Sunday, March 28, 2010

Laptops for Teachers - Part III (Reality)

Dell laptop keyboardImage by bigpresh via Flickr

If you follow this blog you know I have been talking about laptops for teachers in my district for almost a year now. The early stages began in April 2009, when I started researching and communicating with colleagues from across the country. I also posed these questions in a blog entry. Then in the fall, I collected data within my own district to get a lay of the land from our teachers. That data along with my thoughts moving forward can be found here.

After reviewing all the data with our administration and discussing key pieces such as financial details, professional development and overall implementation strategy, I am extremely excited to announce that we are moving forward with this project.

We completed the RFQ process in late February and spent a few weeks evaluating the quotes and discussing specifics internally on which vendor best met our needs. We selected Dell as our vendor partner for this project because of their commitment to the success of this project, their comprehensive professional development plan and their ability to meet all specifications of the project, including our budget.

Over the next few days / weeks, we will work with Dell to determine our road map for the project including ordering, staging, deployment and PD time line. The piece that excites me most about this project is the professional development piece. I firmly believe that Dell's vision for improving the implementation and integration of technology by our teachers in the classroom will continue to enhance student engagement and increase student learning. I feel confident the strategies and research they provide will mesh seamlessly with our professional learning communities and foster an open environment for technology sharing and collaboration.

We plan to use an academy style model where we will have model teachers that will receive a bulk of the face-to-face training by our vendor partner. In turn, they will go back to their schools and serve as the support and trainers for people within their building. I have seen several local, regional and national examples of this model being successful and am confident it will be so in our district.

Our tentative overall time line for the next few months looks something like this:
  • Ordering / Paperwork / Financial Details - Late March / Early April
  • Receive Laptops from Vendor Partner - Late May
  • Image / Setup of Laptops for Teachers - June - mid-July
  • Deliever Laptops to Teachers - mid-July
  • Begin Professional Development for Model Teachers - mid-July - early August
  • School begins - early August
I believe this project has the potential to have the most impact of any project since I have been serving as CIO of this district. I am excited for the possibilities that lie ahead, thankful for the support of our administration and school board and anxious of working out all the details / bugs over the coming days / weeks. Be sure to stay tuned as I share our successes and bumps in the road from this project.

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