Access On Demand Summary


Access On Demand Summary • Access on Demand Outline

Description • Success Criteria • Resources


The Middle School Technology Visions Committee is tasked with proposing a plan for technology usage in the middle school. This proposal is not intended to be the final plan, but is just one option for the committee to consider.

The school currently has about 330 students. Computer facilities are two labs (22 and 23 computers) with an attached drop-in area (9 computers) on the second floor, a cramped third floor lab (21 computers for the 2002-2003 school year), and cluster in the third floor hallway (about 20 older computers) available for unscheduled use by classes or as a drop-in area for students on a free period. Students also may use the 12 computers in the library. In addition to these computers, most classrooms have  several computers available for student use. The second floor labs and drop-in area are overseen by a lab supervisor (a non-teaching clerical position) who handles scheduling, minor repairs, and provides assistance if needed. In addition, one technology staff member is stationed in the building to maintain equipment and provide troubleshooting, although this member also shares his time with our elementary school.

Scheduling lab time has become an issue as technology classes have essentially committed one lab full time and teachers will not schedule the labs if they are unable to get all of their sections into a lab for a lesson. In addition, several teachers who are very active with technology use the labs frequently, but don't schedule as much as they would like because they try to share with other users. Most users of the labs use common software (Microsoft Office, FrontPage, Inspiration, and Hyperstudio), although the foreign language classes and band classes use specialized software. The technology classes for the 2002-2003 school year consist of a total of nine sections of keyboarding, four sections of technology skills, and three sections each of programming and multimedia.

The school does not use any Internet filtering software and depends on students following appropriate usage policies. Students who do visit inappropriate sites or engage in other inappropriate activities have their access suspended for two weeks and their parents are notified. Students may use any of the public access computers whenever they are not in class with email, instant messaging, and computer games being popular activities. Informal surveys of students indicate that at least a third of them have a laptop computer at home.

In addition, although non-technology related, the school also has two supervised resource centers where students are assigned for study, or if they need a more structured setting for their out-of-class work. Both of these resource center staff positions are considered to be clerical and at usually at least one, if not both, positions are filled by interns on a one-year assignment.

The goal of this proposal is to provide on-demand access for all students in the middle school. The current best technology to achieve that goal are wireless laptops.

The primary parts of the proposal are to:

  • Require every middle school student to have a laptop computer and provide a laptop to every teacher.
  • Install wireless hubs throughout the building
  • Reduce desktop computer locations to one lab, a small drop-in area, and several in the library and remove all other labs, public access computers, and classroom computers.
  • Maintain the one lab and drop-in area with high-end computers for digital video, multimedia, or software that is useful, but too seldom used to consider installing on every machine.
  • Combine the lab manager and a resource center position into one position for a reduction of one in the clerical headcount.
  • Eliminate the current technology skills course and integrate the content into regular classes. (This would not be difficult now. The main hurdle is to assure continuity in classes so that if a teacher who has agreed to integrate that technology into their classes leaves, that technology is still integrated.)
  • Eliminate keyboarding courses and integrate them into the sixth grade language arts classes.
  • Create a 40% position to provide assistance and help with training of teachers. The funds will come from the eliminated courses.
  • Create a formal student tech helpers cadre who will help other students solve problems with their laptops. In addition, recruit high school students to serve on this program as well.

Description • Success Criteria • Resources

Success Criteria

In order for this to be accepted, several success criteria have to be met:

  1. Objections have to met effectively.
  2. Involvement in the decision by teachers, staff, administration, students, and parents.
  3. Addresses the equity issues that arise due to the difference in self-pay versus corporate families.
  4. Agreement by those involved on the reasons and the understanding that the issue is not laptops but access.
  5. Embraced by several champions.
  6. Reduced cost, if possible.
  7. Commitment on the part of the teachers to use the equipment to support learning.
  8. Well thought out plan for implementation maintenance.

My main purpose with the first phase of the proposal is to build enough support within the school that we can start working with parents or that others feel compelled to create detailed alternative proposals.

Description • Success Criteria • Resources

Proposal Resources
An independent site run by educators Fred and Laurie Bartles with the intent of providing information to those considering a laptop program. Their Reflections on the RCDS Laptop Program after One Year provides insight on what went well and what could have been improved.
Microsoft's Anytime, Anywhere Learning Site
Provides links to resources and communities, as well as a step-by-step guide. Unfortunately, you have to print out an order form for the guide and send it in with $9.95. (Way to use tech, Microsoft!). The overview of the Clovis, California implementation is well worth reading as it also deals with equity.
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)
The name is a misnomer since they are a proposal by ISTE, but they are short and very broad. However, many people refer to them, so it's worthwhile being familiar with them.
Laptop Proposal in Limbo
A Wired article telling some of the reasons that the Maine Laptop initiative might be scaled back.
10-Tips to Implementing a Laptop Program
Teresa Cameron's message is a must read, but you have to have access to the Pepperdine news groups.
Apple's Mobile Computing in Education
A propaganda site, but it does have links to interesting articles.
Beth Tfiolh Laptop Pilot Program
The links on this page, although older, point to research on laptops.
St. Paul's Academy Experience
Another website of a school that has made the transition.
Thomas Jefferson High School's voluntary laptop program. Students elect to take the program, but have to buy their own laptops. The program itself is modeled on the Principio Project of the Peddie School.

Lakeside School Experience

Support a Moratorium on Lakeside's Proposed Laptop Program Now!
An anti-laptop site protesting a required purchase of laptops at Lakeside, an independent school. All the same arguments against laptops will tend to come up at other schools. The primary objections are: Lack of a an open process and not tying it to educational objectives. However, I think that the lack of an open process probably caused all of the other issues to surface.
NWREL Report on Lakeside Pilot
Apparently written in early 2001, the NWREL Report appears to be fairly well balanced in views. However, the authors of the report are not stated. The executive summary is also available.
Lakeside Laptop Pilot Homepage
Harold Johanson reports on the positive effects of laptops in the school. A search on "laptops" from the Lakeside homepage gives numerous links to the laptop program that our scattered throughout the site.
Lakeside Head of School Letter to Parents
Bernie Noe writes the reasons why a laptop program should be implemented. He also discusses the cost to parents ($2000) in addition to an 8% tuition increase.
ASIJ Technology Visions Committee Site
Password protected. The site holds the research, including informal surveys of seven schools, of the technology visions committee, for which this proposal is being generated.

Description • Success Criteria • Resources

Access On Demand Summary • Access on Demand Outline


Created 07/02/2002

Last maintained 08/23/2003


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