This past November I was offered the position of director of technology for the Greater Clark County School district in Jeffersonville, Ind. It’s a great honor and I’m excited about what the future holds for the community here! Among many other things, I have been asked to look at starting a 1:1 initiative. So it got me thinking about what pillars I should be looking for and promoting in a 1:1 movement. Here is my list in no certain order:
1. Learning initiative
A 1:1 movement cannot be about the device. It must be about learning. It is very easy to get caught up in the latest device and the trendiness of the edtech world. Technology should be about supporting and leveraging learning. I want to find out what the students and teachers want to learn and then settle on the device that best meets those needs instead of picking the “device of the month” and then asking teachers and students to shape their learning around the device.
2. Professional development
In my opinion, there can’t be enough professional development. Professional development should focus on how to actually use/maintain the device and how to successfully implement the device (which includes knowing when to put the device away). PD should be provided by and for the students, teachers, parents and administration.
Like any great technological advancement, it doesn’t matter what it does if it doesn’t work. There is nothing more frustrating to me then going to a conference and the WiFi isn’t working or the app crashes. The last thing I want is for so many people to work diligently at making this a success only to have their efforts thwarted by a bad connection. I would also put filtering into this conversation. What and how we filter is a clear message of how much we trust our students and staff.
4. Digital citizenship
How we conduct ourselves online and offline matters. More and more the line between the two is blurred. I have often said that the decision we make the first 18 years of our lives have a tremendous impact on the last 70+ years of our lives. Any successful school is going to have a strong digital citizenship program that shows all stakeholders the importance of being a good citizen online and off.
I can’t say that I’m a proponent of going bring-you-own-device only. I will also say that there is not one device that does it all. My hopes are that we will choose a device that will do the most that we want and that we will have room to grow in. However, in the event a student has the means to bring in a device that does something our device doesn’t do, then he or she should have the chance to use it when necessary.
6. Time and patience
Moving from a traditional classroom to a 1:1 classroom takes time and patience. All major stakeholders need time to adjust to having technology and information at their fingertips. Very few things bring instant and sustainable success. The most successful things in life take a lot of time and patience.
I’m interested to read your thoughts. If you have a successful 1:1 program in your district, what makes it successful? If you could start/reboot a 1:1 initiative would you do or do differently? Use the comments space below to weigh in.
Brett Clark (@Mr_Brett_Clark) is a director of technology in Jeffersonville, Ind. His interests include the flipped classroom, creating a student-centered classroom, technology integration and professional development. He is a conference presenter and recently presented at the Flipped Conference in Chicago. Learn more about Clark at his website.