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Digital Learning Initiative Resources and FAQs

Please consult the Buncombe County Schools Digital Learning Transition Timeline for the answers to many more questions.
(Originally released in March 2015)

Other FAQs include:

Why are we undertaking the Digital Learning Initiative in Buncombe County Schools?
We are implementing this plan because we want to be a leader in providing a world-class, future-ready, global education. Our goal is that all students will graduate as high-achieving and globally competitive learners with 21st Century skills.

Realistically, when will we have enough devices for all students?

The first rollout (Phase I) for 4th-6th graders began in January, 2016.  The next rollouts (Phase II) will be 2016-17 for 7th-9th graders and (Phase III) 2017-18 for 10th-12th graders. Kindergarten-3rd graders will continue to use shared iPads until a possible device phase in during the (Phase IV) 2018-19 school year.

Where is the money coming from?

The funding for the Digital Learning Initiative is primarily local Capital Expenditure (CapEx) funding. It is important to note that CapEx funds can not be used for personnel.

Is the device durable?

Yes. The Lenovo Thinkpad 11e Yoga is specifically designed as an educational tool.  It is drop tested at 90 cm, has a ruggedized case, reinforced glass touchscreen, and anchored keys to prevent curious fingers from prying them off. A four-year life cycle is expected.

Why was this model/platform chosen?

The Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e (laptop and tablet mode) is specifically designed for education and was widely preferred over education series models from Dell  and HP by focus groups of our educators and students due to its versatility and durability. The District Media and Technology Advisory Committee chose the Windows touchscreen platform for 4th-12th grades after months of careful deliberation because of its flexibility to support the most learning opportunities.

What if something happens to the device (i.e broken screen)? Who is responsible for it? Is there a deductible?

To insure that devices are properly maintained and timely repaired in the most equitable and affordable manner possible...

1. Student devices will be insured against accidental damage and theft. Technology Services will partner with schools/families by covering the up front cost for device insurance and by contributing $25 toward the post-incident $50 deductible for on-site repair of accidental damage. There is currently no up-front "technology" fee associated with being assigned a student device.
2. Once devices start going home with students (will require signed Student Device User Agreement), schools will collect $25 from students/parents following an accidental damage incident that results in a device that needs repair.
3. Damaged student devices will be repaired on site at the school by a background checked contractor typically in a 1-2 day time frame following a work order submitted online. Loaner pool machines will be available at each school for day-use while a student's device is being repaired. Loaner pool machines may not be taken off campus.
4. We anticipate the break rate may be 5% or less due to the durability of the device.
 What about life cycle refresh?
We have anticipated a four year life cycle from the beginning maintaining the three grade levels per year concept.
Will students keep the same computer throughout the year?
Yes, assuming they remain at that particular school throughout the year.
Are students going to be allowed to take them home?

Take home timing will be a local decision made by principals and school stakeholders once the computers have been distributed. Student devices will be housed at the schools during summers in order to perform updates and maintenance. 

What about sleeves or carrying cases?

Sleeves or carrying cases is a school-level decision. Schools may be seeking donations/sponsorships.

What happens when students access websites/games that they are not allowed to be on during class?

The Buncombe County Schools code of conduct and Technology Responsible Use policies will apply in all cases.

Will classrooms have charging stations?

In grades 4-6, classrooms will be equipped with 30 unit carts to use for summer storage and charging purposes. The charging carts are manufactured by Custom Educational Furnishings right here in Buncombe County.

How will teachers be prepared to integrate the device more fully into day to day classroom life?

Thirty plus hours of introductory professional development and follow-up specific to digital learning will be delivered by Buncombe County Schools curriculum specialists, instructional coaches, and Digital Learning Facilitators along with Microsoft Teaching Through Technology and Intel Learning One-to-One Professional Development as follow-up.

Will the network infrastructure be efficient enough to accommodate our needs?

Yes.  As of July 2013, all Wide Area Network links were upgraded to 1 Gbps transport over scalable fiber and in 2014, we replaced all network switches with new Cisco switches.  Also in 2014, we replaced legacy ethernet with fiber between all switch closets across entire district.  As of July 2015, every classroom is outfitted with Aerohive Wireless Access Point (WAPs) including multiple WAPs in media centers, cafeterias, and gymnasiums.

Will these devices replace textbooks and other printed materials in the classroom?
House Bill 44 calls for educational content and curriculum to be "digital" by the 2017/18 school year, but we know there will always be a place for physical texts and curriculum materials. Buncombe County Schools is already a leader in the state in terms of incorporating Makerspaces and other hands-on learning opportunities. Variety is extremely important in a personalized learning environment, but the student devices will provide consistent access to quality electronic resources and up-to-date, interactive, on demand curriculum materials.

Where are other NC school systems in this process?

According to the Department of Public Instruction and the Friday Institute at NC STATE University and the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan approximately 684 schools were 1:1 across the state with 10 school districts 1:1 across all schools as of July 1, 2015.

Where can I view the user guide for the Levono ThinkPad Yoga 11e? 

Click here to view the user guide for the Levono ThinkPad Yoga 11e. (Cleaning the computer, page 76)

Where can I view the regulatory notice that contains the radio frequency and safety standards for the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e?

Click here to view the regulatory notice for the Levono ThinkPad Yoga 11e. 

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