June Jordan School for Equity used an Innovation Award in 2015-16 to design solutions to the lack of student access to technology outside of school. Below is a description of the challenge, process, and solution they designed.
In the 21st century, learning with technology is as basic as learning with books and paper was in the 20th century. 96% of 15-year-old students in OECD countries have computers at home, but at JJSE, less than 50% of students have home computer access. Many students type papers on their phones. Our critical challenge is to provide 1-1 computer access for all JJSE students both inside and outside of regular school hours.
Our initial idea was to give every student a school-provided chromebook. But through the design thinking process, we developed an innovative alternative: What if we required every student to have a laptop and provided families with multiple options for getting them? This would allow students to own their devices and empower them to use the computer any time they need it.
This spring, we piloted the design concept in 4 Advisories. Initial results are that most families are eager to provide their children with their own computer (and home internet), and can do so when given inexpensive options. A few families need school-based support (such as loaner chromebooks), which we are providing on a case-by-case basis.
We are still implementing the pilot, but initial signs are promising. If the pilot is successful, our plan is to expand the program school-wide starting in the fall. The Innovation Grant funds played a critical role by allowing us to purchase enough chromebooks to provider loaners for students whose families cannot purchase their own.