Int. Education

The Next Phase of Technology at ISB

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ISB 1:1 Timeline

Last week our IT Director, Chad Bates, gave a presentation to the ISB School Board outlining the next phase of technology use at ISB. The phase includes a plan to go 1:1 starting next year with grade 6 students.

It’s an exciting time to be at ISB and I for one am looking forward to rolling out the 1:1 program over the next couple years.

As part of his presentation Chad went over the history of technology implementation at ISB over the past 10 years. As I sat there reflecting on how far we’ve come with technology in just the past 10 years, it amazed me how fast we’ve transitioned even if for many of us it doesn’t seem we’re transitioning fast enough.

1999: ISB has two computer labs in each division (ES, MS, HS) with technology teachers that pull kids out of class as a special. A very common practice in 1999.

2001: Under than IT Director Steve Lehmann ISB puts in a campus wide wireless network, and starts replacing computer labs with laptop carts at each division as part of the replacement cycle.

2004: ISB hires a Technology & Learning Coordinator (TLC) to help teachers implement technology in the classroom.

Summer 2005: Bandwidth is increased to 1MB

2005: The TLC from 2004 returns to the classroom and the current team starts to take shape starting with Dennis Harter who is hired to be the TLC for Middle School and High School.

Summer 2006: Bandwidth is increased to 2MB

2006: The Elementary School hires Justin Medved as the TLC and phases out computer labs in the ES and goes exclusively to laptops carts at each grade level. By 2007 ever teacher will be phased into using a laptop instead of a desktop computer in their classroom.

Summer 2007: Bandwidth is increased to 5MB

2007: One of the elementary librarians moves to take another international job and the Elementary School takes the opportunity to rethink the overlap of technology and libraries and hires Kim Cofino as the 21st Century Literacy Specialist.

Summer 2008: Internet bandwidth is increased to 10MB

2008: Justin Medved moves on to a new adventure and I’m hired as the new Elementary TLC and Chad Bates is hired as the Middle School TLC and for the first time ISB has a dedicated TLC at all three levels.

Summer 2009: The wireless infrastructure is upgraded to N protacol an a 10GB Fiber Optic Backbone is put in place and bandwidth is increased to 20MB.

2009: Chad Bates moves into the IT Director role as Steve Lehmann leaves for a new adventure and Kim Cofino moves into a 50% Middle School TLC position 50% 21st Century Literacy Specialist position.

Fall 2010: Launch phase one of 1:1 program in 6th grade. Dennis Harter moves to the High School office as Dean of Students (VP). Kim Cofino starts a new adventure in Japan at YIS. I move into the High School TLC role vacated by Dennis, and a new (soon to be announced) person is hired to take Kim’s spot as the Middle School TLC. Chrissy Hellyer moves from 5th Grade to the Elementary TLC role that I vacated.

Still with me? And Yes…this is a typical International School setting.

That’s a brief history of the progression of our school. We now have approximately 970 student computers for a school population of about 1700 students, or about one computer for every two students. Starting from 2007 the school has also provided SmartBoards, Document Cameras, and Sound Systems in every classroom.

We are now in a place that 1:1 makes sense for our school. We have teachers who want to use the laptops but can’t because the carts are signed out to another teacher. We have students who want to work on video and other projects outside of school, but can’t do to common software or platform issues. In other words…we’ve built a system that makes taking that next step to 1:1 just a logical one. Teachers want more access, students want more access, and it’s our job to figure out how to make that happen.

We have taken the time to grow the need for laptops organically. The push to go 1:1 is not coming from the admin, it’s coming from teachers and parents. During Chad’s presentation to the School Board, the questions they asked were more around why only 1 grade level? Or how do we make sure other students benefit as well? The idea of going 1:1 wasn’t shocking, because it’s the logical next step.

Exciting times ahead here at ISB. If my blog posts start to focus more on going 1:1 you now know why. 😉

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Great information for me to use on the job a daily basis. I loved reading the history of ISB. In reality ISB has had a computer lab as a pull out class in ES even longer that ’99. Way back to the early 90’s. But I was sorry to see the Stephen has not been blogging. I would have left a comment there too but the posting was old. I miss him!

    Glad you are excited about 1:1. I am too, but disappointed at the same time as my son will be in grade 7 next year. I am not surprised that grade 6 has been selected as the pilot grade. Team 6 has always been pioneers at ISB no matter how often the faces change. Just the nature of the beast I guess. Gotta be brave to deal with those kids. Gotta love ’em!

    Just like you said in class… the comment is getting long enough to be my own blog. Maybe I will do a cut and paste…

    See ya

  2. Nice one Jeff – I love timelines.
    You have done a nice job of capturing the recent tech history of ISB.
    One thing that timelines can never reveal is the “in-between” thinking,conversation and work that was responsible for making each stage of timeline possible. The credit you attribute to Stephen Lehmann is due as he was directly responsible for a major “paradigm” shift in the school which led to the closing of many labs and the creation of many laptop carts. So many debates,discussions and shifts had to happen in order to achieve each step that despite even the best laid tech plan could not have been possible without passionate educators driving it forward. Much the same way the ISB 1:1 is now unfolding. I’m excited to watch it grow.

    Off on March break – woo hoo!

  3. Jeff, the evolution that ISB has undergone in the past 10 years is impressive. I love seeing the parallels to what’s happened, and is happening, here at Academia Cotopaxi. In some ways, we’re a couple of years behind ISB. As Tech Director, I have plans to replace teacher desktop computers with laptops over the next 3-5 years, and to start a 1:1 student laptop purchase program with Grade 9–with a 4 year laptop replacement cycle, means that the students take the laptop with them when they graduate. I’d like to then phase it in at Grade 5, so that the laptops they purchase are then purchase-replaced when they enter HS in 9th grade.
    We’re also moving toward SMART Boards and Doc Cams as standard equipment in almost all classrooms in the next 5 years.
    Hey, I’d love to know what laptop you all decide upon for the 1:1 program–specs, software, maintenance agreements, insurance options, etc. We’re a Windows platform school, and ISB is Mac, but anything you can send my way on the 1:1 laptop program that I might be able to adapt here I’d greatly appreciate.
    Keep on Sticking! You’re the prince of the Inland Empire!!

    • We are in the process of talking to vendors now about the 1:1. Currently we’re Mac in the Elementary and PC in the Middle and High school so we really could go either way. It will be down to the vendors and what they can offer us as far as a complete package.

      We should know by the end of March which computer/platform will be using. Stay Tuned!

  4. Wow! It seems whole school, including teachers, students, and parents have come so far in just 10 years. Very inspiring. Keep it up! I hope this catches on here in the States.

  5. Pingback: The Next Phase of Technology at ISB | International School Information Aggregator

  6. This is a great timeline Jeff, which really clearly explains the evolution of a first rate IT program in a school. Very cool.

    In terms of OS, I wouldn’t choose either Apple or Microsoft for school laptops. I’d look to the future and give the children Linux laptops. Linux Mint Debian Edition is a very nice distribution which can be based on the very reliable and spritely Debian core (rather than the top heavy and sometimes slow to update Ubuntu).

    Of course there are driver issues in Linux, but as you have control of the hardware, you can choose recommended hardware with 100% compatibility and effectively achieve the OS/hardware integration which Apple does at a tiny fraction of the price.

    I’m a 15 year Apple user with four Apple computers now (have to get rid of a couple actually). We use all three OS at work but will be moving to Linux over the next years.

    Why drop Apple?

    Apple is going back to walled garden:

    * software: only apps from their store
    * data: iCloud for all your data
    * hardware: all your devices and all your peripherals have to come from Apple (new proprietary data transfer and monitor connections)

    This is an Orwellian world which I wouldn’t want to push children into.

    The arguments against Microsoft (backdoors, security issues, shovelware on delivery, performance deterioration over time) have been covered many times.

    Let the kids learn how to use real computers where there is a chance to look under the hoods and tinker. It will help them to develop clearer and deeper thinking about IT and technology.

    And it will save you a boat load of money over 1700 laptops.

    You’ve inspired me to write a whole post: Laptops for Schools: Microsoft Windows, Apple or Linux

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