Guest blog post by Stuart Burt, Technology Officer at Royce City ISD and TCEA Area 10 Director.
Three years ago, Royse City ISD began a journey toward a 1-1 initiative at their High School. They knew that it would not be an easy task to accomplish, if done correctly. They carefully studied, planned, and implemented what today is called the RCISD “Connected 4 Learning” Project or C4L. The C4L project is unique to Royse City, but can easily be reproduced by any district.
This project all began with the strategic planning process. A key objective in the RCISD strategic plan is “Students will reach their full academic potential by adapting to the pace and rigor of 21st century learning”. What came out of this objective was the intent of putting a device in as many students hands as possible. A small team was formed to investigate the possibility of a 1-to-1 initiative, starting at the High School. The team started with survey that asked every question imaginable about existing and past 1-1 initiatives. The survey was sent out across the state and country, and eventually received over 100 responses. Out of that survey, a few trends started to appear evident; foremost being that it took manpower and planning to be a success. Secondly, it was evident that the term “1 to 1” had a negative connotation among the districts with failed initiatives.
During the 2014-2015 school year, after learning as much as possible from other districts, RCISD started moving toward their own project to start during the 2015-2016 school year. This meant that there was only one year to fully plan the initiative. A second team was formed to help steer the project and this time it was comprised of students. The “Superintendent’s Advisory Council (SAC)” is male and female student from each grade level in the High School. Each month, they meet with the district administration to give feedback on the programs offered by RCHS and the district as a whole. We discovered pretty quick that much can be learned from this group of opinionated students. These students changed the course of the 1-1 and device initiatives at Royse City High School and district as a whole. The most crucial thing we learned is that technology should be about what it enables the students to do. Too many initiatives asked the question “How will the teachers benefit from students having devices?” At this point, the Connected 4 Learning Project was born.
Our first year with the SAC shaped our project and completely changed the direction we were taking with our device initiative. Our students helped us realize that we could implement C4L almost entirely with students. The “Chrome Squad” was created to provide support for students and teachers. This team of 21 students create blog posts, videos, and other great resources for students and teachers. They are an amazing group of students that have been crucial to the success of our program. Our project would not be what it is without the Chrome Squad. Learn more about them at blog.rcisd.org/c4l/
While still evolving, our project is not a secret. It can easily be reproduced at any district and we are glad to help you! You can find our shared resources at http://bitly.com/c4lresources. Feel free to contact us if you need more details on any aspect of our project.
A few videos: