing.  Thursday and Friday of this week, I met with the administrative teams from both Point and the High School to go over this document.  Both school teams will be looking further at this document.  If you work in these buildings, you might be seeing piece of this trickle out. So, as you read the agreement form, please keep in mind that there still may be some changes in the next couple of week.   The plan is to have the agreement form ready to share with students and parents in mid-May.

Switching gears, we had our first scheduled implementation phone call with our Apple project management team on Wednesday the 11th.  This was really just an introductory experience to familiarize us with the Apple project management web site and to talk through some of the large grained timeline items.  We did decide on a couple on details.  The teacher laptops will be delivered on 5/18/2012.  My team will need a few days with them to set them up, checked in, and inventoried.  The teacher laptops will likely require more custom setup work than the student computers.  We anticipate getting them in teachers’ hands just before the end of school.  We are planning on getting student laptops on 8/1/2012.  That, frankly, feels a little late to me.  But, the Apple project managers assure me that will be enough time get everything done.  The next meeting,scheduled for late April, will kick-off a lot of the intense detail work.  Speaking of that, one minute detail we have decided on is the asset tag format.  Please have a look at the draft below.  We are ended up changing the listed phone number to Angela’s line and properly abbreviating CCSD.

Asset Tags on MacBook Airs and Power Adapters


On the communications front, we made our first official press release about the initiative on Wednesday, the 11th.  We will be running a student, parent, community Q and A document on the front page of Prairie all next week.  This is just the first step in a larger plan.  As I mentioned earlier, we will be planning a community night in mid-May.  We are also looking to send out a couple of district-wide mailings this summer along with some regular updates via Campus Messenger.  This is also a “launch event” in August in the works as well.  I hoping this launch event will include a lot information and some vendor partnerships – including some tie-ins with the Apple Store that will be opening at Kirkwood.  All these events and scheduled communications are necessary.  But, our best and most effective communication channel to students and parents will come from teachers and administrators.  This is one of the most important reasons that I need to know your questions – so you can feel comfortable answering the questions that come to you.

Finally, Tech Hawks will be getting a new look in the next few days.  I’ve been working with Quinn Wolfe and Anne Hansen to develop a new a logo for this site and all things digital literacy at Prairie.  They have done an outstanding job.  I’m thrilled with the new design.  Bill Paarmann, someone who has been instrumental in bringing this site to life, will be integrating it in the next few days.  Next up on this front, and I’m not joking, is a Tech Hawk online store.  I’m not looking to make money, but rather have product (tee-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc…) available for kids, staff, and parents who want to show their support and enthusiasm for this project.  Look for that in the next couple of weeks.

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