The Leander Mobile Learning Initiative (mLISD) is the district’s solution to providing all students access to digital content, resources and devices to support anytime/anywhere learning. Students are encouraged to borrow one of our laptops for a nominal yearly maintenance fee or bring a device of their own to use during the school day.
In Leander ISD, we are working to transform students’ learning experiences to achieve our vision that all students will graduate with every option open. mLISD will support the vision outlined in our Graduate Profile that “Leander ISD students are well prepared to enrich our world and excel in a global society” and that “each student is challenged, encouraged, and supported to achieve the highest level of knowledge, skills, and character” in a digital world.
Through the implementation of mLISD, students will have increased opportunities to engage in gathering new knowledge and skills, building meaning and sharing what they have learned in meaningful and innovative ways. mLISD has been specifically created to make the best use of our resources in order to support student engagement in learning and the principles found in the LISD Vision and Guiding Documents: Graduate Profile, Student Learning Model, 10 Ethical Principles and Student Learning Behaviors.
In Leander ISD we are working to transform students’ learning experiences to achieve our vision that all students will graduate with every option open, with the same joy and passion for learning they had when they entered our system, without economics determining success. Through this transformation, we are striving to create environments for our students to be actively engaged in their learning, communicating and collaborating not only with each other, but with their community and even the world, solving real problems and creating meaningful ideas. In our next generation classrooms, we believe students should be provided opportunities to learn in ways that they learn best, and be empowered to show evidence of their learning in innovative and creative ways. Students should be setting their own goals and assessing the progress of their own earning. In LISD, students are no longer just consumers of information, but rather producers, scholars, creators, researchers, performers and designers. The Leander Mobile Learning Initiative (mLISD) will support the vision that Leander ISD students are well prepared to enrich our world and excel in a global society and that each student is challenged, encouraged, supported to achieve the highest level of knowledge, skills, and character in a “digital world.”
How did we get here?
From 2007 through 2010, LISD was able to take steps toward our vision with the purchase new technology to put into our classrooms. This equipment is now aging and with decreasing budgets and cuts in the capital replacement program, over 50% of the current technology on the LISD campuses is older than 5 years, with some more than 8 years old. In 2014, the LISD Board of Trustees allocated funds for the replacement of technology.
As a district, we had the choice to replace a desktop with a desktop or do something different. We formed an improvement team consisting of district and campus staff to identify district needs, conducted focus groups, and continually vetted recommendations back to several stakeholder groups including the Instructional Technology Leadership Team, Campus Administrators, Instructional Services Teams, K-12 and Special Programs leadership teams, Executive Administration and ultimately the LISD Board of Trustees. The recommendation was clear: teachers want more devices in the hands of students to meet the changing learning environment and support the growing needs of digital content. We looked at classroom sets of devices with different ratios and ultimately discovered it is more cost effective to have the technology travel with the student than to provide class sets of devices that go unused for periods throughout the day. This also supports our vision by putting students in the center of their learning and providing all students with access to a device as a learning tool for anytime, anywhere learning.
In addition to the aging technology equipment in LISD and the clear message that we needed to increase access to devices for student learning , several other factors played a part in the creation of a new vision for the way that technology is distributed in LISD. In 2011, the state legislature combined the textbook fund and the technology fund into the new Instructional Materials Allotment for the purchase of instructional materials, which now includes technology equipment, and technology related services. This new allotment is about one third of what we received previously of the two combined. This reduction makes having 1-to-1 textbooks no longer a possibility. We are also seeing more textbooks going digital, and an explosion of digital content & resources available, providing a new wealth of resources at our fingertips. But with these changes our students need to have devices to access the new resources.
What is mLISD?
Through the implementation of mLISD, students have increased opportunities to engage in gathering new knowledge and skills, building meaning and sharing what they have learned in meaningful and innovative ways. In order to support each student, our goal is to provide students with increased access to digital content, resources and devices to support anytime/ anywhere learning. mLISD has been specifically designed to make the best use of our resources in order support student engagement in learning and the principles found in the LISD Vision, Graduate Profile, Student Learning Model, Ethical Principles and Student Learning Behaviors. With technology in the hands of students, facilitated by innovative teaching and learning, students will have the opportunity to inquire, explore, collaborate and cultivate their curiosity.
Through the mLISD pilots, we are developing and refining several critical processes needed to transform our classrooms and expand the program throughout the district including; Training for Teachers, Students & Parents, Access to Digital Content & Curriculum, Device Procurement, Deployment & Maintenance, Fee Collection & Damage Protection, Infrastructure, Policies & Procedures, Marketing & Communications, and Students as Leaders. In January of 2015 we began our campus-level pilots by deploying over 1600 devices to 6th and 9th graders at our three mLISD Pilot Campuses, Henry Middle School, Canyon Ridge Middle School and Leander High School. Over 90% of the eligible students on our pilot campuses chose to participate by paying the fee and receiving a district owned device. We will be monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of these pilots to determine our next steps for our secondary campuses. Throughout the fall, spring and summer of 2014-15, our elementary campuses are receiving a mixture of devices (iPads, Chromebooks, Laptops and Desktops) to be deployed within all LISD elementary classrooms to support innovative teaching and learning.