1-to-1 – Now and Then

I’m prepar­ing for a trip to school in South Korea in the process of a robust 1-to-1 pro­gram and reflect­ing on the past 7+ years work­ing with schools tak­ing this jour­ney.  Here are some over­all observations:

1. It’s still about the peo­ple – the edu­ca­tors, the stu­dents, the par­ents, and admin­is­tra­tors – and mak­ing sure voices are heard, stake­hold­ers are brought into all con­ver­sa­tions. Deci­sions should start with these types of ques­tions – How will [stu­dents] ben­e­fit and par­tic­i­pate? How will [teach­ers] lead? How will [par­ents] sup­port? Then ask the ques­tions again but switch the stake­holder name.

2. Every pro­gram is dif­fer­ent – because each school’s mis­sion, cul­ture, and goals are dif­fer­ent. Ensur­ing align­ment to the school or dis­trict is key.

3. Stu­dents need to be empow­ered and should be part of the plan­ning and dis­cus­sions, and not just as the tar­get of the program.

4. There is no such thing as over plan­ning or over com­mu­ni­cat­ing. Plans will change and be fluid. Every­one will fill in the silence with their own inter­pre­ta­tion if there is not enough communication.

5. Hard­ware and soft­ware keeps get­ting bet­ter, more flex­i­ble, and eas­ier to use.

6. An online learn­ing com­mu­nity is vital  — one that every­one can access – to elim­i­nate unin­ten­tional silos of learn­ing, clut­tered email and frac­tured stu­dent experiences.

7. Fur­ni­ture is improv­ing – check this out: http://www.ideo.com/work/node-chair/

8.  Wifi is bet­ter but a net­work audit is still de rigeur. Most hard­ware ven­dors will help out with this at a low price in hopes of get­ting the contract.

9. Learner-centricity and per­son­al­ized learn­ing is what 1-to-1 is all about. What a plea­sure to see it writ­ten into so many school 1-to-1 plans.

10. Logis­tics still count; lap­tops still break; insur­ance is still needed; elec­tric­ity is a fact of 1-to-1 life.

11. Par­ents are our best part­ners; when they embrace 1-to-1 in their home prac­tices much of the bat­tle is won.

12. Relat­ing 1-to-1 to pre­vi­ous fac­ulty work can be a smart move. One school mod­eled their pend­ing 1-to-1 in part on dis­cus­sions with their fac­ulty sev­eral years back on “what is a 21st cen­tury class­room.” The ideas of their fac­ulty then became the impor­tant frame­work for pro­vid­ing lap­tops to students.

It’s so great to see that 1-to-1 con­tin­ues to flourish.

- Pamela Livingston


Iowa 1:1 Institute wrap-up

On April 4, nearly 1300 edu­ca­tors attended the Iowa 1:1 Insti­tute in Des Moines, Iowa.  Through­out the day there were approx­i­mately 100 dif­fer­ent ses­sions focused on a wide vari­ety of top­ics.  As I made my rounds dur­ing the con­fer­ence, I was able to pop my head in and lis­ten briefly to many of the ses­sions.  One thing that truly astounded me was the col­lec­tive wis­dom of the group.  At any given time there were a very diverse set of pre­sen­ta­tions tak­ing place cov­er­ing very dif­fer­ent top­ics.  Although I am a big fan of cre­at­ing vir­tual pro­fes­sional learn­ing net­works, the value of a con­fer­ence such as this is also appar­ent to me.  For some, the day is a great way to become immersed in the world of 1:1 schools.  For other vet­eran 1:1 edu­ca­tors, it is a great way to con­nect with oth­ers in a sim­i­lar place and dis­cuss ways to keep mov­ing forward.

If you were unable to attend, please check-out our wiki where pre­sen­ters posted their resources.  You can also fol­low the con­ver­sa­tions that took place with our twit­ter hash­tag (#i11i).  There are also a cou­ple of addi­tional 1:1 con­fer­ences that would be great ways to con­tinue to move your ini­tia­tive forward.

Nick Sauers

Iowa 1:1 Institute

The Iowa 1:1 Insti­tute is now just over one week away!  We have released our ses­sion sched­ule, and are excited to have 100 ses­sions through­out the day.  Once again, we have had a great reg­is­tra­tion and we expect approx­i­mately 1000 atten­dees.  How­ever, there is still time to reg­is­ter if you’d like to attend.  We’re also pleased to have a large num­ber of ven­dors who allow us to keep the reg­is­tra­tion cost to only $50/participant.  There are two major changes to the con­fer­ence for­mat that we hope will strengthen the conference.

  1. Through­out the day, we will offer five “mini-keynote” ses­sions.  Check-out those ses­sion  pre­sen­ters and titles!
  2. We will now offer role-alike ses­sions through­out the day.  Those ses­sions will have facil­i­ta­tors who will direct the con­ver­sa­tion in each role-alike. Role-alike ses­sions are designed as a place for edu­ca­tors with sim­i­lar job respon­si­bil­i­ties to dis­cuss the suc­cesses and chal­lenges they’ve had with their 1:1 program.

Thanks to those of you who have helped to make this con­fer­ence pos­si­ble once again!  We hope that it can be a great learn­ing expe­ri­ence for those edu­ca­tors who are novice or vet­eran 1:1 educators.

Nick Sauers

Implementing a 1:1 Program

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:

  1. Cre­ate a lead­er­ship team
    • 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.
  2. Iden­tify the rea­son you are going to imple­ment 1:1
    • 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.
  3. Visit other schools
    • 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.
  4. Ini­ti­ate pilot programs
    • 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.
  5. Study the change process
    • 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.
  6. Develop a plan for imple­men­ta­tion of your initiative
    • 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!
  7. Cre­ate and deliver pro­fes­sional development
    • 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.
Nick Sauers



Student agency

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.

Nick  Sauers

1-to-1, Flipped Learning, and Online Communities

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

Becoming a digital citizen

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.

Nick Sauers

Iowa 1:1 Institute launched!

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.

  1. Help Iowa’s 1:1 dis­tricts learn from each other about inno­v­a­tive teach­ing, learn­ing, and admin­is­tra­tive prac­tices that are occur­ring in their districts;
  2. Build excite­ment and ‘buzz’ around 1:1 lap­top com­put­ing ini­tia­tives in the state; and
  3. 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!

Nick Sauers

Using social media professionally

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!

Nick Sauers

Pillars of a 1:1 program

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
  • Infra­struc­ture
  • Dig­i­tal Citizenship
  • Choice
  • 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!

Nick Sauers