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How to Avoid Costly 1-to-1 Computing Mistakes

Washington-based Consortium for School Networking. "They need to start with why they are doing it and what the learning will look like."

Start Small: The biggest mistake many districts make is trying to move too quickly. "You just can't rush," said Bob Moore, an education consultant and a former school district technology official. "Start small. Do a pilot. Roll out over a period of years. Don't let the sense of urgency force you to make rash decisions." Mr. Moore suggests that districts start in one grade or one subject area.

Get Schools Tech-Ready: The 144,000-student Charlotte-Mecklenburg district in North Carolina deployed 32,000 Chromebooks to middle school students this year. But it took the district two years to lay the technological groundwork to make that happen, said Valerie Truesdale, the district's chief of technology. "None of our schools was 100 percent wireless," she said. "It took us a solid year just to provision the classrooms and get the bandwidth where it needs to be."Articulate Your Vision: Experts on 1-to-1 computing say district leaders considering a digital conversion must clearly outline their goals. "A lot of the doomed initiatives start with the superintendent announcing that [the district is] going to give a tablet or a laptop to every student," said Keith R. Krueger, the chief executive officer of the Washington-based Consortium for School Networking. "They need to start with why they are doing it and what the learning will look like."

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