The early adopters of 1:1 initiatives in Iowa are nearing ends of leases/life cycles in 2012 or 2013, and several other districts are beginning their rollouts. Our service calls, consultation visits and conference sessions have provided us with keen insight on the questions, concerns and preferences that many Iowa technology directors and administrators have regarding 1:1 planning.
The decisions made by these schools are as unique as their student population and their opening basketball cheer, but many choices and preparation details remain true for the majority of districts. Here is what we can tell you about the state of 1:1 initiatives in Iowa, in general terms:
- Many schools prefer a smaller screen size to provide ease of mobility for students and maximize the real estate of student desks – most schools choose screens of 14″ or less.
- Wireless networking, switches and firewalls are also hot topics for schools as they prepare for additional network devices. Schools like the idea of personalizing their content filtering/firewall settings in an easy-to-manage platform like SonicWall that also gives them real-time and archived data for troubleshooting and tracing policy violations. More networked devices also require management tools that can assist with asset tracking/security, pushed updates and settings, and organizing devices by user-type. Meraki’s Systems Manager is a hands-down favorite now among our current and potential clients – even without a Meraki Wireless framework network administrators are able to take advantage of most features. Utilizing Systems Manger through a Meraki Wireless Network provides enhanced tools and support features. Attend a free Meraki webinar to learn more about their K-12 products.
- Technology Directors understand the importance of developing standard loadsets for quickly imaging new machines and cleaning machines as part of break/fix or the end of a school year. Some computer companies and resellers are beginning to offer factory imaging before shipping devices to your school.
Below are some device specific trends:
Simply put by one of our K-12 technology director clients, iPads are the cheapest way to put technology and innovation in the hands of students and staff. Starting at $399, iPads offer web browsing, book and document reading, basic office applications and innovative learning games and experiences.
iPads are not a solid device for students with heavy word processing needs, even when coupled with a peripheral keyboard. Many schools that choose iPads for a 1:1 initiative also keep labs or carts with PCs and Macs for word processing and other course specific applications.
When planning a network around iPads, it is important to note that iPads use considerably more bandwidth per device than a standard laptop or desktop.
Until recently, many schools feared iOS management. Meraki’s Systems Manager, mentioned briefly above, provides cloud controlled management of iOS devices. iPads can be remote-wiped, traced, placed in groups and receive restriction based on user-type, etc. For more information, visit www.meraki.com, stop by our booth at the Iowa 1:1 conference, or contact us to schedule a demo.
MacBook Air/MacBook Pro
Many schools are disappointed with the removal of the lower-cost MacBook from Apple’s current laptop offerings. A handful of schools willcontinue their 1:1 with the MacBook Air as their leases/life cycles end with the older MacBooks. Those schools have invested money in training and hardware to become an Apple environment and feel that they will best serve their students and staff by maintaining the Apple framework.
The MacBookPro is another option; some schools do value the addition of the optical drive and ethernet port enough to justify the additional cost.
Lenovo recently released the ThinkPad x130e, the first PC built specifically with K-12 schools and 1:1 initiatives in mind. The rugged body boasts a rubber bumper around the top cover, stronger hinges, corners and ports, and an island-style keyboard. Lenovo caters to schools by also offering custom colors, asset tagging and bios modification. Stop by our booth at the Iowa 1:1 conference or contact us to schedule a demo of the ThinkPad x130e.
Schools taking the HP or Dell route for a 1:1 device typically purchase a stock laptop; both companies offer several models with K-12 friendly specs. Within their lineups there are several variances that should be minded, such as: processor type/speed, body type and hard drive size.
Do you have a favorite 1:1 device? Stop by our booth at the Iowa 1:1 conference or leave us a comment below.