Moving Ahead with One to One - 10 Years Later!

As I mentioned in my last post, we are entering our tenth year of our one to one and I was happy to report that our district supported extending the initiative to our middle school.  We setup our student and staff committees, collaboratively developed a plan for the must-haves, developed a rubric for  each committee, and then began testing devices.

Student Voice Matters

The students were amazing with their input. They took their participation on our panel very seriously and exceeded our expectations when articulating their needs  for using technology to personalize their learning. They used their devices for all of their classes, surveyed their peers on the attributes of each of the configurations and then recorded their findings in their rubrics.   We regrouped occasionally to continue our dialog and through those meetings we were able to target a device to meet their needs.  We even brought the students into the financial side of the discussion so they could understand all of the parameters that needed to be addressed for the sustainability of the initiative.  The group brought their discussions to a consensus agreement to move ahead with the recommendation to our board of education to procure the HP ProBook11EE for the middle school students and the HP 820 for the high school students as the next-generation River Dell devices.    They also shared excitement over the added functionality of migrating to Windows 8.1 and to Office365 which will allow for greater collaborative experiences among students.

Teacher Voice Empowers

The staff committee focused on our district’s mission to improve teaching and learning and to be completely untethered in their classrooms with wireless projection capabilities. With those goals in mind, we had an open dialogue on the parameters of our possible devices to meet their needs and they, too, shared the configurations and functionality of their test devices with their colleagues for a greater input.  They expressed a strong desire to continue with a fully functional laptop loaded with Microsoft Office, the  Adobe creative suite,  all of the STEM software for our research, robotics and engineering classes and the exciting new features for learning with Windows 8.1 and Office 365.   After several months of testing, we saw a pattern emerging where staff returned the devices that could not support their curriculum and\or were ‘too heavy’ for walking around the classroom.  Their device selection was unanimous in their recommendation to move forward for year 10 of our one to one initiative with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.   Their teaching station will continue to be standardized for all instructional spaces to include a wireless connectivity to the projector, docking station\port replicator,  and a large monitor.

Collaboration Strengthens

It is hard as leaders to give up complete control of the decision making process but, at the same time, it is a valuable gift to allow others to develop their voice.  The staff and students spoke loud and clear and made this decision a collaborative effort that we all celebrate.

My next post will include moving forward with Windows 8.1 and Office 365 and the professional development to make it work.


Marianthe Williams has been a district level administrator supporting teaching and learning with technology and professional learning for the past 15 years. Most recently, she has supported the River Dell Regional School District in the implementation of their one-to-one computing initiative which is about to enter its ninth year at the high school. In addition, she supports technology infusion into the middle school’s learner-centered environment. Williams created an elite team of technology turnkey teacher trainers within each discipline who provide ongoing, personalized options through face- to-face, on-demand and flipped professional learning opportunities to their colleagues. She is active in several state and local technology director associations and she currently serves on the technology committee for the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.

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