Zionsville Middle School is currently in its second year of its 1:1 program, and at present all 6th and 7th grade students use netbooks or laptops at home and at school. The current plan is to expand the program to all students in grades 5-8 in 2010-2011, and then again to all students in grades 5-12 in the fall of 2011.

1:1 Program History:


ZMS began formal planning for a 1:1 program in January of 2008 with the establishment of a Technology Task Force, a group consisting of parents, teachers, technology staff, and administrators. The attached powerpoint was the starting point for this group that met weekly for three months.



The Technology Task Force researched various models of 1:1 programs in the U.S., investigated legal issues the school corporation might face by initiating a pilot program for a subset of student body, developed a working plan for a pilot program, and surveyed parents to determine interest. The survey set out to determine not only if parents would be interested in their child participating in a 1:1 program, but also if they would be willing to purchase the laptop for their child. The attachment below contains the survey and its results.



Once the survey results were compiled, the task force was prepared to make a recommendation to the superintendent and school board to initiate a 6th grade 1:1 pilot program. The recommendation was to create the pilot for 75 students. Parents would submit their child's name to a lottery with the understanding that they would purchase the laptop for the program if their child was selected. The recommendation was altered and approved. The approved pilot would also allow students to be part of the program whose parents chose not to buy a laptop, rather to use a school-owned machine. The "student-owned" laptops could go home and be used at school, while the "school-owned" laptops could be used at school only. The attachment below is the lottery process used to determine the 75 students for the pilot program.



Parent communication was deemed essential for the program to be successful. An orientation meeting was held separately for students and parents prior to the beginning of the school year. Subsequent meetings were held monthly with the parents of students in the program. These monthly meetings generally highlighted students' work on various projects, and also offered the parents opportunities to provide feedback and/or ask questions. The attachment below is the parent orientation powerpoint from the initial summer meeting.



Two goals were chosen as the primary and secondary focus of the pilot program. Increased student engagement was the primary goal, and a development of 21st century skills was the secondary goal. Throughout the year our school informally monitored our success toward these ends. Toward the end of the school year, the school arranged for an outside group to conduct an audit to determine progress toward these goals. The attached powerpoint contains feedback from this study.



A recommendation was subsequently made to the school board to extend the program in year 2009-2010 to all students in grades 6 and 7. The new program took advantage of the Indiana DOE ruling that computers were curriculum delivery mechanisms and, as such, could be funded in the same manner that textbooks are funded in Indiana. Central office administrators (superintendent Scott Robison and CFO Mike Shafer) recommended to create a sustainable model by establishing a rainy day fund endowment and by using the proceeds from that endowment to create a "buy down." In addition to the "buy down," it was recommended that netbooks be purchased rather than laptops. The initial annual cost per student for netbook rental was $48 rather than the $100 it would have cost without the "buy down" strategy.

Parent communication remained a primary focus. Monthly parent meetings remain on the agenda. Virtual meetings were created in addition to the "live" meetings that were offered in an effort to extend the message to our entire parent population.

Staff Development:


A 1:1 program is impossible to implement without a fully capable staff. Interestingly, the staff development that most believe is necessary revolves solely on technology and "how to" sessions about software and hardware. Zionsville Middle School has taken a different approach. Our staff development has focused almost solely on pedagogical philosophy, and we have explored technology through that lens. This recent blogpost summarizes our approach, and the following quote from that post describes our approach with precision:

"(W)e use technology to assist the teacher to instruct the way we have long known is best, but logistics prevented us from doing so. Instructional best practice has long called for activities to be student-centered, experiential, holistic, authentic, constructivist in nature, and allow for many forms of expression, reflection, and collaboration. In a classroom with a static textbook and no connection to the outside world, these principles are difficult if not nearly impossible to routinely embed. Our push to put technology in the hands of our students is an effort to alter our activities to make these principles a permanent fixture."

Our staff development consistently reinforces instructional best practices, and teacher collaboration within our professional learning community has been largely responsible with the proliferation of technoloy use ideas. In other words, ZMS staff members freely share their work when they discover a legitimate use of a technology that extends and improves the learning experience. 1:1 teachers and other ZMS staffers created a working document to assemble the dispositions, knowledge and skills necessary for successful teachers in a 1:1 program.



In the summer of 2009, ZMS staff participated in a number of staff development workshops in preparation for 1:1 instruction. The sessions and their descriptions can be found in the document below:



Additionally, the staff periodically reads from a blog written by the principal about pedagogical themes.