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What is 1:1?

In a one to one (1:1) teaching and learning environment, each student is provided access to a computer on a direct and continuous basis throughout the school day, and beyond, if possible. Students do not share laptops with other students. It is the intent of 1:1 program to empower students with “anytime and anywhere” learning. In doing this, each student in class has immediate access to a laptop and it is used regularly and with purpose. More and more states, school districts and schools are beginning to understand the power of 1:1 teaching and learning.

Why Consider One-to-One? Why Now?

The advantage of a 1:1 program exists because each student has his/her own computer and can learn anytime and anywhere.  The focus is not solely on technology.  The focus is about a paradigm shift in how instruction is delivered and how that instruction sparks creativity in students providing a new sense of enthusiasm and ownership in their own learning.
In addition, 1:1 learning environments differ from traditional environments in most school settings because they offer all students and teachers continuous access to a wide range of software, electronic documents, the Internet and other digital resources for teaching and learning. The key component is the access of information, engaging students and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own learning. Digital Technology empowers students.
Currently in Iowa, over 120 schools have gone 1:1. That number is likely to double or triple within the next two years because of the successes of the schools who have gone to 1:1. We want our students and teachers to be a part of this new and exciting digital instruction and technology.


  1. Change the way teachers teach to adjust to the way today’s students learn.
  2. Increase student engagement and involve students in active learning, thereby improving student achievement and increasing graduation rates.
  3. Align the curriculum with the Iowa Core Curriculum.
  4. Prepare students for life beyond high school (21st Century Skills – Digital Instruction).
  5. Increase collaboration.
  6. Open the lines of communication between the Board, teachers, students and parents.
  7. Level the playing field and create an equal opportunity for all learners. This equity provides all students access to 21st century teaching, learning, and technology.
  8. Provides anytime, anywhere access opportunities.
  9. Creates 21st Century / career (school-to-work) realities for students.

1:1 Preparation, Planning and Assessment (ongoing)

  1. The West Branch CSD technology committee began investigating the implications of a 1:1 initiative. (Fall 2010)
  2. Jeff Dicks, Superintendent of Newell-Fonda School District, discussed technology integration and the 1:1 initiative at Newell-Fonda schools at the Cedar County Professional Development conference. (Oct. 2010)
  3. The West Branch CSD staff gathered resources and studied 21st Century skills integration during building level professional development.  (ongoing)
  4. The technology committee met with Tony Amsler of GWAEA to outline an implementation plan with specific action steps.  (Jan. 31, 2011)
  5. The administrative team and technology director visited Lisbon CSD. (Feb. 7, 2011)
  6. The West Branch CSD school board was updated on the proposal at a regular school board meeting. (Feb. 14, 2011)
  7. Members of the technology team visited Central City Community School District. (March 11, 2011)
  8. The West Branch CSD board of directors was updated on the proposal at a regular school board meeting. (April 11, 2011)
  9. The West Branch CSD board of directors approves Mr. Hatfield’s (Supt.) recommendation to purchase staff (upgraded) laptops for one year of additional professional development before digital devices (laptops) provided to students. (July, 2011)
  10. West Branch Community School Board approves Apple Computers (4-year lease) contract for the purchase of laptops to begin 1:1 initiative for grades 5 – 12. (February, 2012.)
  11. WBCSD Board approves upgraded Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) (April, 2012)
  12. First “student / parent rollout” or “laptop launch party” held August, 2012. (August, 2012)
  13. Students in grades 5-12 begin 12-13 school year with Apple laptops.
  14. District utilizes GWAEA (Clarity / Bright Bytes) tool to survey students, staff and parents on technology use and perspectives. (Dec. 2013)
  15. District Technology Committee continue to meet to process and assess District’s 1:1 / 21st Century teaching and learning initiatives: (May, 2014)
    • Visits GWAEA to view high-tech “Scale-Up” classroom
    • Pros / cons of District 1:1 as District concludes 2nd year of initiative
    • Discussions and observations of 21st Century furniture options, as well as student-centered / teacher-centered technologies were explored.
    • Review District Clarity / Bright Byte technology assessment data
    • Brainstorm to develop vision, guiding consideration and direction for next-level of 21st Century teaching and learning integration in the WBCSD.
    • District is considering having high-end technology / project-based labs as part of possible future building upgrades, expansions and construction options (alignment to 5-Phase Facilities Improvement Plan)
  16. District Technology Committee discussion topics and considerations: (May, 2014)
    • Overall 1:1 impact on teaching and learning after two-years
    • Options for web-base laptops (IPI devices) possible future PK-12 – 1:1 (Ex: Chromebooks)
    • Options and pros / cons of increased iPads, tablet (handhelds) and grade levels
    • Options and pros / cons of 4th grade integration of IPI device for 2014 – 2015 school years. NOTES: Administration will study (+) pluses and (-) deltas including: costs, contracts, multiple platforms that would be incorporated with such a purchase since district utilizes Apple’s Casper system, “bells and whistles” perspectives of tools, overall “use analysis” of Apple tools.  District PPEL / SAVE funds are extended this coming school year to complete board approved Phase I facilities projects. ($700,000)
    • Committee sees multiple-platform vision emerging to increase blending learning, access to multiple computing tools and “right tool for the job” in teaching) vision emerging
    • Technology Committee and WBCSD Administration hold initial discussions exploring the question of becoming a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) with support for students / families in need for a computing device.
  17. Administration will use summer of 2014 to make decision on 4th grade option.  (June, 2014) NOTE: District PPEL / SAVE funds are extended this coming school year to complete board approved Phase I facilities projects. ($700,000)
  18. The 4th year for teacher laptops and 3rd year for students’ (grades 5-12) laptops will be in use 2014 – 2015 school years. (Fall 2014)
  19. District’s Technology Committee will continue to study and make a final recommendation to the Board of Education in November / December, 2014. (Fall 2014)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The way schools deliver information to students needs to change. The primary goal of a 1:1 Initiative is to instruct students in the way that they learn. Laptops are not the focus of this goal, but they are a tool that is critical in changing the way we teach and learn. The second primary goal of this initiative is to further level the playing field and create an equal opportunity for all learners. Every student will have access to the technology needed to interact and learn in the 21st century.
Students will become producers of knowledge instead of consumers of knowledge. “Students become pilots of their learning not just passengers along for the ride.” Research shows that the 1:1 Initiative “levels the playing field” for all students, regardless of any family’s economic situation.
The 1:1 Initiative plan:

  • Creates 21st Century Learners.
  • Demands collaboration between students and students and students and teachers.
  • Reduces textbooks and worksheets.
  • Opens educational opportunities at all levels in our communities.
  • Allows access to current information and a means to connect it in meaningful ways.
  • Increases enthusiasm due to the ability to use the web and other technological sites.
  • Promotes student pride through creative opportunities as opposed to textbooks and worksheet assignments.
  • Improves students’ ability to self-assess and set learning goals.
  • Increases interactive possibilities with teachers and other students.
21st Century education/teaching involves active learning, learning communities, and technology converging to create new school environments for students and teachers. With the 1:1 Initiative, teachers will no longer be the central resource for knowledge in the classroom. Teachers need to embrace the role of facilitator of learning:

Teachers will be able to:

  • Help students learn to manage their time and projects.
  • Teach ethical and responsible usage of technology.
  • Assign tasks of inquiry, collaboration, research, and polished/published writing knowing that students have the needed resources.
  • Provide student opportunities including independent learning and practice.
  • Collaborate through interdisciplinary teaching and online professional development.
  • Provide practice, review sessions, additional readings and differentiated learning for all students.
  • Include the instructional component of the Iowa Core Curriculum, which addresses the principles of “Challenge-Based / Personalized Learning”. Challenge-Based / Personalized Learning is differentiated, project-based learning during which students collaborate on problem-based, real world situations and solutions.
To make full use of the learning and teaching opportunities outlined in this Initiative, the laptop computer will be accessible to students 24/7.
Maintaining the 1:1 Initiative will be a general budget priority. The district will pay for this by reallocating money (not raising taxes) in part from the PPEL. It is important to note that not everything will be adapted to the computer. However, the expectation is everyone will do the best he or she can do to use technology in the classroom, to grow and learn. There will be savings in current printing costs because not all documents will have to be printed. Teachers will be copying fewer documents as education moves away from paper and pencil tasks. Savings from paper and printing costs can be transferred to the district operating budget. Many projects and activities can be prepared and presented online through the school’s network. Money can be saved on textbooks and be used for sustaining the 1:1 Initiative. Textbook information is available online and often can be accessed free of charge. There will also be funds available due to savings in classroom supply costs. Many projects and activities can be done in an online, virtual arena.

  • Textbooks – the district will weigh the option of online textbooks/resources versus traditional textbooks.
  • Paper – the district will save thousands of dollars on paper including copying costs.
  • Technology Budget – the district currently rotates computers (labs, teachers) every four to five years. This rotation will not be necessary for the secondary level.
The infrastructure upgrade includes website monitoring software that allows the district to block websites which are inappropriate for students whether they are accessing the web via the district wireless network or if they are connected to the Internet in their homes. This software also includes screen monitoring which allows school employees or classroom teachers to monitor multiple student laptop screens at one time. The District Computer Department can send messages to students or “lock-down” student computers at any time when appropriate.
A good web-filter, virus monitoring software, website monitoring, and download/ installation restrictions are typically enough to prevent both localized and widespread infection through a network.
Our district’s Acceptable Use Policy is reviewed and revised on a regular basis. The current Acceptable Use Policy is being evaluated and revised based on the 1:1 Initiative. Students, faculty and staff are expected to adhere to the current Acceptable Use Policy.
We are looking at a lease/purchase agreement and those are typically four years. The agreement will also maintain that the company we choose will replace and upgrade any defective equipment within that four-year period. The Initiative will be sustained after this four-year period of time with savings from the technology budget, printing budget, textbook purchases and funds from our One-Cent Sales Tax.
The district believes the school setting is one of the best places to teach responsibility to students. Proactive education combined with the technical security specifications of the system will minimize the risks to individual students and school equipment. Examples of online social etiquette, which will be addressed, include but are not limited to cyber-bullying, inappropriate web sites, online safety, plagiarism and misuse of the equipment.
Currently, professional development has been based on limited technology resources. With the 1:1 Initiative, professional development will be expanded. This expansion would begin with the teacher laptops being ordered. We will hold trainings with staff during the professional development days in August. We will also look to our AEA for help with professional development concerning 1:1. In addition, there is a large group of schools that are now 1:1 and we will network with them to learn effective strategies of teaching in a 1:1 classroom. This approach aligns with the district’s vision of professional development involving teachers working with other teachers, both in and outside of the district. In addition to this professional development, the district will provide individualized professional development based on building/grade level/classroom needs. This individualized professional development, like all of the district’s PD, will be tied to performance and professional goals.
The district has not conducted an audit. What is known is that not all students within the district have access to a computer and/or the Internet at home. With the 1:1 Initiative, this will “level the playing field” for all students.
In addition to our wireless campuses and the public library, it is hoped that future partnerships will be expanded in the community to include affordable internet service to all families. Local providers are being contacted to explore ways to increase services at reasonable rates for homes.
Districts that have the 1:1 Initiative have found that additional IT support may be necessary. There may need to be some realignment of duties within the district to support the plan. Based on research and conversations with current school districts which are implementing the 1:1 Initiative, professional roles have changed and in many instances less time is actually spent on repair and maintenance of laptop computers (because the computers are new). Research has shown that the compatibility of the servers, wireless laptops, security programs and maintenance procedures provide less work for IT professionals. The vendor agreement will also provide for a quick turnaround time for computers which do need repair.
The most successful model for lost or damaged computers provides for parents and students to pay a deductible fee for computer replacement and/or repair if necessary. Depending on the damage, the cost for this service is $100 to $250.
AHST Manson, Northwest Webster, Malvern, Anita, Mount Ayr, United, Audubon, Newell-Fonda, Van Meter, BCLUW, North Winneshiek, Laurens-Marathon, Bedford,Northwood-Kensett, South Winneshiek, Bellevue,Okoboji, Lisbon,C&M, Orient-Macksburg, Valley, Cardinal, Osage, Central City,  PCM, Clayton Ridge, Pekin-Packwood, Clay Central-Everly, Pocahontas, Danville, Prairie Valley, East Union, Sidney,Fremont-Mills, Sioux Central, Gilmore City, Sigourney, Graettinger-Terril South, Hamilton, Grundy Center, South Hardin, Hampton-Dumont, South Page
Traditional textbooks may be phased out to some extent over time. Many textbooks are available online right now with more becoming available every day. The paper textbook will become a resource. Beyond textbooks, many instructional materials are available online and free.
No. Students will be expected to use school computers at school. The district would not be able to effectively control virus issues if unapproved technology was allowed into the wireless network.
Computers will be issued to students on a four-year rotation. During that four-year rotation, students will keep the same laptop. Their documents will be backed up, saved and available for access throughout their career.
The computers are the students’ computers during the school year. Options for year-round access will be evaluated at a future time.
Statistics and evidence will be gathered from attendance data, observation of motivation/student engagement, the number of behavior referrals and student achievement data.
The district will continue the textbook fee and consideration will be given to adding a technology fee in the future.
It is important for our teaching staff to have the same hardware and software that our students are using for numerous reasons:

  • Teachers need to become well versed with the system and reach a level of expertise before they can facilitate learning.
  • Planning for appropriate, quality instruction often takes place outside of the school day.
  • Recording and evaluating student work with quality feedback for student improvement can also take place outside of the school day.
  • Using like systems improves communication between students, parents and staff.
  • Teachers, themselves, are producers of knowledge. As professionals, teachers are often authoring teaching materials to fit the unique characteristics of their classes. They continually are devising new and improved ways of doing every aspect of their jobs.
Students will be expected to use school laptops at school. The school laptops will have all of the software and applications the students need to successfully complete their schoolwork. Students would have compatibility issues and the district would have virus control issues if students were allowed to use their personal computers.
NO. District personnel will decide what software will be approved for personal use.

Non-Discrimination Policy

It is the policy of the West Branch Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have any questions or a grievance related to this policy please contact the Dave Hlas, Elementary Principal, 148 North Oliphant St., West Branch, IA 52358, 319-643-7211, dhlas@west-branch.k12.ia.us

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