Saturday, June 26, 2010

ISTE 2010: Edubloggercon Session 3-Best Practice in a 1:1 Setting

Background: This year we piloted 1:1 Laptop Learning in our district. Here is an overview of our experience, and our plans for the coming year:

Our "Go Wireless" laptop pilot began during the 2008-09 school year when a team of 20 teachers were given laptops and formed a Community of Practice to study laptop learning, and how they would teach differently in a more student centered classroom where all of the students had laptop computers.. This past year, a team of teachers and 155 8th grade students had access to laptop computers to assist their learning. Through a grant, Dr. Cassie Scharber, a professor at the University of Minnesota conducted an independent evaluation of the pilot, utilizing surveys and focus groups. Dr. Scharber found:

  • The concept of 1-to-1 was favorable (teachers, students, parents).
  • Many technical/hardware/connectivity issues were encountered during the school year. These issues greatly hindered teaching and learning activities both at school and home. So much so that it is impossible to determine the extent to which the goals of the pilot were met.
  • Teachers’ collaboration with their job-alikes was negatively impacted by the laptop pilot.
  • Technology support and integration support were understaffed.
  • Students’ technical skills were reported to have grown by teachers, parents, and students themselves. Teachers felt students’ skills were overestimated at the beginning of the year. Many pilot students were missing basic computing skills (file management), which impacted curriculum.
  • Overall, students liked having laptops to use at school and at home.
  • A little over 50% of students polled used their own computers at home instead of their issued laptop


Based on this information and the lack of funds to expand the program in the present form for next year, we have developed the following plan for year 2 of the pilot.

  • We will distribute the laptops onto carts for use at both buildings.
  • The district will purchase a limited number of netbooks that may be checked out in the media center for students to use at home. This check-out will require parent permission and the signing of a damage waiver.
  • The district will increase the number of wireless access points in both middle schools
  • The district will develop an infrastructure that will allow students to bring personally owned devices to use for their learning.
  • The district will continue to train teachers to leverage anytime, anywhere learning strategies in their instruction.
  • Students who were part of this years pilot will have the ability to continue using a personal device for their learning.

We feel that this proposal will continue to assist us with meeting the goals of the 1:1 Laptop Learning Pilot:
  • Enhance personalized learning
  • Expand learning beyond the school walls
  • Develop 21st Century Skills
  • Improve student engagement
  • Maximize the district's resources of time and talent

In this session, we began by talking about the Professional Development aspect.
Some said that each building should have a tech integrationist for 1:1 to be successful.

Scott McLeod mentioned that Virginia passed a law that a district must supply a tech integration specialist for every 1000 students.

One mentioned that moving to 1:1 for them is a 5 year process.
Open classrooms, where teachers can drop by and observe has been successful in some districts.

Apple received praise on their PD for focusing not on the product, but on teaching and learning.

A collateral issue of moving to 1:1 for a media specialist is the collaboration that used to take place. This is similar to our teacher's experience with their content job-alike colleagues.

Jeff Whipple shared 3 indicators of successful 1:1
  • Computer goes home
  • Just in time tech support
  • Teacher's perception of their personal professional development and support
Sylvia Martinez commented that most often, the reason that 1:1 programs don't work is that the adults did something stupid!

Sustainability is a huge issue, as it was with us. Martinez suggested setting up peer coaching, student support, etc. before the money runs out! One option for this is the Bring Your Own option. A few hands went up when we asked how many were allowing that.

In regards to Acceptable Use Policies,many felt that they need to be less restrictive for 1:1 programs to be successful.

Martinez said the AUP should empower and include students in the process. Why can't students write the AUP or at least be a part of the process? This includes professional development!

There was discussion about the need for some student/family buy in such as insurance.


There seemed to be a consensus from the group that 1:1 learning is inevitable, whether district or student supplied. The question is when this will happen.
More notes from the session from Jim Gates here.

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