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District Behind Successful One-to-One Laptop Initiative Reveals Tips

District Behind Successful One-to-One Laptop Initiative Reveals Tips for Educators

Administrators from the Savannah-Chatham County Schools in Georgia are sharing lessons they learned from from the positive outcomes of making a successful one-to-one laptop initiative in their schools via TheJournal.com.

The pilot program through which the schools launched from is called Laptop for Learning Program (L4LP), and it became a vital tool for the classroom through its combined use with the free digital resource- SAS Curriculum Pathways and Google Apps.

"Available to educators at no cost, this product provided interactive, standards-based content in all the core disciplines for grades 6 -12 students. Plus, the materials were linked to state and Common Core standards," the article said.

Though the administration was unsure what kind of results the new tech initiative would yield," 93 percent of L4LP students passed their ninth-grade composition and literature test. Among the traditionally taught students, the pass rate was 80 percent."

The district has advice for other interested schools in how to deal with challenges that occur with such one-to-one initiatives in order to make them successful.

First, the district suggests ensuring there are enough tech support coaches to handle the challenges of implementing a new problem and also showing students how to operate laptops away from school, how to connect to WiFi hotspots outside the building, and how to answer "questions from parents who may never have had a computer in their homes previously." For the Savannah-Chatham County Schools, it found that its original one technology coach was not enough for seven schools.

The district also suggests having parents on board and informed while launching the initiative, meaning considering and engaging parent schedules. Though the program implementers devised four different events throughout the school year to share with parents student progress using the L4LP throughout the year, the rates of parent attendance were mixed.

"Parents at the high school level responded well and there was a good turnout; however, the response was not as strong at the middle grades. This may be attributable to the timing of the engagement events at the middle school location, which were just after school dismissal," according to the article.

The district recommends that others looking to take on similar initiatives spend more time coordinating schedules with parents to ensure they are on the same page.

For teachers, the district recommends utilizing 24/7 access to online training so that teachers can plan and train at their own convenience.

And for extra support, those behind the L4LP initiative suggest reaching out to local universities that prepare teachers to find an extra set of hands for support programs.

"To help them gain this experience, pre-service teacher candidates can become valuable resources to support programs of this nature if assigned to pilot classrooms during their field placements. Veteran teachers can also benefit by having an additional support person available during the implementation phase of the program," the article said.

Read more about the L4LP initiative and its lessons here. Comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/27/2015

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