Anytime, Anywhere Learning (AAL) Initiative Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Anytime, Anywhere Learning (AAL)?

Dubuque Community School District believes that a guaranteed and viable curriculum is the foundation for teaching and learning.

We believe that our Learning Management System (LMS), Canvas, will allow for better alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment; better sharing, updating, and revising of curriculum; better assessment of student progress to make more timely decisions about teaching and learning; and better communication with students, parents, and counselors.

What is Canvas and how can I access it?

Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) that the District chose to help organize and deliver high school courses. The LMS can facilitate online course discussion between the individual student, their peers and their teachers. It houses electronic course materials (e.g. videos, chats, documents, etc.) and allows teachers to give timely electronic feedback to student work. If allowed by the teacher, students can offer feedback to their peers on coursework in Canvas.

Access Canvas via any web browser. Once there, students simply enter their network username and password to gain access to the system.

How has the Dubuque Community School District prepared for this initiative?

For many years now, the District has structured professional development around the effective integration of technology through its 21 Century Leaning program and other curricular opportunities. Teachers will continue to receive appropriate professional development through throughout the school year to support them in continued integration of blended learning.  The District has also made significant investments and upgrades to strengthened its wireless infrastructure over the past several years to accommodate this new initiative.

Are other schools in Iowa providing devices to their students?

While there are many districts in Iowa with a 1:1 program, and the number of schools continues to increase each year; the District realizes learning is not just about a laptop but being able to provide a viable curriculum where the laptop is a tool for learning. Every district implements the 1:1 program to best fit the individual school district.

Who receives the laptops?

Each 9th grade student will receive a student assigned laptop, charger, impact shield, and carrying case to use for the duration of their enrollment at either Dubuque Senior High School or Stephen Hempstead High School.

The student assigned laptop, charger, impact shield and carrying case are the property of the District and can be surrendered at any time. The laptop is an educational tool not intended for personal use.

How much do parents or guardians have to pay for their child to participate in the Anytime, Anywhere Learning (AAL) initiative?

The laptop is being loaned to each student. The laptop, like a textbook, is property of the District and students are responsible for the care and condition of the device and must return the laptop, charger, impact shield, and carrying case when informed to do so.

How is the program funded?

All laptops and accessories are paid for with funds designated by the school board from the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) program. This funding stream is also known as the local option sales and services tax for school infrastructure.

How much is laptop provided as part of the AAL initiative worth?

The laptop with all services and accessories is valued at approximately $600.00.  It has been noted by other schools that have provided devices to their students take care of the device because it is essential to their learning.  We would expect that students enrolled in our district will take care of their laptop also.

What happens if a laptop is lost or damaged?

This initiative is the perfect opportunity for our families, community, parents, and staff to demonstrate the character attribute of responsibility. If any equipment is lost, the student or parent must report it to the school immediately. Students can let a teacher or administrator know, and the staff member will assist him/her. The circumstances of each situation will be investigated individually.  In some situations, students/families may be fined for damaged or lost equipment.

Will homeowner’s insurance cover the device?

Each family will need to check with their personal insurance agent. Those who wish to purchase their own personal insurance to protect their child’s device in case of loss, theft, or accidental damage may do so. The District has inquired with various insurance groups to offer information for those families who wish to obtain optional device coverage.

NOTE: The Dubuque Community School District is not affiliated or associated with, and will not endorse, any insurance provider. Information is provided by the District about supplemental provider is simply for the parent/guardian to investigate and engage regarding their program. Any insurance obtained by a third party is solely between the parent/guardian and the insurance provider.

As a parent, what kinds of limits should I set on my child’s “screen time”? How does the laptop affect my rules at home?

We hope that the District’s Anytime, Anywhere Learning (AAL) initiative will help students practice positive digital citizenship that will last a lifetime. Any rules that you have about computer, phone or tablet use or Internet access at home should apply equally to your child’s laptop use. However, please keep in mind that more class content will be digitally accessed via the laptop. This may require students to extend their screen time to meet course requirements.

Can students take the laptop home?

Yes, and it is encouraged.  These devices are an integral part of instruction to participate fully in classroom activities and assignments.  The device will be checked out to the student and then will be collected at the end of the school year.

Will devices be kept by students over summer?

No. Laptops will be turned in at the end of the school year so the district can do maintenance on them. Laptops will be re-issued at the start of the school year to continuing students. Laptops issued to students who leave the district (move, graduate, etc.) will be reformatted and re-issued to other students on an as-needed basis.

Data saved locally to the laptop may be lost during this process. It is important that data be saved on a network drive, preferably the District-provided OneDrive account, so data is not lost.

Students will receive the same District-provided laptop at the beginning of the next school year, unless a replacement is required.

What if my child forgets to bring the laptop to school or to class?

A student may stop at the Student Run Help Desk (SRHD) and check out a loaner laptop for the day. The students that obtain a loaner laptop will be responsible for returning the borrowed device to the Student Run Help Desk (SRHD) before the end of the day.  The Student Run Help Desk (SRHD) will document the number of times a loaner laptop is issued to each student for specific reason (e.g. equipment failure, forgot device, etc.) and send reports to the Student Run Help Desk (SRHD) teacher.

Will technical support be provided?

Yes. Laptops in need of repair should be brought to the Student Run Help Desk (SRHD) in a designated area of the school. Loaner laptops will be provided while the laptop is being repaired. There is no fee for a loaner laptop, and loaners will be distributed on an as-available basis. A loaner laptop may not be provided if the damage is deemed to be the result of negligence or intentional damage.

Can a parent opt out of having a district-issued laptop assigned to their student for use?

While strongly discouraged, parents or legal guardians do have the right to waive their child’s access to the laptop outside the school day by filing a written waiver with the school’s main office. The student will still have access to the laptop while at school, but will not be allowed to remove the laptop from school. A location will be provided to store the laptop at school. The decision to either waive the right to access or to participate in access to the laptop can be made at any time during the school year.

Who is responsible for purchasing and installing software?

The District will provide updates to all operating system (Windows 10) and any applications/software used on the device. Most of these updates will be performed when the laptop is being used on a school campus.  In rare circumstances for major updates, students may be asked to leave the laptop at the school overnight to have the updates performed on the laptop. Students will not be able to update software used on the laptop.

What happens to the laptop if my student changes schools between years or during an academic year?

Students are expected to turn in their assigned laptops back to the school (just as they do their textbooks now). Failure to turn the laptop in could result in the student being charged the full replacement cost of the unit.  Additionally, the District may also file a report of stolen property with the local law enforcement agency.

After four years of use, can students purchase their laptop at the end of their senior year?

No. All laptops must be turned in before graduation ceremonies.

What if we do not have wireless Internet access at home. Is this a problem?

The District understands that Internet is not available in every home. There are several public locations with Internet available. Currently many students come to school early or stay after school to work on the devices for assignments. There is also a limited amount of WiFi host spots that can be checked out from each school.

Are there any low-cost Internet plans for home is the Dubuque community?

Both CenturyLink and Mediacom has a low-cost program that the offer for families that have students on the free and reduced lunch program.

Will there be preventive measure on the laptop for Internet safety while at home?

At school, students will have access to the Internet through the school network. When not at school, students can access the Internet on district laptops if they have Internet access available to them in their home or other locations.  The District’s content filter will also be in place when students access the Internet outside of the school. Therefore, sites that are “blocked” at school will also be “blocked” in other locations where students access the Internet in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which was a law enacted by U.S. Congress in 2000.

No technology protection measure is or ever will be 100% effective in protecting young people from exposure to material that is potentially harmful. There is simply too much material on the Internet, with more material posted every second, for any technological system to be 100% effective. Any time a technology is created that seeks to block access to material, another technology will emerge to get around such blocking actions. The Dubuque Community School District will perform a “best effort” in employing technology protection measures, but this is no substitute for education, responsible adult supervision, and ethical Internet use.