Planning and Implementation of a Small-Scale 1-to-1 Pilot Program for Using E-Readers in Elementary School Classrooms

Planning and Implementation of a Small-Scale 1-to-1 Pilot Program for Using E-Readers in Elementary School Classrooms

Margaret L. Rice (The University of Alabama, USA), Deborah Camp (Hoover City Schools, USA), Karen Darroch (Hoover City Schools, USA) and Ashley FitzGerald (Hoover City Schools, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4237-9.ch002

Abstract

A P-12 school district implemented a pilot program providing e-readers to 45 students in a 4th and a 5th grade class. The school district administrators’ goal was to determine whether it would be feasible for the district to provide technological devices to individual district students for use at school and home, beginning with a small pilot. If the pilot proved successful, the devices would be provided to additional students throughout the district. The first step was the selection of the devices. After conducting research, the Nook from Barnes & Noble was selected. Issues to be addressed included inappropriate use of Nooks by students and parents, teachers’ and students’ learning the nuances of the devices, dropped network connections, students’ forgetting to bring Nooks to school, and unrealistic parent expectations for teacher use. This chapter informs readers of successes, problems, and lessons learned from the planning and implementation of the pilot program.
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Setting The Stage

During the 1992-1993 school year, the school district began placing at least one desktop computer and printer in each classroom. Within ten years, that number increased to three desktops per elementary classroom and two desktops per middle school classroom. Each high school classroom contained one desktop for teacher use as both high schools housed several computer labs for student access. Internet access was added to all schools and facilities in 1997.

During the 2006-2007 academic year, the district piloted a new technology initiative in elementary and secondary schools. Based on a competitive application process, approximately twelve K-5th grade teachers and twelve 6th -12th grade teachers were provided with classroom technology tools and professional development. These two groups of pilot teachers represented all schools and all grade levels. The emphasis at the secondary level was the more efficient delivery of content, and each secondary pilot classroom contained three laptops, a mounted projector, a document camera, an Interwrite tablet, a set of student response clickers, and an amplified field system. The emphasis at the elementary level was the increase of student engagement with technology tools. Each elementary classroom contained three tablets with inking styluses, a document camera stand which could be outfitted with a video camera, a projector, an iPod, and a digital still camera. The pilot teachers at both levels met separately once a month to receive professional development from the instructional technology coaches and to share concerns, questions, and ideas. Pilot teachers were required to maintain an open door policy in which other teachers in their buildings could visit without making an appointment in order to observe the technology in action, even when the inevitable problems might occur. At the end of the first pilot year, the school district purchased the same technology for all secondary classrooms and provided professional development to those teachers during the summer.

The school district has a Chief Technology Officer and technology staff that are responsible for all technology across the school district. There are six certified teachers serving as Instructional Technology Coaches and working with faculty and staff to provide professional development. The school district’s technical staff consists of several individuals strong in both network and desktop support and who deal with and complete an average of 15,000 work orders in a school year. The technical staff’s responsibilities include installation, maintenance and support of all computers and data systems - software and hardware. Additionally, the technical staff supervises operations of the district voicemail, television and telephone systems (District Website, 2012). See the school district’s organizational chart in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

School district organizational chart

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