Monthly Archives: September 2017

Things to Avoid When Implementing Your 1:1 Technology Initiative

Things to Avoid When Implementing Your 1_1 Technology Initiative-315

For many school districts across the country,  1:1 technology brings the promise of innovation and improved student achievement. And so many schools have adopted (and are still adopting) 1:1 initiatives.

So far, the integration of technology into the classroom has lead to positive outcomes such as:

  • Increased Achievement – Some studies have concluded that student achievement is boosted with the inclusion of 1:1 in classrooms.
  • Learning Beyond the Classroom – Students are presented with a world of information outside a class setting.
  • Increased Engagement – Some schools have claimed that student interest and attendance peaks when technology is present.
  • Valuable Additions to Project-Based Learning – One-to-one technology helps students do projects that require research, presentation production, and collaboration.

The Pitfalls of 1:1 Deployment

However, implementing a 1:1 initiative in a real world classroom may not be as simple as putting a laptop into the hands of every student. There are pitfalls that districts and schools must avoid for a successful deployment. Here are some of the findings:

  1. Lack of Training – Without proper training for teachers and pupils, not every deployment goes well. For some districts, teachers who were improperly trained rely on Word and Excel for their teaching curriculum. Not only does this under utilize the laptops as a resource, but it also doesn’t build skills. A lack of training leads to wasted resources and budget.
  1. Over Emphasis of Technology’s Role in Learning  – Creating a Word document is not necessarily a sign of academic improvement. There is a concern that technology (while useful) does not lead to higher critical thinking and academic achievements.
  1. Having to Accommodate Technological Unreliability – Some schools may need to improve their infrastructure before they deploy. Schools may need to expand and build better relationships with IT staff and support, and add capacity for managing the many more devices they will have.
  1. Trouble Replacing Books With E-books – Many schools hoped that ridding themselves of books would be an improvement in the classroom. For one, textbooks are easily outdated in a rapid paced world. Secondly, textbooks often cost considerably more than digital ones. However, viewing the same textbook on a mobile device does not solve the issue of outdated information.
  1. Not Every Student Catches On – Although it is often assumed that students are all digital natives, the reality is that students have different skills and preferences. Some students may be better suited for traditional education. Others may suffer from a lack of technical skill and exposure. These students require extra training for digital literacy.

Avoiding The Pitfalls

One-to-one is not something districts should simply jump into. By studying the pitfalls and experiences of other districts, deployment can run smoothly. How did one school deal with the varying skill levels in their student population? How did a district handle the costs of repairing devices? Administrators should take a step back and evaluate the best deployment strategy for their districts. After evaluation, plans need to be put in place:

  • Communicate goals and visions to the staff and style=”margin-bottom: 10px;” parents.
  • Begin training staff before deployment.
  • Make plans to update staffing, device management, communication, and infrastructure as needed.

However they go about it, districts should realize that 1:1 should be a benefit to the classroom and not a hindrance. Proper implementation will push classrooms and students into the 21st century and move education in a positive direction.

Pros & Cons: Is Elementary School Too Early for 1:1 Technology?

Pros & Cons_ Is Elementary Too Early for 1_1 Technology-315
Should grade-school kids use mobile devices in the classroom? That has been a longstanding question with no definitive answer yet. It’s not a black-and-white issue, not when both sides have their own solid arguments for their case.

It’s up to the school to decide whether the positives outweigh the negatives. The important thing is that they carefully go over all considerations:

PROS

Kids are familiar with mobile devices

Kids today are digital natives. They haven’t known a world without tablets. Many of them learned how to navigate around mobile devices the same time they learned how to walk. Thus, the use of these devices at school won’t be a foreign concept to them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They’re already familiar with such gadgets, so they’ll feel comfortable using them right away.

Kids will be ahead of their peers

Though most kids grow up exposed to mobile devices, not many know how to use it for educational purposes. But kids who go to schools that implement 1:1 technology will have that knowledge. They’ll be taught that tablets are powerful tools for learning and collaborating. At a young age, they’ll see how to use this tech to their advantage. The same can’t be said for students who go to schools that don’t implement 1:1 technology. By the time they reach high school, their peers will already be adept while they get left behind.

Kids will be able to catch up on their lessons

In a traditional classroom setting, some kids easily grasp the lesson. On the other hand, others need more time to understand it. When schools use 1:1 technology, the kids who have trouble can catch up at home. They can go over videos, and recreate the classroom experience. That’s more engaging than reading a book and trying to understand what it says.

Kids will become creators, not just learners

In the old days before the internet, only teachers could see their students’ work. But now, students can publish their work online and create a digital portfolio at a young age. They can even make their own sites, making it easy to track their progress through the years. They can also share with classmates and other students around the world. A wide audience will help them gain new perspective beyond their teachers’.

CONS

Kids will be too dependent on mobile devices

Some people fear that young students will neglect physical activities after becoming too dependent on their gadgets. This is a reasonable concern, but it can be addressed by controlled usage. This can be easily done by teachers by setting the pace in the classroom. Also, let’s not forget that practical learning and 1:1 technology can mix. The latter doesn’t have to replace the former.

Kids will have to be trained on the devices issued by their school

In a 1:1 technology setup, schools provide the tablets kids should use. Everyone gets the same device for the sake of uniformity. But what if a child who knows how to use only Android is issued an iPad?  Or vice versa? This can prove to be challenging for the child. However, kids are digital natives so learning how to use a platform is easy for them. A short training session will address this concern.

The long-term benefits of 1:1 technology easily outweigh the solvable problems that come with it. Therefore, schools that want their students to gain a competitive edge should consider going for 1:1 technology. The implementation may not be smooth-sailing at first. However, addressing the challenges is worth the advantages the kids will enjoy.

Positive 1to1 provides an implementation and management strategy and platform to help schools make the leap to 1:1 well. Learn more by contacting us!