Over the next few days I will repeat the process with many of our Year 6 students.
We will also be running supplemental training sessions for students throughout the year, particularly on using OneDrive and OneNote effectively (with a focus on using pen based devices such as the Surface Pro) effectively.
This has also required a few other teachers to support the process, and has impacted the traditional class time - time had to come from somewhere.
Is it worth the effort? It sure is...for lots of reasons.
We have had the program operating for over two years. I have already noticed that many, many students are becoming self-sufficient in the tech areas. The work load on our staff has been much less this year. No doubt it will become even easier in the future.
By setting things up effectively from the start, and by training our students well, we set them on the path to self sufficiency. This is something that they will need in the future. It is unlikely that anyone will look after their computer for them at university, TAFE or in the changing world of business where BYOD is also a growing trend. It is also unlikely that anyone will look after their personal computer for them when they graduate into 'life'.
Our IT Department also like the program. They are very busy at the start of the year, but this quickly drops off. Also, every student who needs help throughout the year becomes an opportunity for them to learn. They can be shown how to solve the problem in future.
Our IT staff also do not have to get 1000 laptops returned at the end of a year; check them for physical damage, reimage them, store them at the end of the year, etc, etc. They are happy.
Parents also get to choose the price point of the machine they want to purchase. As long as it meets the minimum specifications that we publish, we don't really mind what they use.
I would not go back to the old days of centrally managed devices. It is 2016. Why stay with a 1999 laptop paradigm?