David Liss was seeing a unique challenge when it came to implementing 1-to-1 technology for the 6,200 students in Nixa Public Schools, one of the top-performing districts in Missouri.
“One of the things that kept coming up for us was there wasn’t data to support the premise that 1-to-1 technology increased student performance” says Liss, who is Nixa’s executive director of technology. “In lower-performing districts, the data showed that 1-to-1 technology was increasing engagement, which was increasing student performance.”
To increase student engagement, which could ultimately impact student performance at Nixa, there was a need for an interactive device, according to Josh Chastain, who is executive director of digital and professional learning at Nixa.
“We wanted a laptop device that allowed us to have a tablet mode with a touch screen. We saw the touch device being much more prominent in our upper grades, specifically with our junior high and high school students” Chastain says. “They’re so used to using their smartphones. We wanted them to be able to pull the device out quickly and use the touch capacity, or go into a much deeper use with the laptop capabilities.”
Nixa decided that Acer offers the device that would best fit the district’s 1-to-1 model. Nixa selected the Acer Chromebook R 11 C738T, which converts from a laptop into a touch-screen tablet, and rolled it out for the 2016-17 school year.
Liss and Chastain both believe the Acer C738T will drive student engagement, with an additional benefit as well. “This device is going to give students life skills they need” Liss says.
Every K12 student in the district has the Acer C738T, and students in grades 2 through 12 take their devices home after school.
In the year prior to deployment, Chastain says, teachers and district staff had extensive professional development that initially focused on effective teaching practices with technology, as opposed to simply learning about the device.
“It takes longer to understand how to integrate that technology into your teaching” Chastain says. “As long as teachers focus on effective learning strategies, they are able to be effective with the device coming into the classroom.”
Chastain says Acer was on top of everything logistically to roll out 6,700 devices across the district for students and staff. Liss says the district opted to perform any necessary repairs to the devices, which Acer supported by sending a stockpile of common spare parts. Acer even arranged for Nixa staff to tour a repair facility in Texas so they could get a better understanding of any possible maintenance and repair scenarios.
“Acer’s willingness and cooperation to do that kind of thing really shows us that we made a good choice” Chastain says.
As for results, Chastain now sees more student engagement in the classroom. “When we look at the teaching and learning aspect of what’s going on in our classrooms, we see a great deal more student engagement and student opportunity” Chastain says. “The ability for learning to happen anywhere, anytime is something that has increased quite a bit.”
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