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Nebraska 24-7 Laptop Initiative Q & A


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We are very excited at Bloomfield Community Schools!  Due to incentive monies received from the federal government and creative budgeting of technology funds, we are able to provide 21st Century Learning for our students in grades 7-12!  Moreover, we are able to give them access to that learning 24 hours a day!

 

Nebraska 24-7 [1-1 Laptop] Initiative – A Few Questions and Answers

 

1. Why do kids today need this stuff to learn – we didn’t need it?

Today’s kids are digital natives and rely on technology as a way to communicate.  We MUST communicate on their level if we are going to teach them anything.  Moreover; colleges and the work force have expectations of students leaving high school with the digital skills to become effective members of that organization.  Technology literacy is the ability to responsibly use appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information to improve learning in ALL subject areas and to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st century.

2. Does the High School need to be re-wired to handle all the laptops for Internet hook-ups, power plug-ins, etc.?

The short answer here is "no".  We will need to install wireless infrastructure, but that will work off of the existing wiring.  No additional power outlets are needed; most student machines will make it through the day on a single charge (depending on usage).

3. What are the advantages of all students having laptops? Are there any disadvantages?

Integrating technology improves student enthusiasm toward learning AND when students are actively engaged in learning, they achieve more!  Another huge advantage is TOTAL EQUITY for all students and providing equal learning opportunities for everyone.  Laptops extend the class day to 24 hours.  Teachers can assign one project/assignment to a class and know that everyone has the same tools to complete the task.  Another advantage is that information can be immediately shared between students and teachers; this allows for curriculums to be structured to challenge those students that otherwise are not challenged by the traditional curriculum.  

4. Are there Federal Funds available for this project for which Bloomfield Schools would be eligible?

Most schools utilize a variety of funds to pay for a project of this magnitude.  Often a combination of ERATE, REAP, and Title monies can be put toward this purchase, however for the sake of sustainability, most schools choose to utilize general fund dollars. 

5. How many IT People are we going to need for this project?

One dedicated IT person will be more than sufficient.  Often times, small schools suggest that this person also be the "integration specialist" similar to the role that Katie Morrow of O’Neill Public Schools has or similar to Renae Johnson’s role. 

6. What’s this going to cost the School District?

This varies considerably, however for most districts $2.50 per student, per day will usually cover the total cost.  That cost includes the following: All hardware including server; wireless upgrade; professional installation services; professional development for the staff; 3-4 year warranties and software maintenance.  Currently, Bloomfield’s district average on technology expenditures is $2.41 per student per day. 

7. Is this project going to raise our taxes?

No.  We will likely be repurposing funds and no additional taxes will be required for initiating or sustaining the project.

8. Is this going to hurt or take away from any of the other courses or classes offered here at BHS?

Elaboration on the question would be needed to address individual class impact. That said, properly planned, this can be one of the best tools students will use throughout their education.

9. Do we have to get all our courses made into computer programs or what?

No.  Most schools do not ask teachers to change what they're teaching, only how they utilize that content. Online tools, such as Blackboard, Angel, or StudyWiz can help digitize some of the educational content; however the bigger picture of what teachers will be "teaching" will not change.  This technology does not replace the teacher; but rather allows the teacher to enhance his/her learning on the subject material.

10. How computer savvy are our teachers or staff going to have to be and will they have to be educated more on using computers and using the computer programs? If so, will this be extra cost to the District?

One of the most important parts of a laptop initiative is professional development.  We will include this cost into the overall plan.  Apple is the only computer company that offers professional development classes that span from digital literacy to curriculum integration to leadership and assessment training.

11. How do we compare to other Districts in this area of technology or computers being used by their students?

This is a challenging question to answer due to the diversity of Nebraska school districts.  However, with laptop initiatives at 25 districts and dozens more looking or considering implementation this year or next, we are nearing the tipping point. What we do know is that technology is the language of today's students, and if we can provide equal access to all students, even just in high school, we are providing them with opportunities that they might not have had otherwise and we are preparing them to be competent contributors in today’s digital society.  

12. Can’t we get a cheaper product?

Part for part Apple’s prices are competitive.  No other company has iLife which is the basis for learning in every digital classroom.

13. What happens when they break?  Who pays?

If it is warranty related, we pay.  If not, your insurance pays.

14. Does everyone have to buy the Internet at home?

No - the difference between our technology and Windows technology is our non-reliance on the Internet to be productive.  That’s the beauty of iLife and all the digital tools built right into each one of our machines.

15.  What about Internet safety?

Computers are set up with software that allows the school to monitor where the student is or has been.  This system allows teachers and/or administrators to immediately lock individual computers if the need should arise.  This program digitally records each student screen every 30 seconds even when students are working from home.

 

If you have any other questions, please contact Principal Kimberly Lingenfelter: klingen@esu1.org.  Thank you!!

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Bloomfield Schools311 E Benton PO Box 308Bloomfield, NE  68718

402-373-4800Fax: 402-373-2712

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