One District’s Search for the Next-Gen Device Part II

As I mentioned in my last posting, our district is in the process of selecting a device for our 10th year of our one to one initiative.  Our district is also embracing the concept of expanding the program to our middle school. As a result, conversation around the educational needs has also expanded.

In Leslie Wilson’s last post, Can you answer these one-to-one essential questions, she cited some of the key points that we have continued to raise for the last nine years in our stakeholder planning committee.  Whether you are just starting down the road to one to one or whether you have a well- established program, the dialogue should remain dynamic.

Leslie asks ‘What student goals have been realized through the use of what technology tools, social media, online collaboration, digital resources? We are asking the same question through a different lens; the selection of the new device.  By providing students and staff with ubiquitous use of a device with a robust infrastructure, each user is provided with the freedom to personalize their learning.  With the convergence of the consumer and enterprise-type devices, we should be seeing that the type of device is less important, however, it is just the opposite.

Some of the questions that we are posing to our students, teachers and administrators include, what form factor will allow each of our users the choice of the type of collaboration and content creation they prefer instead of the one-size-fits all model?  In addition, one of the constraints that we have for this evaluation period is the need for compliance for the state participation in the PARCC assessment which mandates a physical keyboard. The next question that we struggle with on our committee is the need to add the functionality of writing digitally with a stylus as we used to have in the district.

Leslie also references the need to examine your infrastructure. In addition, it is necessary to examine  the necessary bandwidth to support the number of users and devices (as well as the implementation of the PARCC or SmartBalance assessments), and   the ability to monitor the network  for  security reasons and for setting priorities of the services. The network should be evaluated and upgraded as needed before implementing a one to one.

Below are some of the key points that we evaluate before putting these devices in the hands of our student, teachers and administrative evaluators.:

  1. Screen size
  2. Processor type
  3. Number of cores to the processor
  4. RAM
  5. Operating System
  6. Weight of the devices
  7. Compatibility with current infrastructure
  8. Available ports on the device
  9. Battery life
  10. Weight

Please share with us the types of devices and criteria you are evaluating on your stakeholder committees.

My next posting will provide a sample of the rubric we have developed for our evaluators. Please share your rubrics with our readers.


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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