1:1 Computing Since 2003: The History of Our Foray into 1:1
In 2003, DePaul Catholic High School made a commitment to preparing its students to thrive in a ubiquitously tech-driven society and compete in the global marketplace by piloting a 1:1 Tablet PC Program. Every teacher was given and 60 honors students leased the Fujitsu T3000 LifeBook Tablet PC. The T3000 included a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and an integrated Intel graphics controller. Since then, we've come a long way.
Whereas other schools were gravitating towards mobile carts with tablets such as iPads or laptops, DePaul Catholic took the full-school 1:1 Tablet PC plunge in 2004. The prevailing thought was that to integrate the Tablet PC into school life, it needed to be both accessible and reliable. We did not want a student's lack of keyboarding skills to hinder notetaking, so hand-written stylus input was an essential element. The Tablet included a partitioned hard drive: One portion of which was reserved strictly for academics and could be used while in school, and the other partition could be used at home with the student as the administrator to add whatever networking protocols or software deemed necessary. There was a shared folder between the two partitions so students could still edit documents started in school from their "Home Side".
For the first two years, students whose tablets suffered from accidental damage or malfunctions were serviced directly by Fujitsu. With well over 800 Fujitsu Tablets in the building, it became more efficient to open a repair depot within the walls of DePaul Catholic. Ms. Parler, in conjunction with a service representative from Fujitsu, trained a team of students to assist in the repairs. A course in A+ Certification was born and remained in place for the next ten years.
With only a one-year hiatus, DePaul Catholic's relationship with Fujitsu lasted over a decade, until our departure to join Team Microsoft with the Surface 3 in 2015. We've been a 1:1 Surface school since. Previously, students were expected to keep their Tablet PCs for four years; however, given the volatility and rapid improvements in the technology industry, students may now turn in their Tablets for a newer model at the conclusion of their sophomore year. Whereas the Tablet PCs remain the property of DePaul Catholic High School, students may opt to purchase their Tablets upon graduation for $1.00.
In 2004, not only were Tablet PCs new to the building but so were new 30" desks and chairs. The smaller "Scholar Desks" could not accommodate the Tablet PC and additional books. Since then, many textbooks are offered both in hardcover and in a digital format and students routinely use OneNote for notetaking.
In 2004, information on the World Wide Web was largely text-based. We existed for many years on a standard household modem on a shared node. As the delivery of information began more media-robust and PC technology raced for faster wireless access, it became evident an infrastructure update was needed. The network was upgraded in the summer of 2014 to wireless 802.11ac, despite few devices being ac-ready at the time. The dual-band 2.4/5GHz network improvement was accompanied by a dedicated 500 Mbps fiber connection, which was again increased to a full GB in 2019. January of 2021 saw the second doubling to 2 GB to better accommodate both in-house and remote learners. The building was re-cabled to Cat8 in the summer of 2021 and projectors were replaced by 65" TVs in half the classrooms. Another network overhaul is planned for the summer of 2022, once again replacing the Wireless Access Points throughout the building to WiFi 6 with cloud-based management.