In the past two weeks I’ve moved from a school with just 3 projectors in a 4 floor, (no wireless), school to a school with:

• Projectors in every classroom (that we will be using next school year).
• Netbooks for every teacher.
• Wireless in key rooms and common areas.


• Beginning next September our Grades 7-9’s will be bringing their own laptops to school!

The pitch

Sometime soon I’ll share the 50+ page/slideshow presentation that I presented to my boss to pitch the idea of moving in this direction. (I need to change some copyrighted images & track down some more image credits first.) I’m sure some of it will be useful to others for the same reasons.  My boss asked me great questions, provided me with the budget, and helped me get things moving with some tech support- (even more than I asked for!) I’m thankful for the faith he has put in me and I’m confident that my staff will convince him a year from now that this was an excellent move towards a new kind of teaching and learning.

From idea to implementation

I created this question and answer page for my parents:

Grade 7 to Grade 9 Bring Your Own Laptop Program Outline for 2010-2011

…and I’ll highlight a section of it, and a section of my newsletter introducing the program, here. I have to thank Matt Montagne for sharing resources with me & saving me a lot of time and effort building things from scratch.


From my newsletter:

Why laptops? (or netbooks)
I have been very involved for the past 4 years in researching and writing about the effective use of technology in schools. I firmly believe that a current education is one that prepares children to engage in intelligent, safe technology use, where students are prosumers of information, (those that don’t just consume, but also produce information and content). Information is becoming more and more abundant and ubiquitous. Resources available online can both greatly enhance what students learn in class, and also extend the classroom beyond the walls of the class and school, allowing for a rich and global learning experience. The goal of this initiative is to provide our Seniors with a true 21st Century, international learning experience.


From the link I shared above:

Will the use of computers affect my child’s learning?
Yes… in a good way!

Some of you may ask, “What about learning the basics, like Reading, Writing, Math and Science, and in an International School, English Language Learning?”
A 21st Century learning model starts and ends with these subjects! The use of technology in the classroom is to provide current, interactive and collaborative tools to help students communicate better and demonstrate their creativity while improving speaking, reading and writing, as well as learning in Math, Science and other key subject areas. Our technology goal is to enhance and enrich the great learning experiences students already get at our school, not to replace those experiences. We already have students from many parts of the world at our school, but now we can truly bring an interactive, global learning experience into our classrooms as well.


"Can Navigate by genemac110 on Flickr"

Background (Part 2)

I’ve read about laptop programs failing, and it seems to me that most if not all of them were the result of overspending on ‘hardware’ and not spending enough on what Ian Jukes calls ‘headware’. The fact is that when you commit to purchasing laptops for every student, you need to spend a lot of time and effort being product managers rather than educators. But “Bring Your Own” programs were not viable before the OLPC $100 Laptop Initiative helped to drive laptop and netbook prices down. Now the focus needs to be on orienting teachers and students into a new way of thinking about using these tools in class. Still, there is a lot of logistics and planning needed to make a BYO Laptop program successful.

The pitch (Part 2)

Thinking about this, I stumbled onto a post by Will Richardson about a plp team.  On a video clip in the post Ellie Preston said her team had made a final project video about their school becoming a BYOLaptop school next year. But, there was no link to the video so I requested one and Will put me in touch with Cary Harrod. Shortly after that Cary and I connected on, and started chatting on, Twitter and she said:"BYOL Tweet"

From idea to implementation (Part 2)

So, here is a new group I started for anyone interested in sharing their BYO Laptop (and also 1-1 Laptop) experiences and resources.

I see three possible goals for such a group:  (Please suggest others)

1. Create a resource useful to anyone interested in starting or developing a BYO Laptop program.

2. Develop a resource of 1-1 teaching and learning strategies.

3. Provide support for all those little challenges that come up in a BYO Laptop or 1-1 school.

So if you are interested, please join this group, share, and learn along with us!

Smiley Laptop


Related posts:

Just last year I was presenting on bringing POD’s (Personally Owned Devices) to school, but I was thinking this would be iPod’s, iTouches and cell phones.

And now for the same reasons that I’m not a fan of the iPad in schools, I think laptops and netbooks are a much better approach!

14 comments on “Bring Your Own Laptop to School

  1. David,

    The power of networking! I know there is so much I can learn from you and others who join our little soiree; it seems pointless to work in a vacuum. Bravo to Will for connecting us.

    I can’t help but think that this is the way to go (BYOL); I have to believe there are other districts like mine that will never even get close to a 1:1 any other way. So, let’s use that collective knowledge to rock the world. Our students deserve it.
    .-= Cary Harrod´s last blog ..Focus: Student Empowerment =-.

  2. Dave – you know how I feel about the BYO laptop idea. I’ve been “preaching” that message for a number of years. The critical success factors I see include: preparing / supporting teachers (technical, pedagogical, classroom management skills), preparing students (appropriate use/social responsibility, application skills), preparing parents (responsibility at home, application understanding, privacy and security, risks), sufficient wireless capacity (coverage, density), network monitoring/management capabilities, sufficient Internet capacity/bandwidth, to name a few. I look forward to hearing how you address these and other factors that I’m sure I left out! Good idea to create a shared resource for us interested in this topic – thanks.
    .-= Brian Kuhn´s last blog ..Digital Tools and Social Responsibility =-.

  3. Hi Dave,

    I like this idea but as Brian Kuhn aptly stated, there are many factors to address before this concept becomes a reality. It does address the fear frequently noted by administrators that children will damage or lose hardware provided by the school; resulting in additional costs for replacement. I assume children will be more invested in caring for their laptop if they own it; especially with parent’s involvement in this initiative.

    I’m curious to learn what factors you presented in the proposal for this program to your boss. Would you be willing to share the key points with me? It would be helpful in my preparation of my critique/analysis of “Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology” by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson, I’ll be presenting in an upcoming class.

    Thanks, Marian

  4. Michael,
    Thank you for the comment and for being one of the first to jump on board with the BYOLaptop group:
    I’m having issues loading it and I”m hoping it is a China issue and not a general issue. I chose as an alternative to Ning, but this is my first experience with them.

    Thank you for the inspiration! I look forward to learning from and with you! As you eloquently say, “Our students deserve it.”

    I miss our before-school coffee talks! Yes, there is so much to think about and your list is great. I’ve been struggling with how much ‘information’ is necessary to share and with whom? Also, something like a LMS is critical and yet, how much do you throw at teachers/students all at once? So much to think about, learn and do!

    Feel free to contact me: for details. As I said, I’ll make the presentation public but I have to not only be respectful with regards to image copyright etc., but also to my boss and the company that I work for. The theme of my presentation was that it’s time to make sure that we are providing a 21st Century learning environment for our students.
    Have you enjoyed the book? Will you be sharing your presentation? I’d love to see it!

  5. Dave,

    What a great idea, I am trying to see if I can get this put in place for a small segment of our school community for next year, but the resistance can be headache inducing at times. The only thing I can tell teachers now though is that at least I have some experience with a one to one class (one of the reasons for my almost complete disappearance over the last month or two). I understand it is a lot of work, but maybe we have to start working smarter. I am looking forward to seeing your presentation and I will be taking some of your ideas back to my administration and teachers.

    .-= gmaccoll´s last blog ..What do you do when technology gives out? =-.

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