1-to-1 | News

Houston District Enters First Phase of Huge 1-to-1 Laptop Program

As part of the first phase of its 1-to-1 program, Houston Independent School District is rolling out Microsoft Office 365 and Windows laptops to serve more than 14,000 students.

The district is providing Office 365 to its faculty and staff to acclimate them in advance of the full rollout. Students will receive the productivity suite for free via Microsoft’s Student Advantage program.  

Students and staff are also getting HP Elitebook Folio 9470m Ultrabooks as part of the 1-to-1 initiative, called PowerUp. Recently, eleven high schools began using the devices, and teachers and professional development leaders were given them well in advance in a strategically timed, phased rollout. Eventually, 65,000 students in all will be getting laptops over the next three years.

"This deployment process was unique because teachers were given the opportunity to teach their students with just pen and paper during the first semester, and then see them the second half of the year on a digital platform," said Lenny Schad, chief information technology officer at the district in a statement describing the particulars of the rollout. "Teachers tell us that students are blowing them away; artistic, writing and other skills come out of the woodwork when you allow students their own path to learning."

Another part of the PowerUp program focuses on partnering with community spots, such as restaurants, churches, YMCAs and apartment complexes, to install wireless infrastructure to enable students to use their devices off campus.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.