In addition to our upcoming 1:1 program that will provide Chromebooks for all of our secondary students, we’ll also begin a process this fall to substantially improve our device availability in our elementary buildings.
Currently, our base district deployment of elementary student-accessible devices (laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, desktops) totals to a 3.44:1 student-to-device ratio. This ratio includes devices issued as part of the district’s overall allocation, but does not include grant-funded, special education-funded, PTO-funded, IEP-required, teacher-issued, pilot, or hub devices. While a 3.44:1 ratio was close to average for elementary device deployments five years ago, the increasing integration of technology skills, coding, web-based resources, and web-based assessments into our curriculum creates challenges with our existing ratio.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, ICCSD will be deploying student-accessible devices to elementary schools at an average 2:1 ratio (+/- .2 depending upon the results of a currently-open RFP). This change will result in an additional 80 devices per school on average. Further, whereas in our current deployment model we allocate devices in the same way in each building (2 computers per classroom, one static computer lab per school, one Chromebook cart per school), the new deployment model will give buildings the flexibility to choose what types of devices they receive (Windows laptops/desktops, Chromebooks, or iPads), and how those should be allocated. For instance, one school may choose to assign all devices to mobile carts will full-class sets, while another may choose to assign some devices to full-class sets, while still allocating two devices per room. Some schools may choose to continue to have stationary labs, while others may go with mobile devices only.
In addition to changing our allocation ratio, we’re also changing our device lifecycle. Currently, the district uses a 6-year replacement cycle for all technology. This is too long, particularly for laptops and Chromebooks that are becoming ubiquitous in our classrooms. As such, ICCSD is switching to a four-year replacement cycle for technology; the only exception is a shorter three-year replacement cycle for student-issued Chromebooks as part of the secondary 1:1 program. Further, we’re moving away from our current upgrade cycle of 1/3 of the tech in each building every other year, in favor of a full-building upgrade cycle where all student-use devices and classroom technology will be upgraded in an entire building at a time.
While I’d love to get these devices into students’ hands today, our budget reality dictates that we deploy the new ratio to schools on a schedule. This deployment will match the schedule for classroom technology upgrades, which includes the following buildings by year:
- Liberty HS, New Hoover, Twain, Hills, Transitions
- North Central JH, North West JH, Southeast JH, Longfellow, Borlaug, Wood, Weber, Shimek
- City HS, Coralville Central, Horn, Kirkwood, Alexander, Tate, Grant, Lincoln
- West HS, Lemme, Lucas, TREC, Mann, Garner
- Penn, Van Allen, Twain, Hills, Wickham, Transitions, Liberty HS, Hoover
As we move forward through this deployment, every effort will be made to consolidate buildings earlier on the schedule. Furthermore, buildings that do not appear on the schedule until later years will still get device replacements on our current device replacement cycle, in the same years that they would have received them previously.
I’m excited that we’re able to offer a substantial improvement in technology access in all of our schools, but am also committed to continuing to evaluate our deployment and explore ways that we can support increased technology access and innovative technology implementations moving forward.