Schools all across the country are flocking to the concept of 1:1 learning, which is the concept of one laptop for every student and teacher in the school. While the benefits and success stories of a 1:1 learning initiative have been well published, there has been little information published about the implementation strategies used by technical coordinators in these initiatives. However, there are several key areas for a successful implementation of a 1:1 learning initiative, including having a solid network infrastructure, properly configuring and managing the laptops, tracking laptop inventory, and having an excellent laptop Help Desk.
From the technical side, having a reliable network is truly the cornerstone of a successful 1:1 initiative. The biggest concern regarding network infrastructure and the deployment of a 1:1 initiative is whether the network will be able to support the rapid growth in users. At the very minimum, this means doing an extensive evaluation of the Internet connection, wireless infrastructure, and server infrastructure. When the educational environment is dependent upon up-to-date information, the connection to the Internet must be reliable and fast enough to support all of the users on the network. The users must also be able to access the network from everywhere in the building, so an extensive wireless infrastructure is also necessary. Finally, the servers have to allow the users to communicate and collaborate over the network through a wide variety of services, such as Email and other classroom management software.
- Is your connection to the Internet reliable?
- Is there enough bandwidth to support all of your users?
- Does your district have a way to monitor and manage bandwidth?
- Are there enough access points to support the number of users?
- Are there any academic areas without wireless coverage?
- Do you have a way to monitor the laptops?
- Do you have a means to install software on computers remotely?
- Do student have access to all the resources available?
- Can student’s change settings that shouldn’t be changed?
- Do you have a system to checkout laptops to users?
- Do you have a comprehensive inventory record of all the laptops?
- Can you easily lookup what laptop each student has?
- Is someone available to help users with problems?
- How will the laptops repairs be managed?
- Are there an adequate number of technicians?