I work with several districts who have 1:1 in their schools and I would be very interested to see what others are doing in the classroom and how they have set up the 1:1 district, school, or classroom. In the schools I have worked with, they have it setup differently in each area. One of my districts which has two technology schools, placed computer carts in each classroom which they use everyday but do not take them home. The other school districts allow the students to take the computers home.
All of these districts are having success with the teachers and students using technology and incorporating project based learning in the classroom. I think we live in an exciting time for the use of education and technology.
Thanks for your response Sandy. I have some additional questions:
1. What grade are these classrooms that you are referencing?
2. What do you mean by "successful"? - What does success look like?
3. Do you know if the kids have the computers in the class all the time - e.g. at their desks or are they just pulled out for a specific part of the day?
4. Why does 1 of the districts not allow the kids to take them home?
5. Does the district that does have the kids take them home make sure they have internet access or is that not an issue in this area?
And I may come back with more questions as I have them. Looking forward to your answer:)
What great questions, Shell!
Here is some information I can provide:
1. Most of the schools that I am discussing are high schools. There are several that are middle school.
2. By success (at this time) means the classes are creating and doing project based learning activities that are integrated into the curriculum versus just skill building. Also, test scores are higher. Of course, they do not officially say that it is the technology, however, it has an effect on the learning experiences.
3. The students use them everyday in the class. The technology schools have computer carts in all of the classrooms. I do not know if they just use them for an activity during the class period or if the whole class period utilizes them.
4. and 5. Some of the more rural districts do not allow the students to take the computers home since many do not have access to research and use the Internet at their homes. Also, the parents must attend a class and sign documentation for the students to take home a computer and understand the responsibilities. Many of the private schools who are using the 1:1 program require the parents to purchase the computer within the tuition fees of the school.
I hope this helps. There is still so many decisions being made as the process continues.
Thanks Sandy - this is very helpful. There is so much to learn about 1:1 - it is amazing. I would love to be able to talk to some of the people who are involved in the day to day implementation of their 1:1 elearning environments. I think it is awesome that they have technology carts in all the classrooms - wish my son went to one of those schools (yes, it is October and he hasn't touched a computer at his high school - not sure if he ever will as he hasn't signed up for computer technology as any of his electives.... heavy sigh).
Keep me updated as you hear more from these schools - and thanks a ton for responding!!
Hi Sandy, I experience the same situation. In some schools I work in, the students take the laptops home every night. In others, they are available during the day but they are locked up in carts at night. Any district looking to implement a 1:1 solution should look at the option of keeping the computers in school for an "orientation" period while students are given instruction on Internet Safety, security, policy and procedures, etc. If the initiative is pushed out too quickly without enough communication to all parties (parents, teachers, students, etc.) the expectations may not be clear. For an initiative to be successful the expectation of each of the parties need to be very clear, support structures need to be put in place, goals need to be set, with a way to measure their progress, and a plan needs to be put in place. Timelines are extremely important. Benchmarks need to be set and evaluations need to be on-going.
If the expectation is for student to use the computer to learn, then an expectation of the student should be that they arrive to school every day with the computer charged and ready to be used. Policy and procedures are extremely important as well. They need to be communicated to staff, students and parents. Consequences for students who violate policy need to be clear and applied consistently. A student who posts in an online forum inappropriately in one class, needs to suffer the same consequence in another. This is very important. In schools I work with, where the 1:1 has been most successful, teachers have one voice. Parents hear the same message. Teachers, Parents, Students understand the expectations. An initiative that gets pushed through before all the parties are ready has a higher percentage of failure.
All in all, I agree with you Sandy, districts are showing success and this is an exciting time in education!
The models that I have seen in some Maine and NY schools have been very good for several reasons. This is by no means a complete list but some of reasons that 1to1 initiatives have been successful. Feel free to add:
First, technology integration can only be successful if the technology is available and it works. With respect to Equipment:
- Technical support is available in every school and there are extra laptops to borrow when one goes in for repair
- In Maine, they use local contractors to assist in the repairs, decreasing repair time
- There is one central asset database so that the computers are tagged centrally, distributed centrally and tracked centrally (in most cases it won't be at the state level but regionally or by district depending on the size of the initiative) The important thing here is a centrally managed asset tracking system.
- A standard image makes it easier to manage computers (although it may limit access to some programs).
- Maine has a website with centralized professional development support: Maine Learning Technology Initiative
- Training and Professional Development for Teachers is provided in a variety of mediums (webcasts, f2f, Rss feeds, etc.)
- On-Going professional development is key. Several educators I spoke to were conducting pd sessions in their own buildings and strengthening their skills as teacher leaders. Support was supplemented by outside consultants who build capacity inside the school - support is extrememly important in start-up mode.
- Teachers need modeling in their classrooms. Modeling effective practices should include how to collect real time assessments and use the data to impact instruction in a meaningful way. This can include using SRS or collaborative tools to gauge student understanding quickly and accurately.
- Parental involvement is key (in several NY districts, and as noted earlier, parents are given training on the laptops as well). In some homes, the 1to1 program provides the only computer a family has. In that case, support needs to be given because of the opportunities the family will have with access to the Internet (most importantly, information).
- Some districts (and states) have access to funds and community support that allow them to concentrate on the things they need to accomplish rather than "What will we do when the money runs out?"
Blanca - wow - fabulous information. You have validated a lot of what I have seen or what I was thinking.
The areas you defined are key - there have been too many failures of technology (whether it is 1:1, 1:5, labs, etc) because of key areas (or I should say lack of support in key areas) - tech support and teacher PD especially.
I do have a question - when you say teachers need modeling in their classrooms. - could you expand on what you mean? So the teachers need to see how these things are done? And if so, how have you seen this - do mentor teachers model for others, or have you seen a 1:1 sharing relationship - have you seen lesson study where teachers observe other teachers? Or am I off base here?
Now - who can add to what Blanca shared??
As far as classroom modeling goes, we had instructional technology teachers that worked with teachers and helped plan lessons and assessments in the classroom using the technology. Initially the instructional tech teacher led the lesson and modeled some of the strategies and the next sessions we would team teach with the teacher and after a few sessions the classroom teacher was the lead person and the instructional tech teacher was the assistant til the teacher was comfortable on their own. It really worked well and it allowed teachers to feel comfortable to try new things because they knew someone else was there if they got into trouble or the technology didn't work.
Joanne, that is a model that I have seen prove successful over and over again. A teacher who is able to observe another demonstrating effective instruction using technology learns through modeling. (Shelley, sorry for the late post! Didn't realize you had sent me a question last year! Hopefully you are seeing more of the 1:1 models in your area!)
This is an interesting post, Bianca. I was recently in the States and was surprised to hear a teacher say that not all schools have computers and connectivity. We in Africa assume that your schools have all the bells and whistles. Here is South Africa the number of connected schools is growing but it's a slow process and of course we still have some rural schools that are without electricity. But we are moving forward as a country... slowly.
I must respond to you, Brenda! I think you are in South Africa, but you said "We here in Africa..." We all forget sometimes that the US is so large, and that Africa is not a country. I'm not saying you forgot either of those, but for others, it gives some perspective.
I live in Arizona. It's a state with a lot of land and a lot of it is not highly populated. Populations are in large cities and some very small communities and there is a lot of wide open space. This leads to issues with connectivity. We have students also who live without electricity and running water. They are in some of our schools. Many schools in these rural areas have struggles with connectivity, and little in the way of funding.
Also, an issue for educators in outlying areas is awareness of what classrooms in other areas have and how teachers with technology teach.
Part of my job is to help teachers and administrators learn what's available and how tech might enhance the learning of their students. I travel in an area about the size (in land area) of a middle-sized country. I see many different situations and I want to encourage you to keep after the government and the school administrators. You are not so different from the United States overall, and we are all struggling to make education better for the students and teachers we contact! You are a necessary leader!
Thanks for your response, Bonnie. The reason I used "Africa" as opposed to SA is that I read some statistics (somewhere) about connectivity and Africa as a continent is lagging far behind every other continent. I am interested to read that there are areas of your state without connectivity and even without electricity. It's all about perceptions. :-)
Several years ago now, I worked with a group of about 80 special education students with varying disabilities in about 12 classrooms where each student was given a palm pilot with a computer and there was an IR printer as well. The teachers had palm handhelds and a projector that connected to the handheld. The students ranged in age from 7 to 20. The palms were kept at school. There were a couple classes of elementary autistic students. They found that their transition time was reduced dramatically when using the palms. Students were focused and hand their own organizer so they knew what they had to do and when without a lot of questions. It was also a much more socially acceptable tool than the icons they had used before. They used the palm for many of their math problems and the students were much more engaged.
In our high school classrooms they used them a lot for writing purposes. The teacher had used a rubric with writing sample when they used the palms and when they did not and there was an increase in the amount they wrote and as time went on the quality of their writing. Because it was a tool that was at their desk all the time they got very comfortable and would beam their assignments to the teacher or peer for correction and instant feedback. Most of them were much more motivated to write.
The palms at that time did not have internet but it was amazing what they could do with that power. I also brought the parents in ahead of time so they could try them so they knew what the students were talking about.
I do have 1:1 computing in my classroom, and simply couldn’t imagine teaching without it. So much of my sharing of information with students is Internet based, all of us in the room are dependent upon the access.
- Collaboration is much easier, especially through Google docs, Etherpad, and Edmodo
- Project Based Learning is easier to manage from my point. With several different kinds of products, meetings, and communications occurring, having 1:1 is essential
- Classroom management is easier for me. I’ve set the room up so that I can navigate the room easily and view what students are doing online. That’s not to say I don’t have students who want to play on the computers. They are middle schoolers; it’s what they do. I build web experiences that are interactive and creative projects that allow them to be engaged which minimized the gaming issue to a miniscule problem.
- Less paperwork to manage. My students are utilizing web products such as interactive graphic organizers, Google docs, and other web 2.0 tools to produce work. This is a lifesaver for me so I don’t have to carry large amounts of work back and forth to school. It’s also a lifesaver for most of my students as they are known to lose paper regularly.
- Time to make sure the computers are consistently up to date. I’d like to install some open source software and widgets for the computers, but I simply haven’t had the chance – we’re too busy using the computers to have them sit idly updating for an entire day. Luckily, more and more options are web 2.0 tools to help me, but I still would like to have the chance to work on the computers.
- New students coming into class during the year. There certainly is a learning curve for students who have come into the class mid-stream of tech integration. Luckily, the other students generally take the time to teach the new ones, but it can be a problem. That is true with or without tech, however.
I didn't realize you were in a 1:1 classroom. This is great - I can really pick your brain!!. So, first question. What was the biggest change you had to make in your instructional design for the 1:1 setting? I know you were so project based anyway, but think about a teacher who is just starting out in more of a student centered way - what would have been the biggest change they would have to make? And I am only going to ask one question at a time.......