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Ideas for District Issued Devices for Teachers

Ideas for District Issued Devices for Teachers

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Our district, a regional high school, is exploring options for providing a choice of tech devices to teachers (we currently do not ) I am wondering if any of your districts provide devices to teachers and if so, what types of devices? There has been some discussion of giving a choice of 3 devices-tablet or laptop options. I know many of the math and science teachers have voiced interest in a non-ios tablet that would work with their SmartBoards and software.

If you are doing something similar in your district and could provide device options to explore it would be greatly appreciated. Also, would you recommend allowing a choice to each teacher or limit the choice to a certain type of device for each department? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.


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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Our teachers are being switched off of mac books and onto PC's, mostly because now that there is only the macbook pro, it's simply too expensive, and the macbook airs are not quite enough.

I think the proper question is not so much the device, but what do you want- and need- to do with it? If you just basically need internet access, then a Chromebook could do the job very well at a low price point. Tablets are great in some respects- I use mine as a laptop supplement- but I back it up to my home computer and use a laptop for presentations when I'm out consulting.
One size may not fit all, and I hope our district considers giving teachers a "technology allowance" and some guidance, but lets them choose whatever they are most comfortable with, so they could pay more, if they chose, to upgrade or get the machine they want rather than be saddled with something they may not really like, and hence, not really use in the long run.
How are they doing the choices in your district? I'd love to hear more!

Kathy Smith's picture

Hi Whitney- Thanks for responding. This is currently in its infancy here. We were discussing exactly what your comment mentioned-what do they want and need to do? In a few cases this is difficult for those teachers who are not as confident in their tech abilities and what is out there. I would really like to know what options other schools are offering and then explore those particular devices to see which people like. Unfortunately, I do not see a tech allowance in the near future. I think the teachers would be satisfied with a choice of 3 or 4 options-selected by a panel of teachers. Our tech director is not big on chromebooks we do have good new access throughout our building. There is now alot of flipping going on and teachers not wanting to be tethered to their desktop computers.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Kathy!

There's a great new post here on Edutopia on Bloom's and technology that has a lot of resources too- there's a link to a Learnist site that is really amazing:
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/technology-tools/720026#comment-172456
in those resources, is a map of different apps and web tools and where they map to Bloom's which may help as well.

Also, at Educon, someone was discussing using large screen TV's and Chromecast/Apple TV's as cheaper alternatives to Smartboards (something we're considering as the Smartboards start to fail with age) which also makes a choice of device somewhat more flexible at the same time, since every kid could potentially connect their device to the screen via Chromecast as well.

There are so many options, it's often hard to sort out, so starting with the list of "What I need/want to do" and matching that to some device specs is not a bad way to go. I love the Apple stuff basically for its instant on features and long battery life, which isn't always the same with Windows devices; we're also having some issues with people getting accustomed to Windows 8, which is a big shock from those still used to Windows XP.

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi Kathy,
My district has offered teachers an option of Mac or PC for the past few years. They're thinking of moving towards a budget number you can use every 3 years or so, and you can make your choice from multiple devices based on what you want to spend.

Kathy Smith's picture

Thanks for the link Samer. Great information in this article. Currently, we are looking at 1 to 1 for teachers only. Not a whole school initiative. Looking for device options (we would like to provide 3)

Kathy Smith's picture

Dan, thanks for taking the time to respond. How does your district "issue" those types of devices. Is the teacher handed a stipend and then makes the purchase on their own? Is it considered district owned or does the teacher take it with them? NJ has really cracked down on spending so I am not sure how this would work here.

Any ideas for device options??

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi Kathy,
We haven't implemented the new model yet, as it was still in discussion for next year last I heard. From what I understood, the plan was sounding like providing people a menu of options, and they could make a choice from the menu that fits within a certain amount of money. For support and purchasing purposes, it makes the most sense for the school district to buy the devices directly, since the IT department needs to make sure they can support the devices and they can get a better price tha teachers buying individually.

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