St Hilda's Collegiate are in their third year of introducing 1-1 laptops. Staff explain the process they went through to select MacBook Pros as the 1-1 device they are currently using. This involved identifying their needs, visiting other schools, trialling different equipment with staff and students, and looking at costs and servicing.
So, for us, one of the advantages of a 1-1 programme is that the learning’s at their fingertips - so it doesn’t have to be scheduled. Previously we relied quite heavily on computer labs and what we found was that the whole digital approach became a little bit artificial and disconnected from the learning. Some students might complete a task in thirty minutes; some might need two days, yet you’re booked into the computer lab for an hour. We really felt it was an added extra rather than the heart of teaching and learning.
So we started exploring a range of devices, notably would be netbooks and a variety of different laptops. We went through that process, we actually brought them into the school, bought a couple of them and set them up and then put them out amongst students and staff just to get their feedback. That was quite important, they had a say in where we went and so that lasted probably six months where we were toying with those sorts of things. That was besides looking at other schools. During that time we also visited other schools, and myself and Alistair our systems manager, once when we went out to schools, aside from looking at teaching and learning, we also looked at the hardware that the schools were using and there were a whole lot of factors to be considered in that.
One of the big issues that we were looking at was the total cost of ownership to the whole school community effectively of running a 1-1 scheme. In other schools that we visited one of the huge expenses was the staffing required to run so many laptops. What we found is with the product that we ended up going for, in Australia some of the schools, apple schools, that we went to, we noticed that they only had one IT staff member per 500 computers. They tended to be larger schools. They were schools with 1000 students and they had two full time IT staff members running them. The other thing we noticed when we visited those schools, the IT staff members weren’t so focused on actually running the machines and the systems behind them, they would tend to talk about teaching and learning integration. There was just quite a different focus.
The final decision was actually made really by the teachers. The teachers gave us feedback about the things we’d tried and the types of devices that were available and in the end they said it needs to be able to do this, this, and this besides the other technical requirements like the long battery life and at that time the apple MacBook Pro was the best option, it fulfilled all of our requirements.
Given that they were so expensive, they’re $1800 devices, the board was keen to put in place hardship funding arrangement for the students. In the first year we ran the scheme there were quite a few parents took up that offer. Since then everyone who has applied to come here has known that they were going to have to buy a MacBook Pro our requirement for hardship funding for computers has reduced.
We’re into our third year of introducing laptops it’s never said that it’s going to be laptops forever because that may change, the same as the laptop itself may change.
St Hilda's Collegiate stories