Frequently Asked Questions
Heartland Laptop Initiative
How will the 1:1 initiative and technology change learning?
Research shows that the 1:1 initiative “levels the playing field” for all students, regardless of any family’s economic situation.
- Creates 21st Century Learners
- Demands collaboration between students & students and students & teachers
- Encourages collaboration between all members of the educational community. We are defining the educational community as anyone a student or teacher can connect with to improve and enhance learning. This community may be the Iowa Great Lakes Region, students and teachers from around Iowa, and even students and teachers from around the nation and the world.
- Promotes student engagement
- Reduces textbooks and worksheets
- Guides students in the production of knowledge
- Opens opportunities for education at all levels in our community.
- Allows access to current information and a means to manipulate information in ways that connect learning opportunities
- Increases enthusiasm due to the ability to use the web and other technological sites
- Promotes student pride through creative opportunities as opposed to textbook and worksheet assignments
- Improves students’ ability to self-assess and set learning goals
- Increases interactive possibilities with teachers and other students
How will the 1:1 initiative and technology change teaching?
21st Century education/teaching involves active learning, learning communities, and technology converging to create new school environments for students and teachers. The most important thing a child can have in school is a great teacher facilitating learning in their classroom. Teachers need to take on the role of facilitator of learning to:
- Help students learn to manage their time and projects
- Continue to push higher-order thinking in all learning opportunities
- Teach laptop/computer ethical and responsible usage of technology
- Assign tasks of inquiry, collaboration, research, and polished/published writing knowing that students have the needed resources
- Provide student opportunities including independent learning and practice
- Collaborate through interdisciplinary teaching and online professional development
- Provide practice, review sessions, additional readings and differentiated learning for all students
What are the specific goals of implementing the Laptop Project at Heartland?
The goals of the project are increased student achievement through the improvement of 21st century skill sets for our students and staff. Areas of emphasis will include:
- Creativity and innovation
- Communication and collaboration
- Research and information fluency
- Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
- Digital citizenship
- Technological operations and concepts
We are hopeful that education takes on a different look and feel. We hope that students are collaborating within and outside of the school walls, that they are researching and uncovering information that they never knew existed, and that they utilize the technology as a tool to help them create bigger and better ideas.
Computers as textbooks?
Absolutely! Textbooks should be a resource for learning and there are a plethora of online resources out there and the collection continues to grow. While we will still have textbooks in our schools for a number of years, their use will be defined by each individual teacher.
How will this program be paid for?
This project has been planned many years in advance and funds have been set aside for purchasing the technology and for replacing the technology in the future.
Will students be allowed to take their laptops home?
Learning today is a 24-hour process. In schools where the 1:1 initiative is most successful, educators have come to appreciate the higher level thinking behind projects which involves the time, energy and depth of knowledge students use to produce evidence of learning. The confines of the traditional school day limit students. Some of the computer use may be off-line, and students will be allowed to download information from the web during the school day to access at home if they do not have personal Internet access outside of the school day. We will be encouraging students to take their laptops home to allow them to be used and charged properly. Taking them home also levels the playing field for all students to ensure that they will have access to some minimum standard of educational resource (in this case the laptops). The school laptops will have all of the software and applications the students need to successfully complete their school work. This is also helpful for teachers and works to maximize the investment in this learning tool. If teachers and students know they will have access to their computers at home, teachers can plan for learning opportunities to extend beyond the traditional school day.
Do some students have to leave their laptop at school?
If it is deemed that a student is not taking care of the equipment while it is off campus as deemed by the teacher, principal, and tech team, alternative arrangements will be made. Students whose accounts are not paid in full or who do not pay the usage and insurance fee must also leave their laptop at school.
What happens if a student forgets their laptop at home?
This is the same as if a student forgets their textbook, notebook, pencil, etc. at home. Each teacher can handle this in the same way as now. For instance, students may have to share with another student, they may have to write down notes and digitize them later if necessary, etc. We are anticipating that students will be very responsible to bring their laptops every day because it is an integral part of their learning.
What if a student breaks their computer?
In cases of negligence (loss or abuse) by the student, a $100 maximum per incident will be charged. In the case of theft or accidental breakage in the course of normal, educational use, the administration of Heartland Community Schools may elect to waive the deductible.
Where will students charge their laptops?
Students will charge their laptops at home. This is the best practice for ensuring that the computer’s battery will last throughout the day.
Will the batteries last all day?
Yes. By taking the laptops home and charging them at night, combined with energy saving power settings, the laptop batteries will last all day.
Can students install their own software, music, or photos on the laptop?
Students do not have permission to install personal software on the laptop. The storage memory on the computer is limited, so students will not be able to store much more than school work on the laptop.
Can students bring in their own laptop rather than use the one provided for them?
Not at this time. One of the big reasons we are issuing laptops to students is to give all students equal access to the same tools, such as software that the school can purchase at reduced rates. If we allow students to use their own equipment, we do not have that assurance. School issued equipment will have school controlled anti-virus software. If students brought their own computers our network would be more susceptible to malware.
Do the students own the laptop?
No. The laptops are school issued equipment much like a textbook.
Will we have expanded access for students who do not have Internet at home?
Students who do not have access at home will be able to download most work and work on it at home if they do not have access. Currently the school buildings are open at 7 a.m. and remain open until after practices at the high school. Students can also use public places with open wireless access such as in our parking lot or at a restaurant that has free wi-fi if they need to work using the Internet. We will be determining the number of students who do not have Internet and finding the best way to serve their needs as we journey through this process.
Can they access the Internet at home using their own provider?
Yes. One of the main features of the laptop is that they utilize wireless internet access. If you do not have wireless access currently, you need to speak with your provider about adding this feature or purchase a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter for the laptop in order to plug in an Ethernet cable.
Will students be able to access inappropriate web sites?
All of the laptops loaned to students and teachers will be set to access the internet through our content filtering server which is housed at school. As there are thousands of websites created each day, the filter cannot guarantee that one won’t slip through, but it is very effective at blocking inappropriate sites, even from home.
How will we keep the laptops free from viruses?
While there are not many viruses developed for the Macintosh computer, we will continue to use our Symantic anti-virus software via our network at school.
How will we keep students from messaging each other during class when they should be working on class projects, notes etc...?
This is primarily a classroom management issue and the same techniques used to monitor students passing notes, talking inappropriately, and other unacceptable behavior will be effective in helping to limit students using the machines for off-task behavior. Our filtering server will also aide us in blocking chat sites commonly accessed by students.
What is expected of teachers with students having access at almost any time?
With access 24/7 students may feel like their teachers should also be accessible 24/7. This will be entirely up to the teacher, but should be clearly communicated to students so their expectations of access to the teacher are clear.