What Can Failing Restaurants Tell Us about 1-to-1?

Success for restaurants are more complicated ...

Why would 1-to-1 be just about the device?

Recently I was read­ing some arti­cles on 1-to-1 pro­grams that didn’t live up to expec­ta­tions. This is not a new story, of course.

But there some­times is a ten­dency to believe that giv­ing a device to every stu­dent in a school or dis­trict or sub­set of this is mirac­u­lously going to solve all ills:

  • Test scores will rise!
  • Tech­nol­ogy skills will skyrocket!
  • Stu­dents will be engaged!
  • The com­mu­nity will sup­port us more fully!
  • Peo­ple will visit!
  • Every­one will love us!

It’s the same old story as when I first did the research for the first and then the sec­ond edi­tion of my book. There MUST be a mag­i­cal for­mula here, right? A ratio of 1-to-1 com­bined with every stu­dent and every teacher = huge nee­dle move in all the ail­ing and dif­fi­cult aspects of the school. Plus every­one will like it.

Sorry, there’s more work to it than that. Wish it were eas­ier but it’s not.

Here’s an inter­view with Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine writ­ten by Richard Feloni of Busi­ness Insider, list­ing the 5 things he sees as major rea­sons restau­rants fail. They are:

  • Inex­pe­ri­ence
  • Bad Peo­ple Management
  • Lack of Account­ing Skills
  • Spotty Cus­tomer Service
  • Sub-Par Food Qual­ity and Execution

There is no men­tion of stoves, refrig­er­a­tors, pots, pans, knives, utensils.

We need to look at edu­ca­tion holis­ti­cally and not about hard­ware or soft­ware. What is the expe­ri­ence in the class­room of the stu­dent, what are the fac­tors con­tribut­ing to that expe­ri­ence, what is the philo­soph­i­cal view­point of that school, what can we change, what can we improve, what do we have to work around, what is the lead­er­ship, what do teach­ers say, what do par­ents say, what do stu­dents say?

Tech­nol­ogy can’t solve every­thing, so let’s stop sim­pli­fy­ing this highly com­pli­cated endeavor. All those restau­rants which failed within 5 years had stoves, refrig­er­a­tors, elec­tric­ity, and gas. That’s not the rea­son they failed. Intro­duc­ing 1-to-1 with­out a seri­ous look at every­thing else can result in pock­ets of suc­cess but not trans­for­ma­tion. Take the time, energy and effort to go deeper.

- Pamela Livingston

 

 

Repost from Innovative Schools — Creating 1-to-1 Possibilities

This is a repost from Inno­vate My School orig­i­nally at http://bit.ly/1zNLxbf 

We’re in the twenty-fourth year of edu­ca­tors recog­nis­ing the ratio of 1:1 to mean one dig­i­tal device to one child, avail­able at school, at home and any­where. The very first exam­ple of 1:1 was at Ladies Methodist Col­lege in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia when these vision­ary edu­ca­tors took the bold step of pro­vid­ing lap­tops to every 5–12 grade stu­dent. This is fully chron­i­cled in the book “Never Mind the Laptops”.

Since then, there have been suc­cesses and stum­bles, but one thing is cer­tain: the school, dis­trict or region con­sid­er­ing 1:1 needs to set the goals and direc­tion clearly and com­pletely to ensure mean­ing­ful edu­ca­tional use. To do this it is impor­tant to ask:

Once we have dig­i­tal devices that are avail­able through­out the school, what will we do with them?”

The answer to this ques­tion should be deter­mined after deep reflec­tive think­ing. Just as edu­ca­tors teach inquiry-based learn­ing so that the ques­tions from stu­dents are not sur­face but of depth and sub­stance, so should the edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tion embark on deep and mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sion to answer this ques­tion. Mis­sion and edu­ca­tional goals should drive the answer but so should the pos­si­bil­i­ties that might not have existed before. No school improve­ment pro­gramme has the depth and poten­tial for edu­ca­tion change than pro­vid­ing dig­i­tal devices to every stu­dent and teacher in a school.

Answers can come from thor­ough research on what works and what doesn’t, espe­cially from Project Red. We also have one of the pre­vi­ously largest pro­grammes, the State of Maine, with a long-range researched pro­gramme. Other answers can come from pock­ets of excel­lence such as the Urban School in San Fran­cisco which took the avail­abil­ity of lap­tops for stu­dents into new and amaz­ing heights when they began reach­ing out to their com­mu­nity and inter­view­ing Holo­caust sur­vivors. The Urban School is now get­ting stu­dents to inter­view adults to tell their sto­ries of the civil rights move­ment and his­toric moments. What an amaz­ing exam­ple of stu­dents mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their local and national com­mu­nity, and attain­ing inter­na­tional renown. No one else has done what they have done. This pos­si­bil­ity only arose once stu­dents had dig­i­tal devices.

Another exem­plar is the Sci­ence Lead­er­ship Acad­emy in Philadel­phia. Project-based, inquiry-driven and student-centered, the dig­i­tally device-equipped stu­dents design and run projects, fully empow­ered by mobile dig­i­tal devices. They’ve received vis­its and inter­est from Barack Obama and many oth­ers, as the school achieves great suc­cess in an urban space with a mean­ing­ful and reflec­tive approach to learn­ing. Vis­it­ing a com­puter lab once a week could never offer this type of depth.

At my for­mer employer, The Peck School in Mor­ris­town, NJ lap­tops were orig­i­nally con­sid­ered as a home­work aide. Stu­dents with busy lives were hav­ing trou­ble com­plet­ing home­work, espe­cially with trav­el­ling require­ments from being part of sports teams and some­times liv­ing in more than one home because of divorce or sep­a­ra­tion. Lap­tops pro­vided the vehi­cle for tak­ing the work any­where, turn­ing in home­work elec­tron­i­cally, and keep­ing the arte­facts and resources of learn­ing in school with stu­dents at all times. But Peck did not stop there. Teach­ers worked hard to incor­po­rate these dig­i­tal devices into nearly all aspects of teach­ing and learn­ing. When I worked at Peck and peo­ple wished to visit to see lap­top use, I just had to be sure there weren’t tests hap­pen­ing in spe­cific class­rooms on the days of visit, as there would be lap­tops used otherwise.

Teach­ers often find dif­fer­en­ti­ated learn­ing to be accom­plished more fully using 1:1 because dif­fer­ent stu­dents can be assigned dif­fer­ent parts of a unit accord­ing to inter­est or level, and then work in that group on their own dig­i­tal devices using all the resources available.

St. Thomas Epis­co­pal Parish School in Coral Gables, Florida used lap­tops to fur­ther their stu­dent of life in Ancient Mesopotamia, a sig­na­ture yearly project. Stu­dents can learn dif­fer­ent aspects of this ancient civ­i­liza­tion and then come back together with their con­tri­bu­tions to the whole project. Every stu­dent is at a level play­ing field with devices and resources to empower their learning.

I vis­ited NSW Aus­tralia and saw some excel­lent uses of 1:1, includ­ing stu­dents emi­grat­ing to Aus­tralia and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cul­ture and speech class. Their dig­i­tal devices allowed them to cre­ate per­sua­sive and infor­ma­tive speeches about their process of learn­ing the cul­ture and lan­guage of their new coun­try. Addi­tion­ally, cre­at­ing a record of their learn­ing in progress allowed them to return to each speech and under­stand their own growth and progress. Because tech­nol­ogy cre­ates this type of record, the arc of learn­ing can be under­stood and eval­u­ated not just by the teacher, but also by the learner. Hav­ing this per­sonal and mobile device meant learn­ing was pos­si­ble in mul­ti­ple ways and in mul­ti­ple spaces.

The pos­si­bil­i­ties are enor­mous once reflec­tive edu­ca­tors con­sider how the ratio of 1:1 can open up learn­ing in new ways. Don’t hold back, embrace 1:1 and see what can happen.

Always happy to speak about 1-to-1 –let me know your thoughts.

- Pamela

Collaborative conversations

Sun­day night I had the great oppor­tu­nity to join spe­cial guest Dr. Brad Buck, Direc­tor of Edu­ca­tion in Iowa, along with the group lead­ing Iowa ed chat (#iaed­chat).  Iowa ed chat was launched not too long ago by Jimmy Casas, Aaron Becker, and Matt Deg­ner.  This group hosts vir­tual con­ver­sa­tions each Sun­day night at 8:00 CST on Twit­ter (#iaed­chat), and once a month the group broad­casts google hang­out ses­sions with spe­cial guests.  You can find pre­vi­ous chats here, as well as Sunday’s google hang­out ses­sion with Dr. Buck and myself at this link.

These types of Twit­ter chats are obvi­ously becom­ing more and more com­mon, as evi­denced by this list of edu­ca­tional chats.  As I work with edu­ca­tors across the globe, I always encour­age them to get con­nected with other edu­ca­tors.  Although Twit­ter isn’t the only net­work I rec­om­mend, I believe it is an extremely pow­er­ful one.  The chal­lenge that I often expe­ri­ence is that indi­vid­u­als not com­fort­able with tech­nol­ogy view Twit­ter and other social net­works as sim­ply a place for technophiles — peo­ple with a strong enthu­si­asm for tech­nol­ogy.  They believe that those social net­works exist as a place for tech junkies to dis­cuss tech­nol­ogy.  The Iowa Ed chat and many oth­ers prove that is not true.  They focus on a vari­ety of top­ics such as lead­er­ship, excep­tional stu­dents, stu­dent dis­ci­pline, and other per­ti­nent top­ics. Their top­ics are broad and appro­pri­ate for edu­ca­tors across the globe. Their work also aligns with a recent study I con­ducted with Dr. Jayson Richard­son.  In that study, we ana­lyzed how school lead­ers were using Twit­ter.  We found that most tweets were not about tech­nol­ogy, but rather other edu­ca­tional top­ics.  Addi­tion­ally, we iden­ti­fied that the over­whelm­ing major­ity of tweets (84%) were either directed at other indi­vid­u­als (@) or part of a chat (#).  These find­ings as well as anec­do­tal evi­dence demon­strate that Twit­ter is an extremely pow­er­ful place for indi­vid­u­als to col­lab­o­rate and have vir­tual con­ver­sa­tions about an assort­ment of con­ver­sa­tions that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily related to tech­nol­ogy.  I applaud my Iowa friends for cre­at­ing such an envi­ron­ment, and look for­ward to many great con­ver­sa­tions in the future!

Nick Sauers

1-to-1: Starting Well

This was also posted on the Microsoft Partners-in-Learning Part­ners Hot Topic forum

I have vis­ited and con­sulted for schools in the U.S. and over­seas around 1-to-1 and also researched 1-to-1 for many years. These schools are in vary­ing stages of plan­ning, imple­men­ta­tion, roll­out, refresh and analy­sis. Most want advice on how their pro­grams are going in any of these stages. There is always the chance to return and cor­rect, but schools save them­selves the most time if they start well. Here are some point­ers for this:

  1. Involve all your stake­hold­ers in the vision­ing and plan­ning. While not every per­son can sit on your Vision­ing Com­mit­tee, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from your fac­ulty, admin­is­tra­tion, par­ents, and stu­dents will bring out ideas and per­spec­tives you need for suc­cess. And don’t for­get stu­dents – they are the sin­gle largest stake­holder in terms of num­bers and impact on their lives.
  2. Visit, attend con­fer­ences, research, ask many ques­tions. Schools embark­ing on 1-to-1 have the lux­ury that many oth­ers schools did this already. Assem­ble your ques­tions and a team and take road trips to other schools and to con­fer­ences. Be sure to ask the tough ques­tions such as:  What went wrong? What did you learn now in hindsight?
  3. Give teach­ers devices first – at least 6 months to 1 year before students.
  4. Invest in Pro­fes­sional Devel­op­ment but under­stand it should be var­ied and job-embedded. Make it rel­e­vant to each teacher in each class­room for each discipline.
  5. Include an online learn­ing com­mu­nity. With­out a uni­fy­ing sys­tem that every­one is part of (and not email) you risk class­rooms in silos that are not con­nected. Make 1-to-1 be about col­lab­o­ra­tion with a 1-stop shop­ping loca­tion every­one uses.
  6. Know that pilots don’t tell every­thing. Most schools pilot and expect the teach­ers pilot­ing to be the doc­u­menters of every­thing. How­ever, the pilot teach­ers are highly moti­vated and likely early adopters. Their workarounds and moti­va­tion might not scale to every teacher and every class­room. Expect the year after the pilot when more teach­ers come on board to be bumpy when issues are uncov­ered that didn’t come up dur­ing the pilot.
  7. Pay atten­tion to logis­tics. Spare devices, power cords, bat­ter­ies, charg­ing sta­tions, cases, insur­ance all mat­ter. Your vis­its and research will help with this.
  8. If you’re going BYOD, make sure you know what you’re get­ting into. Good news is that many schools are suc­cess­ful and you can pick their brains. A great place for BYO infor­ma­tion is Thurs­day nights 9 p.m. U.S. East­ern time to fol­low #byotchat on Twit­ter and to search their archives. The peo­ple con­tribut­ing have solved many prob­lems and are very col­le­gial and will­ing to share their material.
  9. Invest in tech. Not just devices, but infra­struc­ture so that roam­ing devices won’t choke when stu­dents bring them from math to lan­guage arts. And not just
    infra­struc­ture, but peo­ple who under­stand and can keep your net­work effec­tive. When you inter­view, try to find help­ful peo­ple who under­stand that teach­ers need to be pri­or­i­tized at the top of their list.
  10. Ques­tion, ana­lyze, fol­low up, lis­ten, revisit, refresh, check, repeat.

There’s plenty more of course. But this is a good list to start. What’s on your list? Please share. Also if you’re going next week to the Microsoft in Edu­ca­tion Global Forum in Barcelona please look for me and let’s talk.

- Pam Livingston

Iowa 1:1 Institute

On April 9 & 10, we’ll be host­ing the 5th annual Iowa 1 to 1 Insti­tute (i11i) in Des Moines, Iowa.  The con­fer­ence was orig­i­nally launched as a place for cur­rent and future 1:1 edu­ca­tors to col­lab­o­rate, share ideas, and dis­cuss chal­lenges.  That ini­tial grass­roots con­fer­ence has grown from a con­fer­ence with 500 atten­dees to last year’s con­fer­ence of over 1200 atten­dees and 100 ses­sions pre­sented through­out the day.  Although most par­tic­i­pants are from Iowa, this isn’t solely an Iowa con­fer­ence.  We’ve had atten­dees from around the coun­try, and we wel­come any­one inter­ested in 1:1 edu­ca­tion.  Much of the suc­cess of the con­fer­ence is a credit to the will­ing­ness of 1:1 edu­ca­tors to share their suc­cesses with other educators.

This year’s con­fer­ence will have many of the same fea­tures as pre­vi­ous con­fer­ences, but we’re also excited with some changes in the con­fer­ence.  The biggest change this year is the addi­tion of a Lead­er­ship Day on April 9 for those indi­vid­u­als who are in some type of lead­er­ship posi­tion with their 1:1 ini­tia­tives.  Patrick Larkin will be lead­ing that day, and we’re opti­mistic he will help lead­ers con­tinue to use 1:1 as a vehi­cle to change the learn­ing expe­ri­ence for stu­dents.  Basic fea­tures of the con­fer­ence can be found below, but please visit the i11i web­site to find out more information.

What:  Iowa 1:1 Institute

When:  April 9 and/or 10

Who:  Any edu­ca­tor inter­ested in 1:1 schools

Where: Event Cen­ter in Des Moines, IA

Cost:  $50/day for early bird registration

Pre­sen­ters:  We are cur­rently accept­ing pre­sen­ta­tion sub­mis­sions.  Lead pre­sen­ters have their reg­is­tra­tion fees waived.

Please be sure to reg­is­ter soon if you’d like to attend the con­fer­ence.  Unfor­tu­nately, we’ve had to cap reg­is­tra­tion each year.  We hope that this year’s con­fer­ence will pro­vide the same rich expe­ri­ences as past con­fer­ences along with addi­tional fea­tures and oppor­tu­ni­ties for learning.

Nick Sauers

1:1 change process

This past week I attended the Inter­na­tional 1:1 Con­fer­ence in Atlanta.  Although the con­fer­ence was small in size, I was very impressed with the ses­sions I attended.  There was one ses­sion in par­tic­u­lar that I thought was very help­ful for atten­dees.  That pre­sen­ta­tion by Neil Schroeder and Kathy Bot­taro focused on the change process for the Sioux City, Iowa schools as they made the tran­si­tion to 1:1 three years ago.  Although they cer­tainly couldn’t describe all of the things they did in their short pre­sen­ta­tion, the five points they high­lighted are fan­tas­tic ideas.  What fol­lows is a brief descrip­tion of those items.

  1. Over­hauled role of teacher librar­ian and recre­ated the library spaces.
  2. Built a stu­dent help desk that fields 125 tickets/day and 20,000 each year!
    • They also cre­ated a phys­i­cal space in the remod­eled media center.
    • They recruit stu­dents at dif­fer­ent grades to cre­ate a tal­ent pipeline.
    • This is another idea I’ve blogged about pre­vi­ously.
  3. Changed the role of media cen­ter associate.
    • Asso­ciates became 1:1 stu­dent help desk manager.
    • They now over­see all fixes and and tech­ni­cal sup­port for the entire high school.
    • Tech­ni­cians now spend NO time work­ing with the help desk.
  4. Built stu­dent intern­ship program.
    • One stu­dent who par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram couldn’t hide his excite­ment about the pro­gram. He had his own office along with responsibilities.
  5. Over­hauled stu­dent and staff training.
    • Rebuilt mid­dle school tech­nol­ogy curriculum.
    • Cre­ated a week-by-week multi-year PD sched­ule and fol­lowed it.
    • Recruited top tier teach­ers to cre­ate model 1:1 courses.
    • Cre­ated vir­tual pro­fes­sional development.

I’m cer­tain I didn’t do their pre­sen­ta­tion jus­tice in this short blog post, but hope­fully their main ideas help you gen­er­ate some ideas for your school.  The fol­low­ing video dis­cusses Sioux City’s 1:1 lap­top program.


Nick Sauers

 

Student participation in professional development

I recently lead a pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment ses­sion for a school that was pilot­ing a chrome­book pro­gram.   I was extremely pleased when the super­in­ten­dent asked me if it would be OK if stu­dents attended the train­ing.  After cre­at­ing what I hoped would be a mean­ing­ful day of PD, I headed out for the train­ing.  I was a bit sur­prised and con­cerned when I arrived on site and saw the par­tic­i­pants.  The group of stu­dents was larger than I expected and also quite a bit younger.  The stu­dents out­num­bered the teach­ers and the largest num­ber of stu­dents were in fifth grade.  Although I taught fifth grade, I was a bit appre­hen­sive about how the day would go with the group.  My appre­hen­sions proved to be totally unfounded, and I absolutely enjoyed the time I spent with the group.  Accord­ing to their feed­back, the group was also pleased with the day.  As I reflected back on the day and com­pared it to other ses­sions I’ve led, I really believe the stu­dents had a large impact on the suc­cess of the day.  So what were some of the dif­fer­ences I noticed…

All par­tic­i­pants stayed extremely pos­i­tive and ener­getic for the entire day.  It is tough for adults or stu­dents to sit in the same room and lis­ten to the same per­son for an entire day.  As I left the room at the end of the train­ing, the energy level seemed to be as high as when I began.

I always encour­age par­tic­i­pants to help one another when I teach them how to use var­i­ous tools.  The cul­ture of help­ing one another dur­ing this train­ing may have been higher than I have ever seen pre­vi­ously.  Con­trary to the belief of many, the stu­dents didn’t have all of the answers and some weren’t as tech savvy as oth­ers.  The teach­ers helped the stu­dents and the stu­dents also cer­tainly helped the teacher.  I’d be curi­ous to know how that impacted the cul­ture of their class­rooms in the future.

I  believe the group being extremely will­ing to explore can be attrib­uted to the pres­ence of the stu­dents. Their curios­ity and inquis­i­tive nature were contagious.

I don’t want to over­sim­plify the many com­po­nents that went into a suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment ses­sion.  I’m cer­tain that one suc­cess fac­tor was that the teach­ers in atten­dance were a group who were excited and will­ing to learn about ways they could use tech­nol­ogy to change their class­rooms.  How­ever, I gen­uinely believe that the stu­dents in atten­dance helped cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that isn’t typ­i­cal of pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment at schools.  Are your stu­dents involved in pro­fes­sional development?

Nick Sauers

Leaders using technology

I’ve recently given a cou­ple of pre­sen­ta­tions on the ways school lead­ers can enhance their skills through the use of tech­nol­ogy.  Dur­ing these pre­sen­ta­tions, I’m very delib­er­ate about not just show­ing a cool tool.  Instead, I begin by focus­ing on some skills that are impor­tant to effec­tive school lead­ers.  For exam­ple, rather than just shar­ing a social book­mark­ing site, we dis­cuss ways it could be used to sup­port teach­ers.  Although those cat­e­gories vary a bit depend­ing on the group, I typ­i­cally include the cat­e­gories that are described below.  I also try to high­light each tool with an exam­ple from a school or leader who is using the tool effectively.

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Stake­hold­ers–Whether it is through a newslet­ter, face-to-face, or a host of other ways, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with stake­hold­ers may be the most impor­tant job of school leaders.

Blogs-I rec­og­nize the time con­straints of most admin­is­tra­tors.  With that in mind, I tell admin­is­tra­tors they need to be very delib­er­ate if they decide to begin a blog.  My rec­om­men­da­tion for most is to start a group blog for the school with shared respon­si­bil­ity between many indi­vid­u­als.  This is one exam­ple of a school that has done just that.

YouTube-As we know, our stu­dents and com­mu­ni­ties are extremely active on YouTube.  I encour­age schools to cre­ate YouTube chan­nels for their schools that serve a vari­ety of pur­poses.  Here is one exam­ple of an inter­na­tional school and their YouTube Channel.

Cre­at­ing a Per­sonal Learn­ing Net­work–Con­tin­u­ously learn­ing is one of the most impor­tant jobs of a school leader who wants to stay relevant.

Twitter-Many edu­ca­tors are fear­ful of twit­ter and don’t see the pur­pose.  I try to share exam­ples of admin­is­tra­tors who are using twit­ter in pow­er­ful ways.  I also dis­cuss how twit­ter chats are a great way to jump into the twit­ter world.

Sup­port­ing Teach­ers–Research has indi­cated the impor­tance that class­room teach­ers have on stu­dent learn­ing.  School lead­ers can greatly impact stu­dent learn­ing by sup­port­ing teachers.

Diigo-After explain­ing the basics of what Diigo can do, I like to share exam­ples of schools who are using diigo to sup­port pro­fes­sional learn­ing com­mu­ni­ties.  This exam­ple is from a 1:1 school who has cre­ated groups for dif­fer­ent con­tent areas.

Google forms-As sim­ple as they are, google forms are a great way to cre­ate a walk-through form that can be per­son­al­ized for your school.  Here is an exam­ple of a very sim­ple one that I have created.

 The things that I shared cer­tainly aren’t overly com­pli­cated, and many of you who read this blog are prob­a­bly using many of these tools.  Unfor­tu­nately, it seems fairly appar­ent that most school lead­ers aren’t embrac­ing most of these tools.

Nick Sauers

BYOD, Communities — and a 1-to-1 Webinar

When invited to visit 1-to-1 schools, I pose two over­ar­ch­ing ques­tions – How are stu­dents involved in 1-to-1 here? How is 1-to-1 grow­ing your learn­ing community?

These ques­tions become impor­tant with a pro­gram with school-supplied or school-recommended dig­i­tal devices – and even more so with BYOD pro­grams. Because if you are expect­ing every­one to sup­ply their own device for learn­ing, you need to:

  1. Make sure stu­dents are fully involved and onboard right away. Bring stu­dents into com­mit­tees and have them part of sur­veys and the plan­ning, ask their opin­ions as experts.  They reside in the dig­i­tal world and are your most impacted stake­hold­ers in terms of their cur­rent and future aca­d­e­mic, career, pro­fes­sional and per­sonal lives. And keep ask­ing them, many times – for­mally and infor­mally. Fol­low up on their ideas and sug­ges­tions. If BYOD is bought in as a strat­egy by the stu­dents who under­stand your respect and under­stand­ing of them and who real­ize the entire pro­gram was built with their buy-in and feed­back — you will have tee’ed up your pro­gram for success.
  2. Schools needs to be brought together with tech­nol­ogy not seg­mented into class­room silos of tech­nol­ogy. Teach­ers need to choose class­room tools – but the school should have an over­ar­ch­ing online com­mu­nity for social learn­ing where every­one can com­mu­ni­cate and col­lab­o­rate in whole-school groups, in whole-grade groups, in whole class­room groups, and in project-based groups. This should be the same social com­mu­nity not a dif­fer­ent one in each class­room, grade level, divi­sion, or school. Build and grow your online social learn­ing com­mu­nity with your stu­dents so they have uni­for­mity and con­nec­tiv­ity as they move through your edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tion – and so that teach­ers can have a place for their PLCs and adult pro­fes­sional dis­cus­sion forums year-after-year.

I’d like to invite you to join Lord Knight, Neus Lorenzo, Leslie Wil­son and myself to hear our thoughts on 1-to-1 The Next Wave and why we think we’re poised at this very moment for some excit­ing things on the 1-to-1 front. Sign up here: http://swrt.worktankseattle.com/series/34/seriessignup.aspx

- Pamela Livingston

Preparing for a 1:1 school visit

A good friend and col­league is cur­rently part of a com­mit­tee that is prepar­ing for her schools tran­si­tion to a 1:1 envi­ron­ment.  Part of that process includes vis­its to vet­eran 1:1 schools.  In prepa­ra­tion for those vis­its, she has asked how she can pre­pare for that visit.  Here are some of my thoughts and rec­om­men­da­tions for her vis­its.  I also want to men­tion that vet­eran 1:1 schools should also con­sider mak­ing vis­its to other schools to share and gather great ideas.

Who should go on the visit?

Of course, you should include all of the reg­u­lar stake­hold­ers in your visit. That should include stu­dents!  I’ve heard many schools remark that they didn’t bring stu­dents on their vis­its, and they really regret­ted that.  You should also con­sider bring­ing some edu­ca­tors who are a bit appre­hen­sive about 1:1.  They may look at the school you visit with a very crit­i­cal eye, and that cer­tainly isn’t bad.  Hope­fully, they will also see some great exam­ples of how the 1:1 envi­ron­ment is trans­form­ing the learn­ing envi­ron­ment.  Obvi­ously, you’ll also need to be good guests and that may mean you need to limit the size of your group vis­it­ing the school.  Instead of vis­it­ing a school with 20 team mem­bers, you could split into two teams and visit two schools.  That strat­egy may also pro­vide a larger vari­ety of ideas to share.

What things should you look for?

Your group will cer­tainly focus on the teach­ing and the learn­ing.  My sole rec­om­men­da­tion in that area would be to focus more on what the stu­dents are doing than what the teach­ers are doing.  When you leave, talk about classes where stu­dents were doing things that you couldn’t do in a non-1:1 envi­ron­ment.  You should also look for those things that didn’t change.  It is also impor­tant to look at the phys­i­cal envi­ron­ment.  Unless you have an unlim­ited bud­get, it is likely you’ll have to make due with the phys­i­cal resources you cur­rently have at your school.  Try to iden­tify how your host school deals with power issues, desk issues, and storage/security issues.

 What things should you ask?

Ask every­thing!  I am extremely for­tu­nate that I’ve been able to talk with hun­dreds of 1:1 edu­ca­tors across the globe.  They all have valu­able insight related to 1:1.  Most edu­ca­tors will be able to answer your ques­tions and many will offer resources as well.  It is quite pos­si­ble that you will form bonds in these vis­its that will help you once you’ve imple­mented 1:1.

As impor­tant as your vis­its are, the most impor­tant step may take place once the vis­its are over.  Take time with your team to debrief.  Every envi­ron­ment in edu­ca­tion is unique.  Some things you see may not work at your school, and other things will work quite well.  Good luck and enjoy your visits!

Nick Sauers