In my best Florida Georgia Line…We wanted to celebrate our students receiving their tablets with a super huge Roll Out Day. We are unable to do it quite yet, so we became very flexible and decided to “roll with it”. Mr. Boles and I came up with a tentative plan for having a Soft Roll Out during the school day. Students would set up their tablets. familiarize themselves with the devices and we could check how well our system could handle the technology. Although, the idea of a giant celebration is very alluring, providing a safe and stable arena for the 1:1 implementation became even more attractive. If we could do a test run in school, it would enable the students to have a better experience at home. After several adjustments, we had a plan! This is what we had been waiting for! Our students would finally have 1:1 access. So today was the day, and I had little sleep last night! Several of us got to school early to make sure everything was ready. We unplugged the last set of tablets charging and placed them in their homeroom boxes. It was nonstop, but here are some notes from today!
Tiger Techs are certifiable Rock Stars! We should all have our own personal Tiger Techs!
Tiger Techs were awesome today! Our Tiger Techs are a select group of students who received their tablets early (they only had access to them in school), in order to be prepared to be tech support for school. “Very helpful and well prepared!”, was the common sentiment. They were very confident in their abilities and could communicate directions clearly to all classes. We provided Tiger Techs with their tablets early, so that they could be comfortable with the devices.They also provided great feedback about the process, the Student Basic Checklist and the actual Soft Roll Out day. The Tiger Techs are also responsible for collecting and curating stories to document our journey. They are a treasure and a golden resource!
The following are some 7th grade student responses from today. Several are Tiger Techs.
Tiger Techs and 7th Grade Students
Cierra, “Checklist was easy to complete. Basic Checklist was a great idea.”
James, “Students becoming the experts. I was glad that I could actually answer questions.”
Jason, “All the students could pick up how to use the tablet quickly, the teachers needed more tech support.”
Danica, “A lot of things: Students were fast learners, it was nice to be the teacher for once.”
Cassidy, “Time to play with the device, and personalizing it.”
Zaeem, “I learned that some students are a lot faster than other students. So you learned from other students. I learned a lot from the other students and I didn’t think that I would.”
Rebecca, “That there was District Tech Support on hand, so that everyone could get on today.”
The frequency of peer to peer and teacher to student collaboration had increased overnight! Students are empowered, focused on a goal and providing a service to their peers and teachers. They are also learning and growing in the process.
Planning the Roll Out
Decision Making and Logistics
After deciding on a Soft Roll Out date, we decided that tablets would be distributed by homerooms. After casing, we put them in boxes according to homerooms.
Sandra Pierce, School Secretary and Joan Bradley, Instructional Support Teacher helping to prepare the tablets.
We created a plan for charging, bagging and casing the tablets. Members of the faculty, secretaries included; helped to unbox and case the tablets. This was quite a process and took several days after school and many volunteered prep periods. We purchased large gallon storage bags to hold tablets and accessories. Keeping the tablets in the baggies allowed for easier access for charging.
The baggies included:
Case and Tablet Literatur
Box Tabs (We cut off the tabs because they contained identification information of homeroom, student name, and tablet number.)
Charging the tablets took quite a bit of time. Mr. Boles and several staff members, routinely switched out tablets to be charged. Mr. Boles even came in over the weekend to switch out tablets. We organized the boxes by homeroom.
The day before our Soft Roll Out, we went through the homerooms to double check all tablets were there, and finished charging tablets. We placed Student Basic Tablet checklists into the homeroom boxes and checked tablets via homeroom attendance lists.
Google Access was also on “to do” list, the day before our Soft Roll Out. We made sure that our students were able to sign on to their Google accounts. Students needed their Google accounts to have access to the Google Apps and to set up their Samsung Galaxy 2014 Note tablets. We made note if they were unable, and had Bristol Township Technology Support on campus today, to help with the issue. We had about 30 students who had difficulty, but were eventually able to get on. This was a crucial step, as it allowed students to set up their tablets quickly. Having that Technology Support really ensured success.
Support for faculty was provided by many personnel. Teachers who did not have a homeroom were assigned to homerooms that were ELL or Special Education. Tiger Techs were also in those rooms. Some teachers floated to assist with monitoring students and hallways.Teachers were kept up-to-date through emails.
The morning of Roll Out consisted of checking to make sure that all homerooms had their tablets. Only one tablet was placed into the wrong homeroom box. Definite Victory! Students were very capable of operating the devices and really enjoyed becoming familiar with them. Excitement and enthusiasm filled the classrooms and the halls! Many teachers were anxious before the checklist process, but after checking in, all of the teachers were moving through and accomplishing the agenda. Our teachers were given a schedule that provided some guidelines on how to schedule their day. They were fabulous!
At the end of the day, the students returned to homeroom. Tablets were collected, counted and returned. Students who were absent had their tablets placed in a separate box, held in the tablet holding area, and returned to their homeroom box at the end of the day.
Make sure your MDM and Filtering are in place, immediately after your wifi! We are so ready to send the tablets home, but we are waiting to make sure that our students are safe while on the internet.
Our teachers have had their tablets since the first day of school. Professional development provided our teachers many opportunities to become familiar with the tablets, freeing them to experiment with Apps, strategies and lessons. Although a great deal of time had been planned for Professional Development, more time allowing teachers to familiarize themselves with the tablet could always prove beneficial.
Communication, Communication, Communications! Oh, and did I mention communication? However you can relay the message, do it! Some ideas I have been contemplating today.
Digital Citizenship Badging
Students went through 6 lessons that we modified from Common Sense Media’s 1:1 Bootcamp. After completing the lessons, students then took tests online through the Edmodo platform. We rotated the Social Studies classes so that we could assess all students. There were many retests. It seems that taking a test online is quite different than on paper. Should this be an epiphany? ELL and Students identified with special learning abilities had questions read to them, and in some instances had to take the tests on paper. Silly me, made it a requirement that all students receive a 90% average on all Digital Citizenship Tests to receive their badges. I can’t even count how many needed to retake because they earned an 80%. So next year, 80% it is!!!!
Student Voices about Lessons Learned
Kathy Mahoney, School Nurse, “Great job! The kids are so excited! It was all they were talking about in my office!”
Zaeem, “Many students were pretty adventurous with the tablets and were able to help each other.”
Cierra, “Accessories were confusing at first, but then we got clarity.”
James, “ I had to restart the tablet and go to the setup, make sure that you are following the checklist.”
Danica, “You have to go step by step and by the learner’s pace and you need to be with them the whole.”
Zaeem, “Follow directions.”
Jason, “Be prepared to go where you will not know anyone, but as I began helping others I calmed down and realized that everyone will need some help with earning.”
Pretty enlightening and profoundly accurate!
There were so many steps that needed to be explained, emailed and communicated. I would like for our Google+ Community to be the centralized location for this information. We are making that our goal. I think that the faculty appreciates being informed as much as possible and sometimes things get lost in emails. Another need is to keep track of the tabs, the accessories and the baggie contents. If we are diligent about this, our hard Roll Out will be a success! Teachers had concerns about helping the students, but they soon realized that our children are very comfortable with exploring technology. I believe a lot of their concerns were alleviated. We know that there will be some hiccups, but we are doing this slowly to increase our students’ success. It is imperative that we communicate that this process will have ups and downs. Today however, more ups than downs.
Student Voices about Needs and Concerns
Zaeem, “Make our pace as flexible as possible!”
Danica, “We need to learn how to communicate what we need help with.”
Cierra, “The teachers need to address what the students are doing with the tablets during instructional time.”
James, “What if they use too much of their data and not have access to do their homework?”
I am sure there will be more concerns shared in the days ahead, but our planning and preparation make the Big Day, the day the students take their tablets home, seem to be attainable with only minor adjustments. Tomorrow, the students will take their tablets to class. Students and teachers will be using their tablets for the first time in the classroom! Although, the MDM is not in place our filter is working and the students will be in a safe online environment. Teachers have shared their plans for tomorrow, and I swear they are just as excited as the students. Our planning and preparation pleasantly surprised them. Many of their fears did not come to fruition. I heard statements such as,
“That went really smoothly!”
“The kids really picked it up quick!”
“That checklist really helped out!”
“Those Tiger Techs were so helpful! Love that Brandon, he was so patient with my guys!”
Do you remember that feeling you got, when you took off without your training wheels? I have that feeling right now. I hope it’s contagious! We need to keep pedaling, so we can keep on rolling!
Day Two of the Soft Roll Out
The students took their tablets with them to class today. It is an early dismissal day, and the periods were shortened. We began our day distributing the tablets. The homeroom teachers were instructed to keep the baggies and allow students to sign out their tablets. After homeroom any student who was not able to sign on to their tablets yesterday, came to my room and was assisted by a Tiger Tech. Did I mention how vital their role is to our success of this Soft Roll Out! They were able to help the students sign on, add the Google account and help them work through the Student Checklist. As I walked through the halls, I heard cheering, clapping and laughing. Many classes were playing Kahoot, on Nearpod Presentations and teachers were sharing all of the “cool things” that they learned from our students. I am pinching myself. We did have some issues with 2 tablets being forgotten in a class and left in an unlocked locker. We have spoken with these students and reminded them of the Digital Citizenship skills that they will need to demonstrate while using their tablets. The teachers are still pleased with the Roll Out process and are sharing videos in our Google+ community.
In the Near Future
Our next step is to make sure that the parents and community are continually informed about this process and understand the importance of insuring the tablets and providing a safe online environment. The process has taken longer than we expected, but it is better to be cautious and safe rather than allowing our students to be placed into risky situations. Mr. Boles sent out a letter explaining where we are in this process. The MDM and Filtering are being addressed and they should be ready soon. The issue of insuring the tablets is also being addressed. Mr Boles has determined that our annual fundraising monies can be directly applied to the insurance premiums. Our fundraiser this year is to sell coupon books for $20 a piece. The school will receive $10 of each order. The insurance premium is $28. If a student sells 3 books, they have essentially paid for their insurance.
Simply, the next steps are:
MDM and Filtering
Tablets are Insured
Distribute Tablets to Students and their Guardians
Continue the process of leveraging technology to close the digital gap.
And that folks is how we roll, in the 1:1 journey!