No Laptop for You! (Until You Set Goals)

The fol­low­ing post was writ­ten by John Nash on big think. It is a great post, and John gra­ciously allowed me to cross-post it to this blog!

A teacher friend of mine wrote me recently. She said that her school was work­ing on bring­ing in iPads for grades six and seven next year and asked if I find that schools pre­fer lap­tops to iPads when mov­ing to a 1:1 device environment.

That’s a ques­tion our cen­ter gets quite a bit. In the end, our advice is: be sure your school defines clear goals for what it seeks to achieve by hav­ing com­put­ing devices in the hands of its students.

For instance, if writ­ing is an impor­tant goal, you prob­a­bly want a device with a phys­i­cal key­board — so lap­tops are a good choice.  Schools that are inte­grat­ing writ­ing across the cur­ricu­lum, for instance, would want to take this into account.

But if your goals are about enhanc­ing over­all stu­dent engage­ment with mate­r­ial, then tablets may be the way to go. iPads are excel­lent for giv­ing stu­dents access to infor­ma­tion.  If enhanc­ing cre­ative capa­bil­i­ties of stu­dents is crit­i­cal, then lap­tops may be the way to go because of the wider array of appli­ca­tions and the abil­ity save cre­ative work to disk and share it across plat­forms (print, web, etc).

Regard­less, it’s the set­ting of goals that’s impor­tant. It tran­scends most other school fac­tors in deter­min­ing 1:1 success. For instance, we’ve seen schools issue iPads to stu­dents but not do a good job of expec­ta­tion set­ting and train­ing only to have teach­ers leave the school because of it. Per­haps that’s a worst-case sce­nario, but it’s emblem­atic of the bad feel­ings that can creep in to the teacher ranks when changes are not well com­mu­ni­cated. Other schools that have aligned cur­ricu­lum, trained teach­ers, set clear expec­ta­tions, etc. have stu­dents doing amaz­ing things. The schools that are really good at this don’t call them­selves 1:1 schools, even if they tech­ni­cally are.  Take for instance the Sci­ence Lead­er­ship Acad­emy in Philadel­phia. They have five core val­ues in their school, none of which are about tech­nol­ogy. How­ever, they do use tech­nol­ogy to ful­fill those values:

  • Inquiry
  • Research
  • Col­lab­o­ra­tion
  • Pre­sen­ta­tion
  • Reflec­tion

They are now doing things that are unimag­in­able with­out the devices. And they got there because they had broad agree­ment across their school’s stake­hold­ers about what the goals should be. My col­league Nick Sauers talks about this in a post he wrote a while back. He notes:

One to one learn­ing is one way to enhance what stu­dents learn and the ways that they learn.  It can turn teacher cen­tered class­rooms into stu­dent cen­tered class­rooms.  More impor­tantly, it can move stu­dents from the bot­tom of Bloom’s Tax­on­omy to the top level where stu­dents create…Unfor­tu­nately, one to one could also serve as a tool to pro­mote the ways things have always been done. (The key is to) truly iden­tify what stu­dents should learn and make those things the focus of every­thing the school does.”

Is your school think­ing about imple­ment­ing a 1:1 lap­top pol­icy? Some things to be aware of might include:

  • Think­ing about how to get devices in teach­ers hands the year before stu­dents receive them.
  • Ensur­ing every­one feels the urgency that teach­ing and learn­ing must change to pro­duce suc­cess­ful stu­dents in today’s world. This “urgency build­ing”, as we call it, helps teach­ers under­stand why a school is embark­ing on an ambi­tious move such as 1:1. Not all teach­ers nat­u­rally feel the urgency that can drive a deci­sion to go to 1:1. Kot­ter talks about the 8 stages of cre­at­ing change, and many schools skip step 1 and 3 (urgency and vision) in lieu of just get­ting mov­ing. They just jump in but don’t know the why they really want to do it.
  • Inte­grat­ing stu­dent voice into the plan­ning and imple­men­ta­tion process.  Increas­ing stu­dent voice in a 1:1 plan­ning not only uncov­ers new ideas that a plan­ning team will never think of, it pro­vides stu­dents with a stronger sense of own­er­ship in their school. Stu­dents highly value hav­ing their voices heard and hon­ored.  

What else should a school embark­ing on a 1:1 jour­ney keep in mind?

Photo Credit: (cc) Flickr user flickingerbrad

Tags: 1:1BYODchangegoal set­tinggoalsiPadsLap­topsone-to-onestu­dent voiceurgency

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



synthroid online pharmacy synthroid online no prescription buy synthroid online valtrex online pharmacy buy valtrex online valtrex no rx zoloft cheap buy zoloft no prescription cheap zoloft can you buy lamisil online lamisil online without prescription lamisil online overnight prozac online no prescription buy prozac online without prescription buy prozac buy propecia overnight propecia online pharmacy purchase propecia order priligy online without prescription buy priligy online no prescription buy priligy online no prescription cheap lasix online lasix online no prescription buy generic lasix online buy generic tadalafil online buy tadalafil online tadalafil online no prescription buy retin-a online without a prescription retin-a online without prescription retin-a online pharmacy cheap sildenafil online sildenafil online without prescription buy sildenafil cheap online order strattera online buy strattera online buy strattera no prescription buy neurontin online with mastercard neurontin online pharmacy order neurontin online without prescription buy cheap nolvadex nolvadex online without prescription buy generic nolvadex can you buy zovirax online zovirax online no prescription buy zovirax