Frequently Asked Questions


Why do we need Digital Conversion?

What is the overall reason(s) for implementing digital conversion and a 1 to 1 laptop initiative?

We believe that digital learning in a 1 to 1 laptop learning environment is the model that will best support 21st century teaching and learning.  We also believe that personal computing devices will most likely be the norm in the near future and we should prepare students to make intelligent use of them.

Is there any research to support the implementation of a digital learning program?

Project Red - Key Findings

Project Red findings demonstrate that schools employing a 1 to 1 student-computer ratio and key implementation factors out perform other schools and reveal significant opportunities for improving education return on investment (ROI) by transforming teaching and learning.

An analysis of the Project RED data revealed seven major findings of interest to schools embarking on or already administering a technology implementation.  Attention to these findings can help schools achieve a higher degree of success.

Key Finding #1
Nine key implementation factors are linked most strongly to education.

Key Finding #2
Properly implemented technology saves money.

Key Finding #3
1 to 1 schools employing key implementation factors out perform all schools and all other 1 to 1 schools.

Key Finding #4
The principal’s ability to lead change is critical. Change must be modeled and championed at the principal level.

Key Finding #5
Technology-transformed intervention improves learning.

Key Finding #6
Online collaboration increases learning productivity and student engagement.

Key Finding #7
Daily use of technology delivers the best return on investment (ROI).

A list of key findings are available at http://www.projectred.org/about/research-overview.html.

What’s the main benefit of a 1 to 1 laptop program to the students and teachers?

We believe that technology is a tool that can greatly enhance teaching and learning. Computers are used by students to interact with their learning, solve problems, complete projects, demonstrate their learning, gain information, and learn how to be a literate user of the Internet.  Currently most teachers have access to technology via computer labs, rooms with usually 20 – 30 computers in them, or laptop carts, mobile carts that usually hold 20-30 laptops.  In both of these situations, teachers need to share the use of technology with other teachers making access to technology a planned event and not always there when needed, when it can have the most impact on instruction.  With a 1 to 1 program, teachers will be able to respond to questions or discussions immediately.  Laptops will be available as needed, where needed which also best resembles the computing environment our students will work in when they go to college and/or the workplace.

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Difficult Financial Times

We have an obligation to offer a “Free and Appropriate public education” to all students. How does this new financial burden factor into that?

We are offering, not requiring, parents the opportunity to use a quality laptop computer for their students at a reasonable rate.  This laptop can be used at school and at home during the school year.

What do you suggest, for example, if parents are struggling financially (been laid off for months, or just don’t have the extra money)?  They may have an old computer at home that has out of date software, but works well enough for their child to do research and write a paper and maybe get on-line.

Their child can still use that computer at home for those types of assignments or on-line activities. As in the past, we have always accommodated the student who doesn’t have the resources and we will in the future. There will be a reduced rate for students that qualify for the national free or reduced lunch program.  No teacher will discriminate against a student who does not have his/her own laptop. The goal is to enhance teaching and learning.

Given the very difficult financial economy and ongoing deep cuts to our school budget, isn't this a bad time to introduce a laptop program?

With the sale of the district farm ground and re-purposing of other district funds we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a 21st century teaching and learning environment for our students.  We believe the 1 to 1 program is part of this 21st century digital learning environment.

In addition to this, a low estimate of the cost of a textbook is $75-$100/each.  For seven subjects, that would be approximately $525-$700.  We do not have the funds to update all of our outdated textbooks to provide current content to our students, but we can provide digital access to up-to-date electronic resources.

Will other programs/teaching positions/classes be in jeopardy of being cut to continue to support the laptop program long term?

There are currently no plans for this and over time we anticipate that this program will actually save district taxpayers money.

Will students be penalized if they don’t have a laptop?

No, students will not be penalized if they don't have a laptop. The goal is to enhance teaching and learning. 

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Who will use laptops and what will they do with them?

Does the computer take the place of the textbook?

While many of the courses will be using e-text and other on-line resources, we continue to evaluate electronic textbooks that will be used in place of printed ones.  We cannot at this time say if all textbooks will be replaced.  We do believe that this is a future trend and with our Digital Conversion and 1 to 1 laptop environment, District 100 will be well positioned to take advantage of the cost savings, flexibility, ability to customize, and other advantages to having electronic textbooks.

Does this program replace the computer labs?

There will still be a few computer labs maintained to enable advanced computing and vocation uses, but a 1 to 1 environment enables every classroom to become a computer lab.

When and how will students get their laptops?

There will be a series of deployment meetings after the start of school.  Students that have completed their Student Required Use Policy(RUP) and student meetings and whose parents have completed the required paperwork and paid the fees will be issued laptops and backpacks at these meetings.

Will I be able to use USB devices(keyboard, mouse, flash drive, printer) on my student laptop?

Yes you will; if windows can load the driver directly for the device from either the local machine or from windows update then it will load automatically.  If you have a printer or another device that requires the install of an executable program (setup.exe) then you/your student will have to take the device to the helpdesk at school for them to run the executable program.

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Training &Support

Why laptops instead of Macs or IPads

As part of our research over the several years we spoke to many 1 to 1 laptop schools in our country. We were advised over and over to select one platform to ensure program success.  The main reason for this was that in order to provide quality technical support with limited resources and maintain a secure computing environment we need a consistent computing platform.  For example, it would be very difficult to maintain the expertise needed to troubleshoot problems on several different types of computers and also to budget for the supply of spare parts needed to support this type of environment.

Windows based laptops were chosen to allow for better support and policy based security.  We will still use desktop computers in the elementary schools, offices and vocational labs and staff will still be using Windows laptops.  This consistent approach will help us to support student devices and prepare students for their futures.

Technology support will be extremely important to the success of our Digital Conversion. We have visited districts that have successful 1 to 1 laptop programs to understand how they manage support and we have incorporated what we have learned into our plan.  We will have a Help Desk at JCHS designed to handle and process technical issues with laptops.  This is a vocational class that students will work to provide support and earn credit and possible A+ certification for their work.

Students at Illini will have a central point of contact for support, and if there is additional hardware or software support required their computers will be transferred to the JCHS Help Desk to be repaired.  In the 2014-2015 school year, we hope to have senior students that have completed the help desk class at JCHS as a junior, do an internship at Illini to help support student devices there.

What will it cost to repair the laptops?

All laptops repairs must be done by the JCHS Help Desk or District 100 technology staff. Repairs attempted or completed outside the district will void the Lenovo warranty and are a violation of district policy that may result in the student being responsible for cost up to total replacement.

Student laptop issues will be directed to the Help Desk

When a student laptop is received by the Help Desk, it will be evaluated as

   a) warranty (year 1)
   b) normal wear & tear
   c) student misuse/policy violation

In a or b, the district will provide a temporary laptop (if necessary) and repair the laptop at no cost to the student.

In c, the student will be asked to pay for the repair or replacement before a laptop is returned to the student.  A list of repair cost will be posted in the Help Desk and on the Digital Conversion page on-line.

* Repair cost are subject to change based upon parts cost and availability.
* Repairs not listed in the linked document will be considered on a case by case basis.
* Decisions by the JCHS Help Desk instructor working in coordination with the
  IT Department are final.

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Security/Privacy Issues

As with any instructional tool such as textbooks and calculators, appropriate policies and procedures will be implemented and enforced.  Students will be expected to use technology only for their academic work while in school, just as is expected in the workplace and college. Administration will handle violations on an individual basis.

What is the plan for dealing with lost or stolen computers?

The Criminal Damage & Theft Procedures linked here will spell out the proceedures the district will use and that parents/students should follow to report a stolen or criminally damaged laptop.

How will you manage social networking (IM, Facebook, YouTube, Internet) and other distractions in the classroom?

The school network has an Internet filtering system designed to block improper use both on campus and at home. When a students takes his/her device home the same Internet filter is applied on that device at home as it was at school.  Only authorized means of social networking, e.g., Edmodo, Google Apps for Education, will be allowed on district computers.

Many families choose not to provide their kids a laptop because they want to monitor the computer activity by having it located in a common area of the home. What kind of support and training will be provided to families?

We will be offering meetings and workshops that will introduce proper laptop use to students and parents. Parents are encouraged to enforce usage guidelines just as they would for personally owned computers in their homes.

What paperwork will be provided to assist parents in obtaining insurance through their homeowner's insurance?

Upon request, we will provide copies of the following documentation that parents may present to their homeowners insurance company.  Every company is different, so parents should contact their agent to find out what paperwork requirements and coverage options they have with their policy.
  • a copy of the signed Parent Meeting card
  • a copy of the signed Student Required Use Policy (RUP)
  • a copy of the Student Laptop Program form that will contain the student name, school, grade, make, model, serial #, and signatures.

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