The more I work with 1:1 schools, the more I am convinced of the absolute importance of leadership with the transition to a 1:1 environment. Without solid leadership, great teachers are forced to connect with others outside of the school walls to improve their skills. That isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the only way they can improve as educators. Other less ambitious educators are left muddling around trying to use these “new” devices to do old things. So what can leaders do to make the transition more successful?
- Clearly establish and communicate the reason that the school has become 1:1.
- If there isn’t a clear and convincing vision, many educators will become frustrated with the first roadblock (Bad connectivity, broken device, etc.) they encounter.
- Parents, teachers, and students should all understand why this large investment was made!
- Professional development should not be one size fits all. Both the high flyers and those who struggle with technology need personalized PD.
- Consider that different teachers and departments may have unique needs in regards to their software and hardware.
- As the saying goes, “what matters gets measured”. Provide teachers with feedback about the ways they are using technology.
- Allow teachers to observe other teachers using technology in powerful ways.
- This point aligns closely with vision, but I think it is very important. Personally, I like using this framework to discuss the ways technology is being used.
- Establish core competencies for teachers around the use of technology. Leaders can then operate with the assumption that all teachers know how to use and can discuss empowering uses with those technology skills.
- Be extremely thoughtful about the policies you enact! Too often policies are put in place as a reactionary measure to one incident.
- Consider the pros and cons before making policies, procedures, and rules regarding the use of technology.
- If you want true support, your best allies will be your students and teachers. Let them provide meaningful direction to your 1:1 program.
- You can’t successfully lead a 1:1 initiative without support from others. Use the experts in your building!
As you read this list, you may recognize that many of these things aren’t unique to a 1:1 initiative. Many of these recommendations are simply good leadership! However, they are overlooked way too often.