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A Checklist for Your 1:1 Deployment: Alliance Charter Network Shares Their Secrets

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In September 2013, the Alliance College-Ready Public School charter school network in Southern California diligently prepared to deploy over 10,000 mobile devices to students and teachers in response to the new California Common Core State Standards and fresh online testing platform. Home office staff, school site administrators, teachers, parents and student technology leaders played critical roles in accomplishing a successful 1-to-1 deployment across 25 locations.

There was a nervous excitement about the new initiative across our network. However, there was a unique body of stakeholders who took the lead, including students who demonstrated to the Alliance adults that “students are active leaders in this transition and would ultimately be a major contributor to our success.” We also didn’t merely start this process in 2013--the preparation of our students and faculty began in 2010, as Alliance College-Ready Public Schools was a recipient of the federally funded “Investing In Innovation” grant (i3 grant).

As an organization, we were challenged with rolling out in a short period of time. Though we recommend districts and schools alike allow for ample time to effectively lead a large scale mobile device roll-out, we learned valuable lessons. With each rollout, we experienced greater success because we were able to translate our lessons learned to ensure efficiency. And so, we’ve collected recommendations for ensuring a successful roll-out--and sharing them with you now.

Step 1: Planning and Preparing

Approximately 1-3 months before deployment day, office staff and school site teams of administrators, Student Technology Leaders, and teacher facilitators spent months taking care of the following:

____ Update Alliance College-Ready Public Schools’ Appropriate Use Policy (use of technology policy) to include new information around the use of the new devices.

____ Facilitate individual school site meetings to help schools prepare for the day of iPad deployment. Topics include (but are not limited to) “Where will devices be distributed” and “How to secure devices as they are delivered to the campus.”

____ Develop resources to be shared with the parents at required parent meetings that detail information on topics such as “Why the Transition to 1:1?” and “Understanding the Common Core.”

____Host parent meetings to ensure that all parents are aware of the new initiative, and secure parent consent forms before students were given a device.

____ Develop resources to be shared with classroom teachers that cover topics such as “What to Expect on the Day of Deployment” that include details on how teachers will be involved with the deployment and the roles they play in supporting the day.

____ Develop resources to be shared with students that focuse on “Digital Citizenship,” “Caring for and Getting to Know the iPad” and “Setting Up the iPad.”

____ Develop a master calendar of school selected deployment dates.

____ Set up support teams that include IT support, procurement support, and project lead support to be at each school site on the day of deployment.

____ Student Technology Leaders engage in training to be prepared to 1) distribute iPads on deployment day, and 2) facilitate trainings.

Step 2: Training the Teachers and Parents

When preparing for your parent meetings, there are certain questions that you should be prepared to answer. Consider the following:

____ Why are devices being issues? What instructional purpose do the devices have in your school/organization?

____ What are your policies regarding students’ responsibilities for willful and un-willful damage to the devices? Will parents ever have to pay for broken devices? (i.e. Will there be insurance?)

____ Will students be allowed to carry devices home?

____ What are new school policies as it relates to students inappropriate use of the technology?

____ Can students opt out of receiving a device? If so, what is the plan for students who opt out?

____ Can students bring their own personal devices from home, instead using the school-issued device?

____ How much can students personalize the school issued device?

When preparing for your teacher meetings, the following should be considered:

____ What role will teachers play on iPad deployment day?

____ What lessons should teachers plan to present on the day devices are distributed? (i.e. Digital Citizenship, etc.)

____ What security and device management systems will teachers have access to?

____ What are new school policies as it relates to students inappropriate use of the technology?

____ What are new classroom behavior expectations as it relates to the use of technology?

Step 3: Leading a Successful Deployment Day

After a few short months of planning and hosting trainings for parents, teachers, and Student Technology Leaders, Alliance was ready to kick off it’s first iPad deployment day. From November 2013 through February 2014, Alliance launched deployment days at 22 different school site locations. Each deployment day was scheduled by the school site administration team after they each participated in 1) iPad deployment meeting with home office staff, and 2) hosted a parent information meeting.

Home office staff collaborated with Apple Program managers to develop and share materials that would be used to train STLs, Teachers, and Parents. However, each school site was strongly encouraged to modify the presentations to make it their own (i.e. Schools may have different policies regarding the use of technology). And of course, leading the work on deployment day were the Student Technology Leaders and home office support.

For the actual deployment day, here’s what we found to be most important in scheduling the day’s events:

____ Schools designate a selected area, known as “the staging”, for the devices to be distributed.

____ Upon entering the staging area, students stop at six different stations managed by an Student Technology Leader.

  • Station 1: Student identification verified and name checked off.
  • Station 2: Students receive a package iPad.
  • Station 3. Students identification and iPad is scanned into the inventory spreadsheet.
  • Station 4: Student’s iPad is unwrapped.
  • Station 5: A label is placed on the student’s iPad. The label had the student’s name, as well as his or her advisory teacher’s name and room number.
  • Station 6: iPads are placed in the iPad protective cover, and a second identification label is placed on the back of the cover.

____ After visiting each of the six stations, Advisory classes are led back to their classroom where students engage in trainings facilitated by student technology leaders and home office staff when needed, including:

  • Digital Citizenship: Students participate in free online lessons created by Common Sense Media that address topics such as Internet Safety and Privacy & Security.
  • Caring for Your iPad: Student technology leaders conduct short presentations to students on how to properly carry the iPad around campus, store the iPads while not in use, etc.

Looking Back

In just under 4 months, all 22 schools and over 10,000 students and teachers received their iPad devices. This was all accomplished with few mishaps, but by the Spring of 2014, Alliance College-Ready Public schools were geared up with mobile devices in the hands of all students.

Proper planning and attention to the tiny details supported our work, and it can support yours, as well. A proven plan (a readiness checklist) and clear answers to FAQ’s eases the fear and anxiety of school site administrators, teachers, and parents.

But as a last point, let me stress one big thing: involving student technology leaders is important in seeing the project through. STLs demonstrate just how ready they are for the transition to Common Core and a 1:1 digital environment. And that, my friends, will be the foundation of anyone 1:1 readiness checklist.

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