You’ve decided on tools for your school, you’ve got the devices ordered, and you’re ready to plan a deployment! This is a potentially critical moment for your technology’s success though—proper training, configuration, and planning can make all the difference in the adoption of new tools. Here are 5 priority areas that should help your deployment go off without a hitch.
Professional development is a big subject and stretches well beyond the process of deploying technology for your school, but here’s a fact that sums it up nicely: teachers currently spend 19 days (or almost 10%) of their entire school year just in training sessions, according to a TNTP study from 2015. It’s a massive, priority effort to make the most out of educational technology investments, and it should be planned out well before your receive new devices.
“When we first got our Chromebooks, we had a 5 hour retreat before school started. After that first training session, we’ve had a district tech coordinator who comes to our building every wednesday morning to do a short training session.” —Katrina Kelly, Principal, Mullan Trail Elementary
Is your team responsible for presenting the devices to students as well? If so, have you composed a presentation or instructional materials for students on how they, specifically, will be using the new devices? Here’s a sample of one such presentation from teacher and education technologist John Cork.
Make sure everything is configured, with the original software, as well as configured to your domain before you release your devices into the wild. If you’re working with Chromebooks, this means enrolling them to your domain, in addition to locking down any Management policies you need to have running on your network’s devices.
Depending on your budget and help, it may be worth looking into a whiteglove service option—a service offered by many resellers and vendors to take care of the configuration process before your technology is even shipped to the building. If you’re handling it yourself, you should check out our Top 3 priorities to your Chromebook enrollment process, as well as our downloadable enrollment checklist below!
If you’re distributing technology around your school or district, you should be asset tagging every unit in your inventory—chances are, you’ve got an asset tagging system in place right now. Some helpful details to include on your tags are:
- Warranty expiration
If you’re using Chromebooks, another way to secure your devices from unauthorized use is by setting a device policy to restrict logins to users within your domain.
Your devices are almost ready to leave the nest, but the timing and manner of distributing them is also critical—have you notified faculty when these will be in their rooms? Are you planning on releasing a user agreement for students or parents? Check out this sample Agreement from Coventry Public Schools in Rhode Island. If you’re drafting an agreement of your own, consider including details like:
- Privacy terms
- User responsibility (both for devices and for data)
- Digital Citizenship
- Liability terms
Also be careful not to forget the distribution of odds and ends like chargers, cases, manuals, or headphones! The last thing you want on day one is to be running around the building handing out something you’d forgotten.
What plans do you have for ongoing support on the devices, such as IT support and breakage? Breakage is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to hurt your budget if you have a sustainable plan in place, such as implementing tech fees, opt-in insurance policies for parents, and negligence policies. If need be, there are likely city or state codes (like Ohio Revised Code 3109.09) which you can fall back on in the case of negligent damage by a student—having something in place can be especially useful if you’re attempting to maintain a 1:1 environment.
Are you going to be enrolling Chromebooks as part of your deployment? Check out our top priorities to remember during enrollment, and download our one-page cheat sheet!