Image by DanieVDM via FlickrI blogged about 7 months ago about Laptops for Teachers. I raised questions such as: Laptops v. Netbooks? Are you really getting "free work"? Back-up devices on-site? Content filtering off-site? Should teacher devices come before student devices? All of those questions spawned conversations, thoughts and ideas that have allowed me to put a good grasp on what a Laptop Program for Teachers in our district would look like. Thus, we are on to the next phase. Gathering data.
This past week I sent out a survey to all 320+ teachers in our district asking four questions. The purpose of the survey is to determine 1. existing teacher station conditions, 2. Laptop vs. Desktop teacher preference 3. Would they be opposed to the additional PD that would most likely accompany such a program.
I have still only received responses from approximately half the teachers and am waiting a few more days before closing the survey, but so far, it has gone as expected. Over 70% of teachers who have responded say their current teacher station causes problems / experiences slowness in their daily instructional routine. A little under 75% would prefer a laptop versus a new desktop. That same amount would have no problem with the additional professional development.
What does all this mean? First, we have a problem with our existing teacher stations. That number is way too high and needs to be addressed, both short term and long term. The short term solution, we are upgrading the memory in as many machines as possible to reduce the poor user experience during instructional time. Second, and as I anticipated, not all teachers want/need a laptop. We have 1/4 of the teachers who have responded thus far who would just prefer to either keep their existing desktop or have it upgraded. Third, those who would like to receive the laptop are not opposed to the additional PD that would be required of them. The PD would not be a basic "how to use a laptop", but rather tailored to the need of each school's instructional technology goals and designed on how to best integrate technology day in and day out.
The data collection continues this week and I hope to have final results soon. Once the data collection is complete, it will be shared with the stakeholders and from there we will begin discussing next steps.
Update: (November 17)
The data collection is complete. The numbers mentioned above held true to form. I had a meeting with other administrators last week to determine the next steps. My next task is to work on the requirements and pieces of how this project would be shaped. I will continue to keep you posted.
JDS | CIO