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Posts Tagged ‘1:1’

With and Without

This year we piloted our first ever 1:1 program with Chromebooks. We have two teams of four teachers who have enough Chromebooks for each student to use during the day, when needed. We are not using the term 1:1, as that often gets misconstrued. Our students do not take the Chromebooks home. When they move on to another team or class next year, they won’t take their Chromebook with them, but they will get one to use for that year in the new class.

learningWe have six more teams of teachers waiting in the wings for next year to see how this turns out. Having had great success on many levels, we are planning on moving forward and purchasing Chromebooks for 4 more teams for next year. Sadly, our budget doesn’t have room for all six of the remaining teams in this building. We are developing a whole new replacement cycle with these devices and the remaining two teams will use the existing laptops to serve the same purpose; they’ll have enough devices for each student to use, when needed. The plan is that they’ll get Chromebooks the following year. Hopefully.

Interestingly, at last week’s School Board meeting, when the Board heard about with our hopes and dreams for next year, they balked. Were they worried about budgets overall? We’re not asking for additional funding and intend to work within our budget. They want to know how having more access and more devices transforms teaching and learning. They think we’re doing great things with our current set-up. We are. Thanks to amazing teachers who are flexible and patient.

contractorsThere comes a time when our old structure, having a shared cart of 24 laptops for each team of 80-100 students sufficed. That’s no longer the case. School needs to mirror the real world. Would you ask an employee in a place of business to do their work, but they only have access to a computer for an hour a day? The cost of Chromebooks allows us to move forward in providing more access to learning and the world to our students. We’ve seen the change in students having access to devices when they needed them on these two initial teams. Students are so much more comfortable, fluent, and confident. The device fades into the background as they focus on ways to demonstrate their learning, participate in class, reflect, and grow.

The bottom line is this: it still all comes down to good teachers and great teaching. Teachers are the ones who create the experiences and the culture for success.

We are preparing an updated report for the School Board and for parents, with clear examples of the difference for those in our building with ample devices and without. I’ll share that soon, but would appreciate your thoughts. What can you and your students do if you have ample devices that you can’t do otherwise or if you have to share devices with a number of other classes? This is about the learning, but having the access is a part of it.

Feedback and insight are always welcome!

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Going 1:1?

There have been so many things to write about since my last post, that I simple lost track of it all and never got around to writing. I’m committed to remedying that.

Between managing iPads for K-2 and for our extended day program, figuring out new Google apps challenges (did you know you can’t send email to more than 100 external recipients in a 24-hour period from your domain?), and then… it’s time to get serious about looking at a 1:1 initiative.

One administrator, one teacher, and I attended Vita-Learn’s one day conference about 1:1 computing. We spent the day thinking about planning for such an initiative and learned from those who had been there. By the end of the day our minds were spinning. I mentioned that we had attended the conference to a Board member and they were very excited. The question is… where do we get the funding? (If you’ve been there and know the answer, please let me know.)

We pulled together a group of educators and our network administrators and started the conversation. They were all very excited about the prospect. We had to work in a somewhat backward and less optimal fashion because the budget cycle has begun. A few things got decided: we mapped out our top 10 reasons why we think we should head in this direction, we decided upon the iPad as the tool of choice, and we started to draft our decision packet.

In our district, when it’s the beginning of the budget preparing season, anyone with any out of the box ideas submits a decision packet. That includes information about why you want to do this, who it will benefit and how, and a budget. Then all of the decision packets get considered and weighed by teachers, parents, and Board members at various times in the next few weeks. A few lucky items might, and I stress might, make it into the budget for next year after much wrangling with the current baseline budget.

Teachers seems to understand that implementing this initiative would take time, professional development, and more. We’re not certain that all teachers understand that by heading in this direction, we’d be letting go of technology tools we’ve had in the past. We certainly can’t fund new iPads and continue to purchase laptops too. We will have just one tool, which will necessitate a paradigm shift and require a pedagogical shift as well. I think people are ready, but I also don’t know if they know what lies ahead.

The trick is to keep the budget within reason (ha!) and market this so that it can happen. It’s hard for us given how large we are and the way in which we’re configured. Anyone with tips, send them my way! We’re very excited and want to keep the momentum going.

 

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