2023 K12 1:1 District Program Survey Results

calendar 02.01.2023 calendar Matt Morelli
The 2023 K12 1:1 Program District Survey is complete and the responses have been tallied!
Three smiley faces; one sad face in red, one neutral face in yellow, and one happy face in green.
Hello all, thank you for taking part in our unscientific 1:1 program survey. We’re excited to share the results! We asked K12 technology directors from across America a series of questions about their 1:1 programs, and here is what we learned!
  1. Does your district have a 1:1 device program?
    1. 90% - Yes
    2. 10% - No, but plan to activate a program soon
  2. Do devices stay in class or do students take them home?
    1. 20% - devices go home
    2. 40% - mixture of devices that go home and stay in class
    3. 40% - devices stay in class
  3. Are district parents held liable for loss or damage to the district-owned devices?
    1. 60% - look at circumstantial evidence and make a decision
    2. 30% - hold students/parents accountable
    3. 10% - do not hold anyone accountable
  4. When a device breaks, do you prefer to do your own repairs in-house or do you use a 3rd party vendor?
    1. 65% - in-house repairs
    2. 35% - 3rd party repair solution
    3. 10% of the above mentioned are wobblers who do some repair in-house and some mail-in
  5. Do you have any protective covering on your devices like a shell, sleeve, or case?
    1. 70% - Yes
    2. 30% - No
  6. If so, have you seen a reduction in device damage?
    1. 50% - Yes
    2. 50% - No/Unknown
  7. Are devices collected at the end of the school year, or do students keep them over summer break?
    1. 80% - devices are collected at the end of the year
    2. 20% - returning students keep devices over the summer
  8. How do you combat device loss from departing students at the end of the school year who neglect to turn their device in before leaving?
    1. The responses to this question varied quite a bit, but one theme that was ever present was the feeling that current end-of-year collection efforts were, at best, inadequate.

      Some districts indicate that they charge parents or withhold a diploma and transcripts when a device is not returned while others simply ‘brick’ the device making it unusable and therefore pointless to keep. Many districts indicated shortcomings stemming from the actual physical collection efforts or lack thereof. We were left with the feeling that a lot of Directors would like to see improvement here.
  9. How often do you renew your device fleet?
    1. The answers here ranged from one, to as often as needed, to five plus years for fleet refresh. Several districts indicated that when a freshman class comes in, the class receives new devices which they keep throughout their time in the district until graduation.
  10. What was the most positive aspect of going 1:1 on your district and students?
    1. Giving teachers more tools to work with, in order to educate students better was the resounding theme behind most responses to this question. As one director noted, “The ability to have a blended learning model in classrooms, offering virtual courses to students in low enrollment classes, dual-enrollment courses through local community college, and a communication channel to families.”
The next question is an interesting one, as the responses were almost universally less about any negative impacts on the education of students, and more about all of the challenges encountered while managing a 1:1 program. Below are some answers directly from responding districts.
  1. Are there any negative aspects of 1:1 learning that you’ve realized?
    1. “No, other than broken equipment.”
    2. “Upkeep, maintenance, and broken devices.”
    3. “Keeping devices charged, and accountability for those devices.”
    4. “Broken devices, and a lack of concern for maintaining or keeping up with their device.”
    5. “Inventory, care of devices, device loss, inability to collect fees from a parent if a device goes missing, having to reset devices, firewall and CIPA monitoring, truly a lot of work to have devices for every student and keep them operating as they should. Our district does not employ an IT person so someone who should be tutoring is handling devices.”
    6. “Device repairs, lost devices, and accountability.”
    7. “Yes! Device damage is too high, and students do not care about a district device.”
  2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
    1. Responses to this question were nearly 50/50 challenges in sourcing funding for all program needs, and keeping devices in good working order throughout the school year.
  3. Are there aspects of 1:1 learning that need improvement in your opinion?
    1. Skip to the following paragraphs as we go in depth on this question.
This was a very interesting survey to produce. Between the answers given, and the more in-depth discussions with Directors that many of them led to, it’s safe to say that there are more generalities in common among districts than otherwise. Based on the feedback we were given and our years working directly with K12 1:1 programs - there are no perfect programs. In an area where one program soars, another flails, and vice versa.
We saved the responses to the last question for this section of the article. This is important.
Are there aspects of 1:1 learning that need improvement in your opinion?
To say yes would be an understatement, based on what you told us. Overreliance on devices, and implementing better solutions to stay up-to-date with technology as it evolves was a shared sentiment among many districts. With new technology improving each year, it’s a challenge to stay ahead of the curve. However, the biggest challenge that needs addressing is the lack of accountability for devices and the inability to hold students and parents responsible for their wellbeing, according to the majority of respondents.
This is a pain point that is almost universally shared by survey respondents, as well as School Device Coverage client districts.
Many districts necessitate that a Student / Parent Technology User Agreement which includes a fine structure for accidental or wilful damage be signed before a student can receive a device - but the majority of those districts do not follow through on those assessments, or cannot.
With so many districts experiencing 1:1 program funding challenges, keeping devices in good working order while being unable to assess fines or fees in the event of damage or loss leaves your contemporaries at districts across the nation hamstrung. In the absence of accountability, many districts are left with a somewhat chaotic repair program necessitating the cannibalization of previously damaged devices in the hopes that a repair can be cobbled together with old parts on hand, because funding is an ever-present challenge.
Our Suggestions
The last question above is the one that generated the most buzz. The one that struck a chord with respondents.
Based on years of insuring hundreds of school districts working with Directors of Technology across the United States and the responses to the questions, it’s evident that a large number of districts are playing the balance game - trying to keep enough devices working while fighting for scraps (funding).
Our internal data suggests a reduction in device damage once a technology user agreement that includes fees for damages has been a component of the program for some time. In other words, as programs that hold parents accountable mature over time, the student body tends to ‘learn’ to take better care of the devices. This may also be due in part to how teachers and administrators ‘take to’ a program and then message the importance of device care both to students and to parents.
We have seen compelling evidence that suggests that internal buy-in on 1:1 learning can help provide great results to the program, and to the education of the student body. Conversely, poor communication and engagement between all stakeholders in 1:1 learning is a recipe for future challenges. Communicate with your teams, and ensure that all stakeholders are bought in and understand the why. Listen to your site technicians, library media specialists, and everyone else charged with managing the day-to-day program at all of your schools.
Naturally, when you combine this approach with something like a protective sleeve or case on the device at all times, the rate of device damage can also decrease measurably and improve the operation of your program.
This, of course, is a generality and some districts have wildly different experiences based on any number of differing variables. From the perspective of best practices, we do find that these tools may be quite helpful for most districts.
There are of course many things that we can do to help as an insurance company that covers K12 1:1 devices, but we’ll let you contact us if you would like to learn more! No matter how many precautions you take, damage will happen. We have programs for districts and for parents, to make it easy. Contact us now for a fast quote and program overview!
Image: One smiley happy face in green.