Thursday, April 8, 2010

Iowa 1:1 Institute: Management of Laptop Initiatives and School Networks

In this session, Jim Casey, CAM High School and Middle School Network Manager presented information about his district's experience with 1:1 over the last 2 years.

He is a strong advocate for 1:1, especially Apple! He started by sharing a little about himself. He went to college to be a teacher and found out he couldn’t do that, but ended up in IT and his own business. Now he runs the IT at CAM. Jim was very self-depricating, but in fact he is a great educator! It was evident in his session that he really understands the importance of creating a system that allows students enough freedom to fail, and learn from those failures in a positive way.

They are in the 2nd year of 1:1 with 6-8 and 9-12 buildings.

He feels that 1:1 has leveled out the playing field in smaller districts. Everyone is on the same device. Surprised him that not only did it help the students but it also helped the teachers. All in the same boat.

When planning, the last thing you want to do is roll something out that doesn’t work! (Ain’t that the truth!)

1) Wireless needs to be ready! They use Apple base stations for theirs. Make sure budget for the network is built in, not just the laptop!

2) Gigabit switches to all base stations. This has made the day to day bandwidth much less of a problem.

3) They run 2 GB of RAM, and have more robust machines for the Project Lead the Way students

4) Don’t underestimate the server! Portable home directories with control, but not too much! Workgroup manager allows for great control over what can be downloaded.

5) It’s not a facist regime! I could tie them down, but the kids need to be able to learn!

6) Can’t back up everything! Movies, etc.. need to be saved on the Hard drive.

7) Apple was very supportive with on-site help, AppleCare

120 at Middle school, 170 at the high school.

Surprised that some of the damage has come from the teachers!

Factor in loaners. They underestimated the number needed. They only got 3 per hundred and realized they were too few right away!

Get good cases. Make sure kids are using the cases when the computer is transported.

He was surprised that kids felt entitled right away that the laptop was theirs, until it broke, then it was yours and it needed fixing right away!!

Initial reaction was take the device away. Instead of taking the laptop away, take away the fun stuff! (Workgroup manager on the server. Sets up a restricted group that kids get moved to with only Office or the applications you want and no browser access.)

Get the configuration you want, not the configuration you settle for… Get the device configured to last the 3 years you will have them.

Roll out. (Apple handled it for their district) Some parents “Awesome!” some “You just brought the devil into my house!”

3 20 minute work groups for parents Care and Feeding, Acceptable Use, and Internet Safety. This is similar to the roll out we did with our parents.

Remind the parents that they are the parents! If they don’t want the laptop in the kids bedroom, don’t let them!

Good tips, from a "Techy" who really "Gets IT!"

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