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Professional Opinion

A school’s smooth one to one rollout

One school’s low-cost experience providing students and teachers ubiquitous computing access
Peter LaMoreaux is a digital learning strategist who guides teachers in optimizing student learning. He is the instructional technology specialist at Brewster Central School District.
Peter LaMoreaux is a digital learning strategist who guides teachers in optimizing student learning. He is the instructional technology specialist at Brewster Central School District.

The implementation of digital learning tools is an effective means of maximizing student learning. Operations in this environment also better prepare students for their future endeavors in academia, employment and life.

Schools must embrace this frontier of education. Our district recently had the opportunity and luxury of implementing a 1-to-1 program. We had this opportunity thanks to a strategic decision to capitalize on the low total cost of ownership of Chromebooks.

Digital empowerment

Our distribution process was incredibly efficient. At our middle school, we were able to deploy 750 devices in less than three hours. Students entered the distribution center with their signed acknowledgement form. They were handed a new device and arranged in groups of approximately 15.

In less than five minutes, they were lead through the enrollment process of registering their new devices in our asset management system. Arguably, the most significant bottleneck in the system was the distribution of personalized identification stickers and this station was staffed by student volunteers.

Although the district previously had devices, a 1-to-1 model truly empowers teachers to better utilize digital learning tools. Capitalizing on our cloud-based communications and collaboration platform, we’ve given students ubiquitous access to their suite of applications and resources.

The level of engagement and collaboration for students—in and out of the school environment—has increased significantly. In the first month after device distribution, utilization of our learning management system to distribute and collect electronic assignments—as well as to facilitate classroom discussion and collaboration—increased more than 65 percent.

Minimal maintenance

The resources afforded to teachers and students through our 1-to-1 implementation came with little incremental demand on our technology department. After distribution, the maintenance of the devices is minimal and the controls are centralized.

Because Chromebooks function from the browser’s operating system, updates to devices are processed automatically. Any changes that need to be made to the Chromebook environment can be made remotely from the administrative console.

These changes can be implemented to an entire school or grade level at one time; the IT department never needs to touch the device Teacher prep.

In preparing teachers for the 1-to-1 deployment, it was critical to provide professional learning opportunities so our educators were proficient operating in a cloud-based environment. This included providing early access to Chromebooks to teachers. We are successfully working through the transition to our new learning environment.

Teachers continue to need assistance, and occasionally so do students. We do have students who come to class without their device or with a device that is not charged. We are creating a system that provides the appropriate supports for these conditions.

We are also embracing the opportunity to teach the students the values of accountability and responsibility, both with the management of their device as well as with their digital literacy and access to information on the internet.

The digital world is one where many of our students currently function, and this trend will only increase. We, as educators, need to embrace and capitalize on the learning resources available to us to engage students. The low total cost of ownership afforded to us through our 1-to-1 Chromebook implementation has made our vision a scalable reality.

We will continue to transform our dynamic learning environment by embracing these digital learning tools, with the vision of maximizing student learning.


Peter LaMoreaux is a digital learning strategist who guides teachers in optimizing student learning. He is the instructional technology specialist at Brewster Central School District.