In 2009 I started posting about the idea of 1:1 computing in classrooms. Five years ago, the idea of giving each child his or her own device was more of a dream than a reality for me. Back then, the devices were more costly, and our Broadband capabilities were not in place to handle 600+ devices all connecting to the Internet during the school day. The idea was exciting, but our school district was not ready for implementation. We were able to purchase some netbook carts to be shared by teachers. This was a very good start at the time, and the staff and students were excited to use these machines.
The start of this school year, however, marks the realization of the dream to equip every student with his or her own device in a 1:1 learning environment. All kids in grades K-2 will be receiving an iPad, and all students in grades 3 through 8 will be receiving a Chromebook on the first day of school. Kudos to our board of education, district administrators, and some pilot teachers who worked so hard and tirelessly last year to make this a reality. Well, here we are, ready to embark on more than a new school year; we are moving into a new era of teaching and learning. NOW is when the really hard work begins.
So, what is my role in a 1:1 learning environment? I believe the teachers are the key to successfully implementing the1:1 initiative. As a principal, I think my job will be to support them in as many ways as possible. I will have to listen to them, problem-solve with them, celebrate successes with them, and support them when they feel frustrated. I will need to work students as they are using the devices, and throughout it all, I will need to learn what types of PD will be needed to support the teachers. I will need to stay current on the most effective tools and techniques for teaching in a new-era classroom, and I will need to find time for teaches to share, plan, and observe others using these devices. Additionally, my role will be to model the use of technology and to be a “cheerleader” to the staff as they strive to change their teaching methodology.
Last week I attended the Leyden 1:1 Symposium. The keynotes were very inspiring, and the sessions I attended were very informative. I learned about such tools as Socrative, AnswerGarden, and TodaysMeet, and I learned more about the SAMR model. I saw how Google+, Google Sites, and blogging can be incorporated into classrooms, and I learned about assessment in a 1:1 learning environment. Speaking with others who are either starting the 1:1 process or who have been doing it for a while was another important component of the three days I spent at Leyden.
Now, as we have entered the month of August, I am psyched to get the 1:1 teaching and learning started. I have a sense that there will be a lot more questions than answers as we embark on this new adventure as a school and as a district. But, that is what makes our work so interesting, and I plan on getting myself right in the thick of it all! My goal is to use this blog as a place to share my experiences and points of view during the rollout and continuing implementation of 1:1 classroom learning environments. I hope to write at least one post per week on this topic, and I hope to get some good dialogue going with anyone who is interested.
To quote my favorite baseball broadcaster, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, “Sit back, relax, and strap it down” because this year is going to be quite the ride!