Device rollout—when students receive their laptops or tablets—is an exciting time in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools community, especially for schools new to the program. Rollout should set the stage for a whole year of learning with technology, but the event is also a celebration—not of the devices, but of what students can do with the technology.
This year, we welcome 31 schools to the 10th cohort of Verizon Innovative Learning Schools. Leaders from several of these new schools and districts shared their tips for a successful rollout:
Digital citizenship is “the responsible use of technology to learn, create, and participate,” according to Common Sense Media. It is incredibly important that not just students but also parents be trained in digital citizenship to ensure appropriate use and care of the devices. Rollout is a great time to begin the discussion, which should continue throughout the school year.
“We had families watch a short video on digital citizenship during rollout,” said Tory Cottle, director of instruction and secondary education for Memphis School of Excellence. “Students then discussed the video with their families and signed a digital citizenship agreement prior to receiving their device. The digital citizenship curriculum that we selected for students to engage in throughout the school year follows this initial introduction.”
Abraham Clark High School in New Jersey hosted grade-specific “pre-rollout” events for students to prepare for the upcoming rollout. Members of the school’s Teacher Leader Corps led “Student Learning Sessions” on topics like device care/digital citizenship, their learning management system, and the user agreement.
School leaders appreciate being able to learn from people who have gone before them. Our team hosts a series of webinars for leaders from the new cohort of schools in the months leading up to rollout to help prepare for the upcoming events, and leaders from previous cohorts often joined these discussions to share their best practices and lessons learned.
“We found that the rollout webinars provided a variety of examples of successful rollouts, empowering us to personalize decisions and plans to be reflective of our district and community’s culture and needs,” said Kraig Howell, director of accountability and professional learning for Jasper County Charter System in Georgia.
Rollout should be a celebration. So while there may be some mundane tasks like signing paperwork, find ways to make it fun. For example, Memphis School of Excellence created “passports” that families got stamped as they rotated through the various stations. “Only a full passport would allow them to check out their device,” Cottle explained. “This ensured that students and families received all of the information that they needed before receiving their new devices.”
Other schools utilized a “fastpass” in which families who completed all of the required paperwork before rollout could go straight to receiving their devices without having to rotate through stations so they could get to the “fun part” quicker. This included STEM stations hosted by the school’s student tech team, where students participated in activities like programming Sphero Mini robot balls. Moreover, Abraham Clark High School had incentives like door prizes for families who completed their paperwork digitally.
Forming a student tech team before the school year begins allows schools to involve these students in the rollout process, giving the students a visible leadership role from the get-go. The student tech team can help with everything from handing out devices to running learning stations and STEM activities.
Rollout is an exciting time—it’s the beginning of new, powerful learning opportunities that are made possible with technology. It will be the first of many occasions to celebrate and learn with students and families, showcasing how technology and access can transform what learning looks like.
Explore our Device Rollout Toolkit for more tips from Verizon Innovative Learning Schools on rolling out devices to students as part of a 1:1 device initiative. To learn more about Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, visit verizon.digitalpromise.org.