FAQ: About the laptop initiative


Michelle Contreras

This is a part of an in-depth feature package on mLISD, a new endeavor by Leander ISD to provide mobile technology to students. Below is the questions we heard the most and wanted the answers to.

What is mlisd?
mLISD is the Leander Mobile Learning Initiative, an endeavor to challenge, encourage and support students in a digital world. The district is providing students with increased access to digital content, resources and devices to support anytime/anywhere learning.

How will this happen?
The initial pilots have taken place over the last two years with three levels of implementation. Currently, teachers across the district have received laptops and training for utilizing them in the classroom. Also, three campuses are pilot schools Canyon Ridge Middle School, Henry Middle School and Leander High School. Laptops were deployed to these campuses’ sixth and ninth graders this year with plans to expand the deployment to sixth through 11th grade as early as fall 2015.

Will we receive laptops?
We already have them. There’s currently 16 carts being used by teachers in their classes. The district is studying the results of the pilots and will present them to the school board. It is expected early next spring, laptops will be given to sixth graders and freshmen at each of the middle school and high school campuses. The district plans on continuing giving laptops to each incoming class.

What about the rest of the school?
The sophomores, juniors and seniors will not receive laptops, but they will be made available in classrooms to the students via portable labs.

The district wants to integrate technology into every classroom, provide students with additional opportunities to use technology, and replace aging computer equipment.

Is it free?
Freshmen will pay a $35 per semester fee to cover the insurance for the laptop, essentially leasing it. Students on reduced lunch will pay $35 for the whole year. The district also has said they’re willing to work with students with financial concerns.

Do freshmen have to lease the laptop?
No. Students can choose to buy the laptop outright or bring their own device. BYOT is advantageous for students who wish to download software or games, since they we be unable to add programs to the district laptops that are not part of the LISD Software Center.

What happens to lost/stolen laptops?
The insurance students pay for covers the cost of the loss the first time the device is stolen, so with the proper police report, there will be no repercussions. Devices that are lost will be replaced for a deductible of half of the full price (estimated $300). For the second time a device is lost or stolen, the student will have to repay the full cost of the laptop.

What if the laptop breaks or needs repair?
Technicians will be assigned per campus to help students resolve their technical issues, but the fee students pay when they receive their laptops covers accidental damage and manufacture defects for the first two times. However, if the damage is due to intentionally destructive behavior or broken a third time, the student will pay an additional fee.

Source: mLISD Parent and Student FAQ

For our in-depth feature story on the laptop initiative, please click here.