Mobile Computing

Madison School District Begins 1-to-1 Rollout

Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin has completed the first phase of a district-wide 1-to-1 technology initiative.

As part of the district's instructional technology plan, every student in grades two to 12 will have access to a wireless computing device by the 2018-19 school year, and students in kindergarten and grade one will have access to computing devices at a two-to-one ratio, meaning one device per two students. Phase one of the rollout took place this year, with students at four elementary schools and two middle schools receiving devices.

In preparation for the implementation, the district hired a national expert on educational technology "to survey the academic research on one-to-one computing and student achievement," according to a report in the Madison State Journal. The expert found that the success of a 1-to-1 initiative depends on a clear vision, sustainable funding and a professional development and evaluation process for teachers rather than the quantity or type of devices.

Based on those findings, the district developed a comprehensive instructional technology plan, including a budget for a phased rollout and a professional development plan. To fund the initiative, the district plans to spend $3 million this year, and it will increase its technology budget by $625,000 per year to $6 million in five years. It also expanded its instructional technology department, which "includes three coaches who work full time with teachers," according to the Madison State Journal, and teachers receive training on effective use of educational technology for a full year before the devices are placed in their classroom.

This year the district leased Dell Venue tablets for its elementary students at four schools at a cost of $126.55 per student. For now students are allowed to use the tablets at school only and cannot take them home. The district serves more than 25,000 students.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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