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Jordan's Future Ready Program: 1-to-1 Chromebooks

UPDATE AS OF MAY, 2017:  After our initial (pilot) year, surveys taken of staff, students, and community affirmed that the 1:1 initiative was largely a success, much appreciated for the difference in classrooms and curricula. However, evidence suggested that 1:1 might be better implemented at the 8th grade level, as students attain more maturity and responsibility. So, for 2017-18, Jordan's 1:1 initiative will look like this:  6th grade = one cart of Chromebooks per team, moving to a cart per classroom by mid-year; 7th grade = one cart of Chromebooks per core-subject classroom; and 8th grade = 1:1 Chromebook to student, with students being allowed to take devices home. To make this shift, all 7th grade Chromebooks are being recalled in May 2017, and will be redistributed to 8th graders in August. 
    Students and parent/guardians who signed the Responsible Use Agreement in 2016-17 will NOT need to renew that agreement-- it is considered to continue for as long as the student remains at Jordan. Students new to Jordan will need to sign, along with their parent/guardian. 
    Student orientation and staff training continue, with emphasis on responsible use and meaningful integration of technology in education. As we move towards full "saturation" of available devices on campus, students will be prepared for productive, safe and educated use of technology in the digital age.
Questions:  Read the FAQs page (updated), and then contact Sue Pound, Jordan's Tech TOSA - spound@pausd.org
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What's the Future Ready initiative all about?  Palo Alto USD is committed to preparing students for careers and literacy in the digital age. Go to the PAUSD website to read more about what this means for the District.

Here's a handy guide to the 2016-17 Future Ready initiative at Jordan:
Chromebook 1-to-1: All the 411 - FAQs
 

And Here's a copy of the ORIENTATION PRESENTATION that was reviewed with all students receiving Chromebooks.

Here is the RESPONSIBLE USE GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS/GUARDIANS - this document will be delivered electronically to all students and families, and signatures from both are required in order to receive a Chromebook.

Cost of Chromebook Repairs/Returns:  SEE THIS GUIDE



ABOUT THE INITIATIVE:  A survey of staff in the fall of 2015 considered the use of educational technologies at Jordan and asked what direction we should be moving toward in order to facilitate an active and engaging learning environment. By far, the majority of Jordan teaching staff wished for a 1-to-1 environment, so that curriculum would not be dictated by the availability of devices, but that technology devices would be employed in service of a dynamic, flexible curriculum. 1-to-1 is a game-changer for classroom instruction, enabling powerful and immediate connections with real world studies and inquiry. Chromebooks also emerged as the device of choice because of the built-in keyboard, to encourage and support our goal of writing across the curriculum. To explore this mandate from the survey, a Tech Advisory Group was formed-- a large, diverse cross-section of staff from all grade levels and subjects. The group would meet to discuss options and considerations, report out to Departments and/or Teams, and then return to meet again. Over several months' time, our initiative emerged. Here are a few highlights of those discussions:

Recommendation
After much discussion of various possible scenarios, our Tech Advisory Group voted unanimously to recommend that

  • yes, students should be allowed to take Chromebooks home, rather than leaving them at school
  • and, after some initial orientation and training, they should be allowed to take them home shortly after the start of school
Reasoning
The group was initially considering whether the computers should:
  • go home right away with students; or
  • go home after a significant training period such as 3-4 months; or
  • not go home at all.
Ultimately, it was felt that students should be allowed to take them home close to the beginning of school, so that:
  • students will feel pride of possession and be moved to take better care of their laptop (based on evidence from other schools and reporting from our own Jordan pilot 12 years ago)
  • students will be able to use the laptop as a learning tool sooner rather than later
  • Jordan will have a true experience of what it means to have a 1:1 environment in at least one grade level
  • Jordan will not have significant expenditures for more carts in order to warehouse all the laptops for months; or the problem of who would get the carts and how to move them from class to class. Basically, we want to move away from the mobile cart model towards a saturated environment so that laptops become a viable tool for both school and home, and teachers won’t have to plan weeks in advance for access.
  • Looking at the Gunn and Paly models, as well as a few local schools, the choice of Chromebooks is a good one for our population; rugged, minimal breakage issues, long battery life; and, students become familiar with them in 6th grade
  • This year's 8th grade is a large class-- creating a big “bubble” requiring more sections, etc.-- whereas, the current 7th grade is relatively small, only around 365.
  • This year’s 6th grade is known to be another “bubble”-- another large class, that may mean a considerable difference in cost for our first deployment.
  • 7th graders this year will already be familiar with Chromebooks because of their experience in 6th grade; less intimidation, and more knowledge and ease with the device. Training will still be necessary, of course, but the hope is that most students will have better comfort level.