I was recently asked by a friend to recommend some major steps as their school begins the process of deciding if and how they will become a 1:1 school. My recommendations follow:
- Create a leadership team
Identify the reason you are going to implement 1:1
- Include multiple stakeholders on the team, and not just technophiles!
- Include students in the process.
- Consider having subcommittees that address various topics.
- Involve administrators in the leadership team and the entire process. They are key players who will need to support the initiative.
Visit other schools
- This may be the biggest problem I see with 1:1 initiatives. Converting to 1:1 should not be your goal. Identify a change you want to see in your school that 1:1 can support.
- That goal should align with your school’s mission and vision, and not be something that acts as a stand alone.
Initiate pilot programs
- Identify model schools and send teams to those schools.
- Rather than sending a larger group to one school, send smaller groups to multiple schools.
- Include educators as well as students, board members, and community members in these visits.
Study the change process
- Identify a strong team that can implement a pilot program to become the 1:1 pioneers in your school.
- Provide that small group of educators with additional training resources. Allow them to attend conferences or participate in other workshops.
- Study the successes and challenges of those pilot programs.
- Use those educators to lead professional development for other staff members.
Develop a plan for implementation of your initiative
- Transitioning to 1:1 is a major change! Don’t ignore the literature on change.
- Kotter’s book Leading Change is one of my favorites around the stages of the change process.
Create and deliver professional development
- Create a clear plan that lays out your 1:1 plan and includes components for required steps for implementation and evaluation.
- This tool created by John Nash is an extremely useful tool for any major change in a school!
- Professional development sessions need to begin PRIOR to launching your initiative.
- Differentiate professional development for educators.
- Create the capacity of educators in your school to deliver professional development.
- Identify a core set of competencies around technology that all teachers should have and help them gain those competencies! It may be helpful to identify a core set of technology tools that EVERY educator could use fluently.
- It seems absolutely crazy that schools invest hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in technology, but refuse to spend any substantial amount on professional development.
You may also want to consider visiting this blog
focused on one school’s journey through the process.
Update: This form
was created by @tracywatanabe, and it may help you with this process.
In my work with the Next Generation Leadership Academy, we focus on six “critical attributes” which were identified by the Chief Council of State School Officers. Student Agency is one of those attributes, and it is defined as follows:
The expectation that students will develop to direct and own their learning and assume responsibility for themselves and their communities. Student agency is both a means to college and career readiness and a competency that is part of being a college and career ready individual.
Student choice and voice are certainly part of student agency, but this definition includes student responsibility as a key component. When thinking about student agency, the amount of student ownership could certainly vary widely. I’ve categorized a couple of possible examples of student agency from mild to wild. The wild ideas are certainly a bit more challenging to implement!
- Let students take responsibility for how they will share their learning with you. Create a rubric that clearly identifies learning goals and guidelines. Students can then choose the medium to demonstrate their knowledge. That might be a report, blog, video, podcast, prezi, song, or presentation. It could also be a medium unfamiliar to you. The success of this project will be dependent on your rubric!
- Have students create a plan for creating a positive digital presence for your school. Allow students to implement that plan!
- Share end of unit objectives with students. Allow students to create their own learning plan that must include a demonstration showing that they have mastered the content. The plan should also include the steps students will use to gain that knowledge. This would certainly be easier in some courses than others!
- Give students freedom each week to explore a topic of their choosing. I recently finished Daniel Pink’s book Drive which highlighted the successes many companies have had with allowing employees to explore a topic of their own choosing.
When I was first speaking with schools about 1-to-1 not long after edition 1 of my book (now in its 2nd edition) was published, two big questions were – Is your school/district wireless? Are you providing students with email accounts? Back then, not every school could respond to both questions in the affirmative.
Now we are seeing more ubiquitous devices including tablets, laptops, smart phones and the complexity that ensues. This previous post went into some of the issues faced by schools when introducing BYOD; the comments provide more depth and ideas as well. Any 1-to-1 or BYOD school is wired now as it would make so sense otherwise. Nearly all schools and districts offer some type of email for students if they are 1-to-1.
Like many, I’ve become intrigued by the concept of flipped learning – an idea even more feasible when students all possess some type of device that is as mobile as they are and which is used to learn, review and synthesize content away from the classroom followed by more indepth social, hands-on learning when back in the classroom. To me, it’s all about learner centricity – if done right. This is a great thing and what we have always wanted – the learner has the resources at his/her fingertips, learning and tools for learning are continously available – and the user-created artifacts of learning are organized and available to the learner at any time.
However, the piece that is also needed is some type of online learning community. Rather than email, which we all know has become a boondoggle in our lives and which students are moving away from in droves, an online learning community can offer a safe, contained space for teachers and students.
I’ll be presenting at NCCE on Friday, March 1 at 2:30 a session entitled “A ‘Cloud’ for Flipped Classrooms” which is all about how implementing flipped classrooms, or really most all technology integration projects, ought to have the cornerstone of an online learning community. The benefits of a learning community include:
- Providing a central space for learning that extends the classroom
- Eliminating “Web 2.0 site of the week” syndrome which results in
- login fatigue (trying to remember which ID and password to use) resulting from all the different applications
- fractured student experiences (having multiple interfaces to know and navigate)
- Preventing email clutter
- Rather than the teacher maintaining lists of internal or external emails, the community uses its own internal messaging
- Messaging can include sending student documents, marking them up, and returning to the student via attachments – trackable and centralized
- Threaded discussions
- Real discussions can occur and be followed
- Promotes collaboration
- Students can work as a whole class or in smaller groups with teacher oversight
- Increased student accountability
- No lost paper – the Internet is everywhere – even at McDonald’s!
- Date and time is stamped with work turned in
- Shared resources
- Everyone sees the links, the resources, the photos, podcasts, etc.
- Assignment posting, turning in
- The assignments and the work are centralized
- Class calendar
- A calendar for the class is available to view events, assignments, assessments, etc.
- Easy interfaces
- Students use social media now and most online communities emulate this
- A safe place to learn digital citizenship
- Practicing how to be a good digital citizenship using social media in a classroom community can provide real examples of what to do and what not to do, along with teachable moments
- Teachers may wish to implement “L.A.R.K.” a concept from my book
- Digital learning should be L — Legal (adhering to copyright and other laws) A — Appropriate (images and ideas should not be offensive) R — Responsible (taking care of digital tools and resources) K — Kind (knowing how to respect and be kind to everyone in a community)
Full disclosure: I manage a great (IMHO!) product that does all this. But this list above applies in general as well. 1-to-1 needs an online learning community to unleash its true potential.
Your thoughts and comments are welcome!
- Pamela Livingston
Recently, I led an ISTE webinar focused on digital citizenship for a small group of educators. My session didn’t focus on all of the bad things students and teachers can get into with technology, but instead the ways they can use technology to enhance their learning and teaching experiences. I’m certainly not insinuating that schools should ignore teaching about those negative aspects of technology. Students need to be aware of the impact that their online activities can have. However, it does seem that much of our focus when discussing digital citizenship focuses on those negative experiences. My presentation focused on the ways teachers and students are using technology in powerful ways. The examples below were some of the ones that I shared, and you can get the full list here.
- Classroom blogs-These two examples (example 1 & example 2) highlight how elementary classroom teachers created a blog and gave their students a wider audience. With the help of Quad blogging and edublogs, their class blog has had nearly 4,000 views from around the world!
- Facebook–This example is a high school teacher who uses facebook as one way to connect with his students. By the looks of the page, it is certainly effective.
- Diigo–This diigo group was created by a tech integration coach, and it is used as a way for teams to gather resources together.
- Twitter–Twitter chats are a great way to share and gather valuable resources and information. This kindergarten chat is just one example.
- Podcasts–These were created by elementary students, and then merged together for one master class podcast. They certainly sound very professional!
When making decisions about the use of technology in schools, educators need to balance the pros and cons of different types of technology use. Too often, decisions are made because of the possibility of a small group of students behaving inappropriately. Unfortunately, those decisions also limit the benefits that many other students would have had.
For the past couple of months I’ve received numerous emails inquiring about the Iowa 1:1 Institute. I’m extremely excited to officially launch the 4th Annual Iowa 1:1 Institute which will be held on April 4, 2013 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. The conference has been a great success over the past three years because of all of the educators who have helped make it happen. Our Iowa 1:1 educators have not only presented, but they have provided resources and people to help make the conference run smoothly. Last year we had more presenters submit presentation proposals than ever before. A team of Iowa educators evaluated the proposals and selected those that they felt would be most beneficial to conference attendees. I believe that process drastically strengthened the presentations at the conference, and we’ll use that format once again. Although the number of 1:1 schools in Iowa have grown drastically, our purpose has remained the same.
- Help Iowa’s 1:1 districts learn from each other about innovative teaching, learning, and administrative practices that are occurring in their districts;
- Build excitement and ‘buzz’ around 1:1 laptop computing initiatives in the state; and
- Help others who are interested in 1:1 computing learn more about how to get started and be successful.
If you’d like to attend, please click on one of the links below and register soon! Each year we have had to turn away participants because of lack of space. We anticipate very high numbers again this year!
We hope you will be part of what has become the biggest, and we hope best, one-to-one conference in the world!
This semester I am teaching a class that is a little out of my normal realm of work. I’m teaching a leadership class in the Kinesiology Department here at the University of Kentucky. Most of the students want to be college coaches, rec coordinators, athletic administrators, or front office employees in the sports world. Although this class is a bit different from much of my other current work, I was very excited to teach the course. I’ve been very involved with athletics and sports organizations in many different roles throughout my life. I also recognized that the meat and potatoes of this course were certainly leadership skills and sports were just the gravy that adds flavor to the conversation.
While “tweaking” the syllabus of the former instructor, I carefully considered ways to enhance the course. With that in mind, I decided to add a component that focused on developing personal learning networks through the use of social media. In our first class, students actually created a “Low-Tech Social Network” by creating avatars and tags on note cards. They then had to make connections with one another. Unfortunately, my board was too small for the group that I had!
(Check out Gamestorming for this activity and many others that are great for work with groups.)
Last week our class dove more deeply into social media, and I was encouraged to blog about my findings :)
Prior to class students read a series of articles around the use of social media in sports organizations. They also participated in a class discussion board led by two moderators. I was surprised by how much the discussion threads focused on the student-athletes use of social media. Much of the conversation focused on ways to educate, filter, monitor, or block students use of social media. Although I found that conversation fascinating, I was more interested in two other ways social media can be used in athletics. I wanted them to become aware of ways that organizations were using social media. More importantly, I wanted to help them recognize how they can use social media to stay connected and informed about their profession. I think this is so important that one of their assignments for the semester is to grow their social presence. My criteria are fairly lenient. Some may choose to grow their network by connecting and interacting with others in their field. Other students may just dip their toes in and use social media as a listening station where they can gain insight from insiders and others in their field.
Although there are sure to be individuals in this new information rich interconnected society who succeed without such tools, they won’t be the norm. Organizations and individuals who embrace social media will be able to connect in ways that are not possible without the use of technology!
I recently read a blog post that is certainly worth reading. Brett Clark’s post, 6 pillars of a 1:1 initiative, is a good read for current and future 1:1 educators. His list included:
- Learning initiative
- Professional development
- Digital Citizenship
- Time and patience
His list stresses many of the things that I talk about frequently. However, his point about choice is one that I don’t talk about nearly as often. I like the concept of student choice, and it is certainly a powerful way to engage students in many educational activities. I also wonder what that looks like in a school setting. How do teachers deal with it and support students? How about tech directors? I’m not opposed, but I get lost in the logistics. I’d love to know more!
This week I will have the opportunity to work with a school that has implemented a pilot 1:1 program while simultaneously focusing on implementing inquiry based instruction. Last year I had the opportunity to work with a group of their teachers as they planned to make this change to their learning environment. According to early reports, things have gone successfully thus far.
Their implementation was different than the ways that many schools implement 1:1, but it is a model others should consider. The change in their learning environment focused on an instructional change (inquiry based learning). A 1:1 pilot program was just one part of the plan that would support teachers as they changed the ways that they taught. Too often, 1:1 schools approach their implementation with a far different approach. Some simply set their goal as going 1:1, and fail to connect that goal to any learning initiative. For those of you that have been reading this blog for any length of time, that last sentence should sound familiar. I am extremely concerned about how often schools transition to 1:1 without having a goal other than “transitioning to 1:1”. In fact, I think this problem is becoming worse as more and more schools implement 1:1 at a very rapid pace. There are a couple of good question to ask yourself and your colleagues. How does 1:1 connect to other learning initiatives in your school? Is it something separate or is it a tool used to support other plans in your district? My hope is that more 1:1 schools are able to provide answers to these questions that indicate that 1:1 is connected to a change in the teaching and learning in a school.
It is that time of year again when many people make their New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, many of those resolutions fail for a multitude of reasons. Two common challenges are that the goals are sometimes unrealistic or there may be a lack of support for the goals. With those considerations in mind, I’ve created a list of possible New Year’s resolutions for educators along with possible support networks for them. Change: Begin to replace outdated or irrelevant print materials with more rigorous online resources.
- Support: Don’t throw out all of the resources you currently have. It may be better to target just one course, or only portions of a course.
- Support: Find another educator who teaches similar content and ask them to do the same thing and share resources with one another.
Change: Create or expand your personal learning network.
- Support: Schedule a 15 minute block once each week to build your network.
- Support: Find someone who has created a successful PLN to ask about recommended resources. If you can find someone with similar interests, that will be more helpful.
Change: Implement an online/virtual component to a course that expands the learning experience for students. You could partially flip the classroom, bring in virtual guest speakers, or collaborate with another class from a different location.
- Support: Chat with another teacher at your school or elsewhere who has implemented some of these items.
- Support: Recruit students to help with the technical aspects of these items.
Change: Observe other teachers who are using technology in innovative ways.
- Support: Ask your administration for class coverage so you can observe another class. Although you couldn’t do this all of the time, most administrators would be happy to do this a couple of times.
Change (Administrator Specific): Provide specific feedback to teachers around the ways they are using technology.
- Support: Identify an “expert” who can help you with your initial walk-throughs.
- Support: Identify a simple, easy to understand vocabulary that you can use to provide feedback. Bernajean Porter’s Spectrum is a favorite of mine!
It certainly isn’t realistic or healthy to try to implement all of these changes at once. However, these items by themselves are things that can be implemented with some effort and commitment. Good luck and Happy New Year!
Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to work with a group of teachers at the American Embassy Schools in New Delhi who are currently or will be implementing a 1:1 program of some sort. Unfortunately, I only had one hour and we didn’t get to have as deep of conversation as I would have liked. During that time, I wanted to provide teachers with some things to consider in their classrooms, and I gave them three big ideas to consider.
Focus on HOW you are using technology rather than just IF you are using technology.
I cringe when I hear conversations that focus on whether or not technology is being used (at schools or at home). Sometimes we equate technology use, any technology use, as an improvement to instruction. As teachers and school leaders, the focus needs to shift to HOW technology is being used. Does it improve the learning experience for students?
Consult the experts about ways to use technology to enhance teaching and learning.
We often think of tech integrators, media directors, and tech savvy teachers as our technology experts in the school. They certainly are extremely valuable resources. In addition, I strongly encouraged teachers to also identify the experts that exist within their classrooms. All students certainly are not technology experts, but it is HIGHLY likely that there are a few in nearly every class.
Create a professional network and stay informed on trends related to your topic.
Developing networks outside of your school building is one way to stay current on whatever you teach. Technology should certainly be a part of the conversation with any group of educators who come together to discuss educational topics. Technology is also the tool that will allow teachers to make those connections even when they are not able to meet face-to-face on a regular basis.
Although this list certainly isn’t all inclusive, it hopefully captures a couple of major points to consider for all 1:1 educators. Keeping these ideas in mind when preparing or working in a 1:1 environment may better prepare teachers to use technology as a real change vehicle.