This is my first discussion post and I'm hoping to get some great advice from the ATLIS community. We are currently a BYOD (mac only) school and have been for quite some time. Recently, we have discussed moving to a school-managed program requiring all incoming students to receive a laptop purchased and configured by the school. We use JAMF and are a two-person department, so eliminating variables and taking advantage of JAMF's pre-configuration and such would be a great help. Additionally, this would allow us to more effectively level the digital playing field for our students. Admin is conceptually on-board but would like some thoughts on how to manage this transition. Specifically:
Our current thought is to roll the program out for each incoming freshman class (we are 9-12 day school) over 4 years. Any additional recommendations or thoughts from this community would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
I managed a Macbook program at a high ed institution about 12 years ago. It was a disaster, in part because the college did not let me lock the macs down. My job was to hand them to students with certain licenses and then make sure we knew which student had which Mac, and I was supposed to magically get them back when the students left the school. It was a complete disaster from day 1. I had students shipping them home, selling them, breaking them, and losing them and expecting a replacement. figure out if the issued Macbooks are the property of the school or the student, and how locked down you need them or want them to be.
I currently manage a 1 to 1 program with Chromebooks at a 9-12 school. the Chromebooks only work for a school-provided email account. So the students happily give them back. We require they have them for testing purposes, but otherwise, they may use a personal device. We try to include the information that we will be providing one to them with their acceptance email. A lot of families have continued to purchase devices for their students. We did start this program by issuing them to the freshman until all 4 years have them. We still have a lot of breakage and repairs, but we have been able to do a lot of it ourselves. We are also just a 2 person department.
My suggestion is to make sure you can track the Macbooks.
Academy of the New Church
Bryn Athyn PA
We are are not a Mac school for grades 6-12. We do have a 1-to-1 program for our MS & US that began many moons ago (20 Yrs). We also have a very slim Tech department. I recommend rolling it out for your 9th grade and add each year-- or after the first year decide if your can roll out more. This will provide a few things for your department of 2. Rolling out one or two grades (lets say 9th has 100 students) gives you only 100 machines with a problem(s) and they are probably going to be mainly the same of similar problem(s). When a problem or issue is resolved then 100 problems are resolved. Along with that, if you have to touch the machines you only have to touch 100 not 400. This is more manageable for your department of 2, then if you had 400+ machines rolled out. The other thing off the top of my head is, you will learn a lot from the first rollout and the 2nd rollout will go a lot smoother and better for the 2 of you. You will have learned many things the first run and fine tuned the 2nd rollout with lessons learned will likely go smoother. I like to chunked rollouts like this to make it more manageable for my department of 2.5. We have our rollout of computers down pat but every year has a surprise or two to make life interesting and change our process a little.
I would begin communicating this out especially if these families are in your admission process. Our communication states that the computer is required for our academic program. It provides students necessary skill sets for their education and their future.
Hope this gives you a few things to consider.
Director of Technology
Visitation Academy, St. Louis, MO
Thank you for your insights, Beverly!
I agree with Beverly, roll out one grade first to see where the hiccups will lie. Another item to consider to help keep the load of troubleshooting off of your 2 man department (especially if you are dealing with MAC only), is to find a local retailer that you can get a service contract with for repair purposes. Better still if they are certified to do warranty repair. One of our local schools is a MAC house and they said once they moved to a local retailer to service the devices beyond school setup, for example; broken screens, damages, lockouts, etc, it took the strain off of their department. Students are inherently rough on devices and the amount of time you will have to spend to support them will eat up your day. If you are using a Windows device, I recommend accidental protection be added to every device. We use that with our staff devices (about 80) and add it for the full three years we lease them. When the devices have anything wrong (freeze up, crash from an update, spilled liquid, cracked screen - you name it) we ship them to Lenovo at Lenovo's cost, and they repair them and send them back. It is a huge headache off our plate. If we had to troubleshoot and look to repair staff and student devices, there would be little time for anything else. Lastly, consider leasing them. If they will remain the property of the school, you can bill the fee to the parents (along with the protection plan), then turn the Senior class set for the new freshman coming in when they graduate. This would elevate the school having to figure out what to do with obsolete devices and you spread the cost of the device over how many years they will be used.
Good Luck to you and let us know how it goes,
In Fall 2020, we switched from a BYOD to a 1-to-1 Mac program at Sidwell for Grades 9-12, aiming for a consistent computing experience and smoother IT support. Starting with incoming 9th graders is a good entry point for future rollouts. For our deployment, we moved all students to a 1-to-1 device which worked really well for us. In addition, we allowed graduating students to buy their devices. Unpurchased ones were offered to the community which become really popular over the last few years. Partnering with Admissions now to share that a school-provided laptop is part of tuition can address concerns. Communicating this through email or in person at open house events would be ideal.
Thought I'd share what we've been doing…
We've done school-purchased laptops for our 1-to-1 program (grades 9-12) since 1998, and early on settled on a "cycle" whereby it is the Sophomore class (not the Freshman class) that gets the newest laptops. That class then uses the laptop until they graduate, and at that time turn the laptop into the Technology Department, and we tidy them up, sending them out for any repairs that may be needed, and then re-image them and provide them to the incoming Freshman class. This cycle was influenced by our finding that the Freshman could be a tad rough on their technology, and probably more importantly, giving a laptop with an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD's to a Sophomore ensures that the student has a still very viable laptop for the more intensive studies (eg. AP classes) they will be doing in their Junior and Senior years – we did not want our Seniors taking AP classes with a 4-year old laptop that by that time would be feeling a lot of wear-and-tear, while there are Freshman running around campus with the best and newest technology, barely appreciating the full potential of what they have in their hands.
Also, I very much concur with Bobbi Jo Kelly's reasons for her advice to "find a local retailer that you can get a service contract with for repair purposes. Better still if they are certified to do warranty repair." Also, similarly, we agree that getting accidental damage protection for every machine is worthwhile, when it comes to laptop computers.
Wishing you much success with your roll-out.
Richard Arthur Lloyd, Laptop Program ManagerTechnology DepartmentPeddie School(609) 944-7626
email@example.com PRONOUNS: HE, HIM, HIS
------------------------------Richard LloydPeddie SchoolHightstown NJ------------------------------
#General------------------------------Justin CulleyDirector of Ed. Tech & SafetyBranson SchoolRoss CA415-455-7214------------------------------
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