Stone Magnet Middle School
1:1 Digital Literacy Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions
We need to prepare kids for their future not our present. These laptops will help will help teachers to create learning experiences for kids that are more rigorous, authentic, and engaging. Please view the following video on digital literacy: What is Digital Literacy?
We are rolling out this initiative in two stages. Seventh graders will get the computers first, roughly around mid-September. Eighth graders will receive them next, roughly the first of the calendar year. For the time being, students will check them out in the morning and check them back in at the end of the school day. They will not be going home although that is the long-term goal.
Students will be assigned an 11” MacBook Air laptop.
We are preparing our staff to create learning experiences that use the standard software and tools that will come with the MacBook Airs. Having students bring their own devices will not give us a uniform learning environment. This could create situations where some students have the required software and tolls and others don’t. So we are requiring that all parents who consent to their student using a laptop agree to use the school-issued laptop. Parents can decline the laptop for their student completely but this will be putting these students at a significant disadvantage in relation to their peers.
Getting teachers ready for this change has been a central focus. While most of the staff is very excited about this technology, it will be a big change. We have already devoted several professional development opportunities to help teachers learn how to best use these computers with students. There are more of these planned as well as online opportunities as well.
The state of Florida has informed the text book publishers that all adopted texts would have a digital version available by 2014. Most publishers have released web-based text versions of their printed materials. Stone will have print versions and teachers will also be training students how to access or install the digital versions as they become integrated into our curriculum. We do believe this is a future trend and with the 1:1 Digital Literacy Initiative in place, SMMS will be well positioned to transition to electronic textbooks.
Most of the mobile carts will no longer be needed. However, there will still be computer labs at SMMS for testing and other special activities.
Won’t students be more distracted when each of them has a laptop? Will this cause more classroom disruption issues?
We currently have a very rich technology environment here at SMMS. It is not uncommon to see classroom sets of laptops and/or iPads used in the classroom. Most of our staff already has a good understanding of classroom management with technology.
We strongly believe that learning is a social endeavor. Students will continue to do face to face work with and without technology. We value teaching and modeling positive social skills and work ethic for all students. We believe that laptops will enhance our ability to have students collaborate and socialize in a positive way.
SMMS was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant and will receive additional funding through this for three years. Technology for each student was specifically written into the grant and will be covering the costs of the digital learning initiative.
There is no fee or cost to students and/or families for this program if the device is cared for properly. Proper care is clearly spelled out in the Laptop Computer Use Agreement. Read it! Know it! Students will not be assigned a computer until the acknowledgement form is notarized and submitted. Fines will be incurred for damage due to negligence. Again, details are spelled out in the Laptop Computer Use Agreement. School insurance will NOT cover accidental loss or theft. Families will be responsible for the replacement value of the computer.
Students will be expected to adhere to our acceptable use policy and Laptop Computer Use Agreement. A violation of either will result in consequences consistent with the school’s discipline code. Like most irresponsible choices, the consequences will likely be reduced freedom and less independence with the device. In extreme cases, computers will be taken away completely. Students have no expectation of privacy while on these devices – programs and files can be examined both in person and remotely at any time. Students and parents need to carefully read and understand the Laptop Computer Use Agreement as well as the district’s acceptable use policy.
The laptop is for academic use. Guidelines for installation of software peripheral devices or other media are contained in the Laptop Computer Use Agreement. Students must ask permission before installing programs or devices. However, students will be allowed (required, in fact) to maintain a personal iTunes account on this device. Students will need to budget their hard drive space. Personal or non-academic files will be deleted by technology personnel if disk space runs low.
All the details for proper care of the laptops and what to do if there is a problem for either normal use or an accident are described in the Laptop Computer Use Agreement. This is a critical document and must be thoroughly understood by students and parents. The computers will have basic warrantee coverage for hardware/software problems not related to accident or negligence. Again, if the computer is well maintained, there will be no cost to students and/or families. However, if there is negligent damage to the laptop, appropriate fines, as described in the Laptop Computer Use Agreement, will be given.