What is a reasonable expectation for initiating a one-to-one program at your school? First, is it possible and if no then why? Second, what device would work best for your school, and if you answered no to the previous, what device do YOU think would be ideal for your school? Is BYOT an option? Third, what kind of feedback would you expect from teachers? Last, how would YOU best use one-to-one devices in your classroom?
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From a middle school standpoint I hope that a 1-to-1 is around the corner. In a school that is 70% free and reduced lunch I believe the best thing would be ipads supplied by the school. BYOT would not work. We must supply paper and pencils; often binders and backpacks and calculators. Theft and loss may be a problem, but tracking may alleviate that. The most important thing would be to get the parents and families on board. If we could show them what a great tool this would be for their children, parents would be our most powerful allies. The largest hurdles to overcome would be funding and leadership. It would be a full time job, especially in the beginning to get this up and running. Given the present economy and political climate, I am afraid funding may be a tough sell. By starting small, one class at a time, with teachers who have the technological experience, and utilize the ipad to its maximum potential, training other teachers and building class by class and having the data to show that students' learning supports this move; combined with the fact that parents are using technology themselves, eventually this is going to happen. I would compare it to the little snowball that starts to roll down a hill and gathers up more and more snow until it's huge and unstoppable. You know, maybe schools, or the Federal Government should approach the makers of the ipad to develop one strictly for school and classroom use. We could get a recycle/ refurbish thing going to help alleviate some of the wear-and-tear issues. I feel like contacting the CEO of Apple right now and asking him why this isn't being done already. With regards to teachers training and pedagogy shift; The teachers I know would dive in head first. But training is essential. In the last ten years I have sat through so many professional development series that have teachers implementing a new curriculum, new standards; differentiation, inclusion, etc. I just don't feel that we can ever go back. The cat is out of the bag.
I really like your idea about a recycle/refurbish approach. This would save so many people a lot of money, but would help make this initiative possible for our students. I also liked how you said we could get Apple on board with creating a device strictly for school. I think this would eliminate some of the worries that teachers, parents, and districts might have. Technology is pushing in to schools and people need to be more accepting of it in their classrooms!
I had not thought about a recycle/refurbish program, but it makes perfect sense. Many local companies replace computers regularly. What happens to those computers? There is a hospital in the town where I teach. If the hospital were to donate all their old computers, I'm sure there would be nearly enough for all students!
I agree with you Diane. I think this would be a great idea, but it would take some time to get it started. I also feel the same way about contacting the CEO of Apple. They could be making a killing creating a product geared toward something like this. I believe that a 1-to-1 is not a question of "if" but a question of "when". I love using technology and hope this is coming around the corner like you said.
I like your thoughts on designing an Ipad strictly for school use. That is a great idea! We don't want kids to be visiting the wrong sites or to be using Facebook when they are supposed to be studying, etc. This is going on right now at my school. Kids were bringing in Kindles, which were allowed on campus for reading, until a student got caught playing a game on it. Now that Kindles can be a web browser and contain games, they are banned from school. I really want to know how these one-to-one schools deal with all the distractions and bad content that come along with all the fantastic educational benefits of these devices. Its easy to get distracted and start reading about something else even when I am working online. Don't get me wrong, I think Ipads and games are great, but many of the games, probably more than fifty percent, have killing and violence. These issues are bound to arise if our students are going to use any device, especially one that they bring to school from home. Parents need to be reassured that the activities and content that schools use in an online setting is age appropriate, effective for student achievement and somewhat censored. I know that there are ways to block certain content - but somehow kids find their way around it. Teachers and administration have a lot of work to do to effectively implement Ipads into schools. But, I agree, we can only move forward and keep that snowball going and growing.
Great idea for incorporating specific limitations. If we surveyed teachers on things to include or exclude we could come up with some specific needs to offer the "school tablet" makers (durability of course).
I agree with many points that you talk about. I also come from a school that has a high percentage of free and reduced lunch and the cold hard fact is that many of our parents would not be able to supply their children with a tablet such as an Ipad or other tablet devices. Also, I have a recurring thought about if students did bring in their own technology how many times devices would be stolen or vandalized by other students. Not to mention if students bringing in their own technology would break their devices in the school. There are many hurdles to jump when discussing this topic. That is why I would want school districts to supply the devices. That being said, it would be very hard to acquire that much technology for every student in the entire school. And the headache you would have when so many teachers would and will complain about not knowing how to teach with technology and the time that they are going to waist learning the new concepts. So, I am in total agreement with you about starting slowly. If a certain school or district would be interested in these program I would recommend piloting the program to teachers that are fluent with technology and would be able to teach with the devices from the start. They would not have to be trained to learn the technology and they would be able to incorporate the technology into their lessons from the beginning of the year. Or any start date. Then those teachers piloting the program could eventually teach and tutor other teachers that do not have strong technology backgrounds. And if it was up to me I would pay teachers teaching other teachers the technology to incorporate the devices into the classrooms. I really liked how you talked about the snowball effect. I believe that many teachers would latch on to the program once they see how interested their students would be and how motivated their students would be to learn with technology. Students would be excited to have their own personal device throughout the day. And teachers could do so much with their students when teaching with technology. Now to talk about the elephant in the room. How to pay for all of this? This is the hardest part. I do agree that Ipads would be best for every student to have during the day in school. But like you said, school districts could approach apple to sell in bulk, or sell refurbished Ipads. Also, they could buy Ipad minis, which are about 150 dollars cheaper then the regular Ipad 1 and 2.
In reality, this program would be very hard to start up and maintain, and keep teachers happy. But I believe if teachers saw the benefits of technology the classroom they would latch on a try harder to teach towards technology, instead of being scared of it and not trying at all. It is about the kids, not the teachers, isn't?
I agree that any technology program is difficult to start up and maintain. It is very difficult to keep teachers happy. Districts should develop ways to start implementing ways to have technology devices in each school. Each child may not be able to have a device but I think they should start having opportunities to explore at school so they are not totally unaware of how education is changing to a technology era.
Diane, I completely agree with you that schools would need to supply the iPads. With the proper tracking of iPads and probably a contract between the school, students, and parents there would be less likely of a chance of something happening to the iPad. Starting with one class at a time, with teachers that were comfortable with technology changes would be the best place to start. That way there isn't as much as a financial shock, and those teachers might need less professional development and trainings to get the program up and running. Eventually though, all teachers would definitely need the proper useful training.
At my school I have the same ratio of 70% free and reduced lunch. That makes my school a Title 1 school. By being a Title 1 school we get all extra necessary supplies. Don't get me wrong I go and buy lots of stuff for my students but that is what allows for my school to get assess to purchasing Ipads, laptops, and computers.
I agree with you wholeheartedly Diane. The future of the classroom involves using Ipads/ Laptops and any other technology to assist with learning and we are never ever going back. I also understand the need for teachers to get proper training and sometimes with all that teachers have to do, it can be quite challenging for them to keep up. I believe it would be a great idea for schools to have students, especially ones with a focus on technology, to become in-house trainers or mentors. Students are normally excited about learning new technology and if they can assist teachers, it would be a win win for all.