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Implementing a 1 to 1 Laptop Scheme

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by , 16th December 2010 at 04:08 AM (12029 Views)
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There are many ways to implement a successful 1:1 laptop scheme, below is a list of areas to consider. Each school, college, educational establishment will have its own factors, special areas to consider, below is my list of things to consider.

After the list below, I have included a paragraph of information related to my own specific experience of implementing a very successful Apple Macbook Pro 1:1 scheme. It should also be noted that my school charges an additional fee for the 1:1 laptop, on top of school fees.

Areas to consider:

  • Employ an innovative, knowledgeable, supportive, IT Technical Manager + team
  • Test the system first (wireless) if possible - start with a few laptop trolleys to share on a bookable system. Try them all on the system at the same time in different locations around your school. Install a manageable wireless system (Aruba or similar) where bandwidth can be controlled.
  • Train your staff, have a continuous program of In Service Training for all staff including administrators and managers. Try to have 2 training sessions on at the same time (Beginner and Advanced). Also provide training sessions for parents.
  • Try to get your supplier to pay (sponsor) for some or all of the training (try Apple 1:1 scheme) some of the branded laptop companies have dedicated educational departments - get in touch with them.
  • Ensure your laptop image has all the applications required by the learners and all the subject teachers in your school.
  • Open a 1:1 shop and dedicated help desk on site; again approach your laptop supplier for this. Try to get an Authorized Technician to run the shop/help desk.
  • Publish times when parents and students can visit the IT department in school. Have the dedicated shop - open at times convenient for parents.
  • Train student mentors to help around the school with IT innovation and ideas.
  • Ensure Cyber safety is a key feature of the 1:1 scheme – have posters, online information’s sites, Cyber safety assemblies, and Cyber safety lessons.
  • Design a practical AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) Write the policy in two different ways (one for high school and one for elementary/primary school) Fit the AUP on ONE PAGE! of A4.
  • Involve the Parents in all the stages of the 1:1 implementation; listen to their ideas, concerns and worries.
  • Produce an FAQ booklet and publish this and other documentation on the school website.
  • Produce a Learner Handbook covering all areas of the 1:1 scheme.
  • Employ an IT integrator
  • Recruit IT skilled teachers
  • Try to combine an Insurance and warranty package with the 1:1 laptop.
  • Insist on the same “type” of laptops for everyone. Using Apple Macbooks/ Macbook Pro makes this easier as they provide a generic, standardized product, with integrated, interlinked, applications etc (However, we provide a dual platform on the Macbook's using Virtual Box for Windows in addition to the Apple platform)
  • Consider providing laptops for employed teachers' students. If you have a teacher with 2, 3 or 4 children in your school its unlikely that you will keep them or recruit new teachers, if they have to buy 4 laptops! (we are an International School)
  • Provide a laptop for all teachers and administrators.
  • Sell the 1:1 scheme as a package - this includes maintaining and cleaning, re-imaging, warranty, insurance, laptop loan when in repair, stolen or lost software, problem solving help desk, teacher training....etc

Please do not................

For High School (Secondary School) - Do not restrict access to anything on the Internet for your students. Instead educate them to be responsible digital citizens and enforce the AUP (do restrict downloads at school, restrict to educational use only). Give sanctions to students who do not follow the AUP. Educate, Educate, Educate. If teachers make the lessons engaging, learners will not be tempted to play games and surf the net etc. I believe in not restricting anything, because as soon as they leave the school gates they will not be monitored and will have to learn to be socially responsible. For elementary learners we restrict 1:1 laptop use at break and lunchtimes, however senior students can use laptops all day.

My School - The Nexus International School, Putrajaya, Malaysia

It took a full year to properly plan the implementation of the 1:1 scheme. The first stage was to visit other schools in the region (South East Asia) who already had a 1:1 scheme. The second stage involved finding a suitable supplier, Apple were helpful, but to find a good, supportive Apple supplier was not easy. The third stage was to involve parents and to produce a detailed FAQ booklet to answer all their questions and concerns.

Part of the success of the 1:1 scheme at my school was due to the use of Macbook Laptop Trolley's for 1 year before the 1:1 scheme was introduced. The school provided bookable laptop trolleys for the whole school, these trolleys are still in operation for the younger year groups and groups not in the 1:1 scheme. Because the school had the Macbook trolley's both learners and teachers were already trained and experienced in using the Macbook laptops. Therefore when we actually implemented the 1:1 scheme, everyone was already experienced in using the laptops (everyone knew how to use an Apple Macbook)

Another positive point of the 1:1 scheme is that we first implemented it to grades 5 to 8 (Year 6 to 9). Because of its success, other year groups wanted to join the 1:1 scheme, so within 6 months we added grade 9 (Year 10). Other year groups may also be considered in the near future.

We have an Authorized Apple shop on our school campus, this has been popular as it sells accessories and provides maintenance, insurance and deals with all warranty issues.

These points are the key areas to successful implementation in our school. If you are a school or educational establishment who would like some information or to visit the Nexus International School, please send me an email.

***we are now considering our next phase - an iPad 1:1 scheme - especially for the younger learners***

written by Steven David Pearce 25/11/2010


  1. simpsonj's Avatar
    An interesting read, and I'll be showing this to my Head as an example of how much work would be involved to implement such a scheme. If you don't mind me asking, how much did this scheme cost and what was the percentage you expected parents to pay? Just looking for rough ballpark figures
  2. Innovativescholar's Avatar
    Difficult to answer your question fully, as there are so many cost factors to consider.

    1. We charge the parents US$1500 for the laptop, software application package, 3 year warranty, case and undercover software.
    2. We also charge a yearly technology fee about US$500
    3. The cost of the network and backbone structure/servers is difficult to calculate.
    4. Training of staff - some cost are included paid for by Apple. On top of this we pay US$4000 per year.
    5. My time and costs to write the policies, documentation and presentations.
    6.I have a crew of 4 technical staff with an excellent technical manager.
    7. The cost of the shop on campus and helpdesk is contracted to our Apple supplier at about US$1000 per month.

    Not sure if this was helpful. I can provide more details after the xmas vacation by direct email if required.
  3. GREED's Avatar
    Very interesting and verr detailed.
    Updated 17th December 2010 at 12:23 PM by GREED (typo)
  4. AndrewC's Avatar
    Fantastic blog - this is the bible of 1:1 schemes of how they should and can run! These are the same practices that we follow as a 1:1 scheme provider, without SMT and staff buy-ins ti the use of the laptops it will not succeed.
  5. Innovativescholar's Avatar
    Thank you for your valuable comment Andrew. Everyone involved needs to be behind the 1:1scheme to make it successful.
  6. GrumbleDook's Avatar
    A really good breakdown there ... the one thing I think needs to be explained more is about making lessons engaging and ensuring that the curriculum is designed to make the most of a 1:1 device. You will publicly hear a number of reasons why such schemes fail ... the finances were wrong ... the technology was not reliable ... the support costs were too high ... the kids were being mugged ... but the one that gets brushed under the carpet is the fact that the curriculum was not making the most use of the devices, whether in school or at home.

    You can have the most advanced technology in the world, but if it isn't being used educationally then it is not a worthwhile investment.

    There are some really good examples in the UK and US of it being done right, and some of these will be highlighted during the Learning Without Frontiers conference in Jan ... any information we find (Me, DB and ZH) we will share around in our nightly reports on the conference.


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