Today we chatted with Bill Rader, the Director of Technology at Danville Community School Corporation (DCSC). DCSC is located in central Hendricks County, just west of Indianapolis, IN. The district operates six schools serving over 2,500 students from Preschool through 12th grade. They have an excellent student-teacher ratio of 19 to 1. DCSC is known for their excellent academics, their teachers, and their high graduation rate.
SDC: Introduce yourself to the readers.
Bill: My name is Bill Rader and I am the Director of Technology at Danville Community School Corporation in Danville, Indiana.
SDC: How long has your district run it’s 1:1 program?
Bill: Danville CSC has had an active 1:1 device program for more than ten years.
SDC: What types of processes and procedures have you put in place to ensure 1:1 program success?
Bill: Aside from the usual checks and balances that most districts have in place, we’ve also engineered dedicated workspaces that double as locations where students can come for support. A proper helpdesk / asset control system is invaluable to a successful 1:1 program.
SDC: What qualities do you look for when selecting a device for students?
Bill: Our ideal device is the ‘total package’. Battery life, overall performance, mobility, ease of use, cost…these are all vitally important.
SDC: Do you have a favorite 1:1 device, and why?
Bill: We really like the Dell 3100 lineup with the N4000 processors. These devices have a great battery life which is important, and a durable outer case.
SDC: What does your deployment cycle normally look like?
Bill: Before Covid-19, we would collect devices at the end of each school year. Then, over summer we would clean them and prepare them for distribution the next school year. This past summer we let students keep them over the summer. Deployment was a lot easier this year.
SDC: What are some of your favorite EdTech blogs or resources?
Bill: I get a lot of value out of the HECC (Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators) Listserv.
SDC: How would you describe the changes you have seen in the quality of instruction in your district since you began the 1:1 program?
Bill: The technical skill level of staff and students has risen considerably. They are now collaborating more and doing more digitally.
SDC: What are the instructional goals you hope to accomplish in your 1:1 program?
Bill: To assist our students and staff reach each other during current challenges and in more engaging ways than previously able. Without an active 1:1 program, educating our students during COVID would be incredibly challenging.
SDC: What are 2 things you wish someone would've told you or warned you about before you started your program?
Bill: Kids really don't like leaving the cases on!
SDC: What are some of the biggest mistakes that a district can make when rolling out a 1:1 program?
Bill: The biggest mistake I can think of is prescribing a device and not listening to all stakeholders.
SDC: Do you have any words of wisdom for Directors of Technology in school districts who are planning their first-ever 1:1 device program rollout?
Bill: Get 50 extra, of everything, every time! Be careful how something like this can overwork your staff. Their emotional and physical health have to be valued way more than how many devices you get ready each day. Also give great consideration how this changes the educational experience for staff and students.