One-to-One Device Guidebook


Published: 5 February 2014

The following is an extract from the Leadership chapter from my One-to-One Device Guidebook.

The success of a one-to-one device strategy is dependent on the strategic support that a school’s senior management team gives to it and upon the leadership skills of that management team. This guidebook explores the broader elements that need to be addressed by a school’s leadership team; such as curriculum design, the management of technological and educational change, financing a one-to-one device strategy and training associated with a one-to-one device program. This section examines some of the specific strands that a school’s leadership team needs to take control of if it is to ensure a successful outcome for its one-to-one device strategy. These are listed as follows:

    • the educational, financial and political backdrop for a one-to-one device strategy;
    • developing a vision for information learning technology and the one-to-one device strategy at the school;
    • project managing a one-to-one device program; and
    • the process for procuring a one-to-one device solution.

This section of the guidebook also examines other work streams that need to be addressed as part of a school’s one-to-one device strategy. Each of the work streams is discussed in greater detail in each chapter of the guidebook. They are listed as follows:

    • managing technological and educational change;
    • financial modelling;
    • sustainability;
    • device choice;
    • technical design;
    • training; and
    • safety issues

The educational, financial and political backdrop
A one-to-one device strategy demonstrates a school’s ability to manage its finances and resources in a manner that delivers ground breaking education services to the local community that it serves. It also signals the confidence that it has in its future as a key education provider in its neighbourhood; a confidence that has the potential to attract investment opportunities and resources to support the delivery of its educational programme for years to come. With this backdrop it is only natural to assume that the one-to-one device strategy has the potential to alter the relationships that the school has with other local education providers, students, parents and the community around it. These are examined later in this section.

A One-to-One device strategy signals the confidence that a school has in its future as an education provider

The reasons for rolling out a one-to-one device program are many and varied. The ability to effectively deliver key education services is one, to utilise technology to improve education services is another; and political drivers are yet another. Schools operate in an increasingly competitive market place and like all markets competition drives innovation and service improvement. The schools that successfully adapt to social, economic, technological and political changes will be perceived by parents as an attractive environment to send their children to. The one-to-one device program is one mechanism that schools can leverage to compete with neighbouring schools.

Rightly or wrongly, there are schools leaders who have implemented a one-to-one device strategy on the premise that it will attract additional students to the campus. If this is the sole reason for implementing the strategy it is a rather expensive way to market a school and it underplays how parents select their preferred schools. Schools that have achieved improved attainment levels across all subject fields with the support of a one-to-one device program will be better placed to describe the benefits that a one-to-one device strategy can bring to families joining or attending the school.

Schools who have successfully implemented a one-to-one device program have demonstrated their ability to develop an IT infrastructure that is capable of supporting a ubiquitous computing model. They have also demonstrated their ability to manage their resources to support and maintain their one-to-one device program and the many strands and work streams that are associated with the strategy. The concentration of IT capital at these schools enables them to leverage their networked services to set them apart from other schools of similar size. The chapter entitled ‘Curriculum Design and Pedagogy’ examines this theme in greater detail.

Schools who have implemented a One-to-One device strategy will excercise greater political influence

The benefits of a one-to-one device strategy not only benefit the school that is implementing the solution; but the scale and capacity of IT networks at these schools allows them the opportunity to work with other schools who can come to benefit from improved connectivity, to have access to technologies and services that would previously have been beyond their reach, improved IT support and the financial benefits of belonging to a larger network of schools. The schools who have successfully implemented a one-to-one device strategy will undoubtedly gain greater political influence especially if they offer and host IT services to other schools. This influence is not always adversarial because a growing number of school leaders have long recognised that there are many advantages to be gained if they establish participative and mutually supporting networks with other schools.

Education Vision
For the first time within the education sector we are seeing a momentum for change that is not being driven by social, moral, ethical or political factors. Recent developments in networked devices and services within the education sector have been rapid and schools have reached a point where they can no longer deliver education services or devise support mechanisms for students without the use of networked devices and services. One-to-one device strategies are a progression and extension of information learning technology use within schools to support the delivery of teaching, learning and assessment.

A one-to-one device strategy represents more than equipping each student with a networked device. It represents an opportunity to alter, enhance and extend education services at the school such as how learning resources are distributed to students; widening the channels of communication between teacher and student and between student and student; it represents an opportunity to alter classroom sizes; how tutorial provision is delivered at the school; how students author, submit and organise their work and how teachers assess student work. A school’s leadership team will need to play an active role in determining the shape of these education services through the one-to-one device strategy. Please refer to the chapter entitled ‘Curriculum Design and Pedagogy’ for further information.

Project Management
The strategic and operational management of a school’s one-to-one device program is a must if it is to deliver a successful one-to-one device strategy. Schools are advised to establish a management structure for managing the day-to-day requirements of their one-to-one device program. The structure needs to include the following groups:

Project Board
Membership of the Project Board needs to include the key sponsors behind the one-to-one device strategy. For a single school this typically includes representatives from the school’s governing body and the Head Teacher or Principal of the school. The Project Board provides steer and direction to the overall one-to-one device program. Colleagues responsible for particular work streams will report to and attend Project Board meetings as and when required.

Operational Group
The Operational Group reports to the Project Board and its membership includes colleagues who are responsible for delivering the individual work streams that make up the one-to-one device program. Typical work streams are listed below.

  • Finance – formulates the financial model for procuring, managing and sustaining the one-to-one device program;
  • Training – advises on all matters relating to the training of teachers, admin staff, students and parents;
  • Teaching and Learning – advises on how the one-to-one program can be used to support and enhance teaching and learning activities; and how the program can be used as a catalyst to promote curriculum development;
  • Technical – advises on technical design, device choice, support and maintenance and safety issues; and
  • Procurement – responsible for procuring the devices and services associated with the school’s one-to-one device program

The Procurement Programme
The ability of a school’s senior leadership team to procure the services required to implement a one-to-one device program will be a key determining factor that will influence the success or failure of its one-to-one device strategy.

The elements that inform the procurement programme may be formulated a year or more before the procurement process starts. This includes elements such as:

  • the school’s functional specification for the one-to-one device program;
  • the state of the school’s current IT infrastructure;
  • the financial position of the school;
  • the staffing levels to support the one-to-one device program;
  • the number of students attending the school;
  • what other schools are doing;
  • the education vision of the school; or
  • the relationship that the school may have with existing education IT suppliers.

Consultation will play a vital role for a school’s leadership team; especially when the procurement decisions made by senior managers will determine the shape and form of the school’s one-to-one device strategy and how the one-to-one devices are utilised by teachers and students on a day-to-day basis. For further information on the procurement element of the one-to-one device program please refer to the chapter entitled ‘The Procurement Process’.

The broad leadership strands that relate to a school’s educational, financial and political backdrop, its education vision, project management and the procurement programme all need to be addressed by a school’s senior management team before and during the delivery of its one-to-one device strategy. In addition to these leadership strands the following section describes other work streams that also need to be addressed as part of a school’s one-to-one device program.

A school’s one-to-one device strategy has the capacity to alter how it shapes and delivers education services

Managing Technological and Educational Change
Technological change is one of the key factors that is driving educational change and the chapter entitled ‘Managing Technological and Educational Change’ examines how school leadership teams can effectively manage this relationship to drive improvements in teaching, learning, assessment and attainment. A school’s one-to-one device strategy has the capacity to alter how it shapes and delivers education services but it must not be seen in isolation. An effective one-to-one device strategy is only able to bring about positive outcomes to teaching, learning and attainment because a school is successful in implementing a wider support programme for its students and teachers.

Financial Modelling
The ability to devise an affordable and sustainable financial model for a one-to-one device strategy will play a crucial part for any school’s senior leadership team. There are a number of financial options that are available to schools. These may include a capital only model, a blend of capital and revenue, operational leases or a parental contribution scheme. With all one-to-one device programs it is vital to ensure that your financial model is affordable and is sustainable beyond the initial replacement cycle of your chosen device(s). The one-to-one device model represents the tip of the iceberg and it will require a secure, reliable and robust IT infrastructure that is capable of supporting the demands of a ubiquitous computing programme. When formulating a financial model that will underpin your one-to-one device program you will need to address matters relating to insurance, ownership, software purchases, breakages, losses, theft, faults and the payment mechanism if parents are contributing to the cost of the device. For further information on devising a financial model for your one-to-one device program please refer to the chapter entitled ‘Financial Modelling’.

Sustaining a one-to-one device program is one of the major challenges facing a school leadership team when formulating a one-to-one device strategy. The chapter entitled ‘Sustainability’ examines how school leadership teams can sustain the positive impact of a one-to-one device program, how they can sustain on-going training for all stakeholders at the school, how schools can sustain their one-to-one device programs beyond the first device refresh cycle, how schools ensure appropriate technical support for their one-to-one device programs, how schools can take advantage of scale to support the sustainability of their one-to-one device programs and how partnerships could be leveraged to support a sustainable one-to-one device strategy.

The ability to devise an affordable and sustainable financial model for a one-to-one device strategy will be a crucial role for any school’s senior leadership team.

Device Choice
Device choice will play an important role for a school’s senior leadership team. The choice of device is an important consideration when deploying a one-to-one device program; for it will determine the type of services your staff and students will access and also the manner by which they will access these services. Schools typically opt for a mobile device such as a tablet but there are many schools who have adopted a traditional laptop device. The best policy when selecting a device for your one-to-one program is to keep an open mind. The chapter entitled ‘Device Choice’ will provide you with a broad set of guidelines and parameters that will inform your choice of device(s) for your school’s one-to-one device strategy.

Technical Design
A sound technical solution always underpins a successful one-to-one device project. A school’s senior leadership team will be required to determine if it needs to invest in updating its core IT infrastructure before considering a one-to-one device program and a thorough IT audit will address any concerns that you may have on this matter. For instance, how confident are you of your school's wireless infrastructure to cope with hundreds of concurrent wireless users and is your school’s IT support team adequately resourced to cope with the demands that will invariably come with a one-to-one device program? Please refer to the chapter entitled ‘Technical Design’ for further information relating to the technical IT infrastructure required to support and sustain a one-to-one device program.

The success of your one-to-one device program will be underpinned by the manner by which your staff and students take ownership of the scheme so your staff development programme will play an important role. Staff will need to feel confident in the use of these devices and in the array of services that can be accessed over these networked devices. The change management programme for your school's one-to-one device program will need to start early and it will need to be sustained and supported as part of your yearly professional development programme for all your staff. Your one-to-one device program may even entail the creation of new roles to support staff and students. The chapter entitled ‘Training’ provides a suggested list of training activities that need to be undertaken by teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders to support the delivery of your one-to-one device program.

Safety Issues
Just like any other networked device and service that is used at a school, a school’s leadership team will need to ensure that their one-to-one device program complies with the appropriate safeguarding policies at the school. The chapter entitled ‘Safety Issues’ examines how school leadership teams can address the concerns regarding a one-to-one device program. The chapter explores e-safety workshops, how mobile device management platforms can be used to safeguard students and how e-safety can be ensured in schools who advocate a scheme were students can bring their own devices into school.

The success of your one-to-one device program will be underpinned by the manner by which your staff and students take ownership of the scheme

The adoption of a one-to-one device program has the potential to impact on a surprisingly broad range of school services and policies. A selection of these has been listed below.

Amendment to School Policies
School leaders will need to make amendments to a number of their school policies to acknowledge their one-to-one device program. Suggested policies were amendments will be required may include:

  • Special Educational Needs – the policy will need to be amended to reflect how the one-to-one device program will support students with special educational needs;
  • Teacher appraisal – schools will need to determine if the use of the one-to-one device in the classroom will make up the appraisal of teachers when conducting classroom observations;
  • Teacher’s Pay – the policy may include an option for teachers to purchase a one-to-one device from their monthly salary;
  • Data Protection – schools will need to state how data, files and user information will be managed with the one-to-one device program;
  • Health and Safety – Schools will need to amend health and safety policies to reflect the fact the one-to-one device will be taken between school and home by teachers and students;
  • Behaviour – Schools will need to amend this policy to state desired behaviour when using the device. This could be captured by the school’s Acceptable User Policy;
  • Home school agreements – Schools may wish to amend this agreement to state that all students attending the school will be offered a one-to-one device to support their studies at the school; and
  • Child Protection Policy – Schools will need to amend this policy to state how they will safeguard the safety of its students with the one-to-one device program. This policy will need to include amendments to the school’s e-safety policy.

A one-to-one device strategy will place considerable demands and pressures on any school leadership team. For instance, the individual work streams that make up a one-to-one device program all represent major projects on their own right. The chapters that follow are intended to be a resource for school leadership teams when assessing the viability of a one-to-one device program and as a reference point during the implementation phase of a one-to-one device project.