Monday, August 13, 2012

1:1 with Chromebooks Becomes a Reality at Leyden

In a little more than 24 hours (from the writing of this post), the next step in the digital evolution of Leyden Community High School District 212 will be achieved.  On August 14, Leyden officially becomes a 1:1 district when students report for the first day of classes... with their Google Chromebooks.  It has certainly been a long journey to get here, but that light at the end of the tunnel is now a blinding supernova.  For the past two years, we have been researching and planning for this day.  We're ready!  At least, I really think/hope we are.  Here are some of the key highlights to how we got here:

  • A dedication from our Board of Education, administration, teachers, and everyone to providing our students with the tools and environment that will allow them to be creative, collaborative, better critical thinkers, improve communication, foster the 21st century fluencies, and become better digital citizens.
  • Research, research, and more research!
  • Committees used for planning.
  • The addition of one hour to the weekly administrative council meetings to talk about going 1:1.
  • Coming up with a new plan for measuring student success.
  • A two year pilot program.
  • Upgrading the district's wireless infrastructure and bandwidth.
  • The implementation of Google Apps for Education for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Deciding to move teaching and learning to the web and that the Chromebook was the right tool to accomplish this goal.
  • Ongoing support from Google and the Chromebook team, which started with a site visit from a couple Googlers and a trip out to the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.
  • Adopting OpenClass as our learning management system.
  • Professional development opportunities, including our 2-day digital evolution summit which offered dozens of sessions taught by leading educational technology enthusiasts from across the country.
  • The hiring of two full-time instructional technology coaches.
  • The creation of our Tech Support Internship (TSI) elective class.
  • Publishing an informational website for parents/guardians and students.
  • Hosting an internal planning website for faculty and staff.
  • Working with a vendor on a solution that would allow students to access websites that do not work on the Chromebook but that would still remain behind our firewall and content filter.
  • Working with a vendor on a solution that would allow faculty and staff to monitor the screens of their students and even restrict their Internet access (still a work in progress).
  • Working with vendors to create and improve available Chrome web apps.
  • Working with some vendors on optional third party insurance plans.
  • Deciding to get our Chromebooks laser engraved and asset tagged.
It reads...
Property of Leyden High School District 212
If found or presented for sale,
please call 847-451-3017.
The ID# matches the barcoded asset tag.

  • Creating a Chromebook Intro website that loads every time the students log onto their device.
  • Deciding on which Chrome web apps and extensions to push out to every student's account (ongoing work in progress).
  • Developing a web-based Chromebook checkout system.
  • Handing out the Chromebooks the week before school during registration and book pick-up.

  • Having a tremendously talented and dedicated technology staff.
  • Having lots and lots of patience.
  • Knowing that what we are doing will make a difference.

I'm sure that I've forgotten at least a few things in my list, but I think you get the idea (if you've read this far). We are very excited about the upcoming historic year!  I suppose I should probably go to bed now to rest up for all the fun.

One last note, we are planning a few days during our first semester for anyone that might like to stop by and see and learn more about what we're doing.  Let me know if you're interested.  I can be reached at

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