Large scale 1-1 programs require a tremendous amount of planning and attention to details. When our district began planning for a roll-out of 1000 Chromebooks in the fall of 2013, our task force formed the following sub-committees:
- Student Feedback
- Parent/Community Outreach
- Nuts & Bolts
- PD/Teacher Support
As someone that actually enjoys planning and logistics, I ended up on the Nuts & Bolts subcommittee. Our sub-committee considered everything: how to handle repairs, filtering, student/parent contracts, asset tags, loaners, printing, furniture, and so on. In fact, we created this handy spreadsheet to track all of our tasks until completion.
We also made sure to solicit student input at all points in the process, knowing their involvement would be key in ensuring a successful roll-out.
When it came to selecting a protective case for our Chromebooks, we wanted to make sure that we chose something that would offer superior protection and was appealing to our students. To accomplish this task, we ordered about about half a dozen cases from Amazon and held focus groups with students to review the choices. We narrowed the choices down to three cases and then held a school-wide vote outside of the cafeteria. The results produced not one, but two clear winners.
Faced with the dilemma of choosing one case over the other, and thereby alienating almost half the student body, I lucked upon a chance meeting with Mark Morris, president of Brand Advantage. Mark evaluated our two options and helped us to design a custom case that incorporated the best features of both sample cases. He even included a custom logo, all at a price that was substantially lower than those that we had evaluated. Not only were we fortunate enough to have a great custom case solution going forward, Mark was able to create a whole new product line called ‘The Bookcase’. He has since sold thousands of cases to school districts across the country. You can read more about his company’s story here. Don’t forget to check out the rest of this site to learn more about The Bookcase product line, including the ‘A1 Bookcase‘; an always-on case that includes all of the features of the original Bookcase.
It’s the little things that make all the difference. Our students had input into the design of Chromebook protective cases, they love the look, and, most importantly, they use them all the time. From a staff and administration standpoint, our modest investment has resulted in a significantly lower damage rate. That’s a win-win situation in my book!