Tag Archives: 1:1 technology

Is Elementary Too Early for 1:1 Technology?


Mobile device access for 1-to-1 instruction is now available for more than half of all U.S. K-12 students and teachers. While ample evidence suggests this technology improves overall learning, how early in a student’s education should it be introduced?

The benefits of adopting 1-to-1 instruction at the elementary school level:

Teachers can easily facilitate differentiated instruction (DI)

One-to-1 technology helps cater instruction to each individual student’s ability and interests. This means that no student is left behind and nor are any held back. The need for remedial or advanced placement classrooms is minimized. Students may receive assignments, reading materials, and other content tailed to their pace of learning.

Increased engagement with teachers and parents

Google Drive, among other tools, allows teachers and parents to view and comment on student’s work as they create it. This may include essay questions, note-taking, and peer discussion. More engagement between the student and stakeholders in their education should encourage greater student accountability.

Worldwide impact when minds are most easily molded

Students may feel a greater sense of belonging when their work is experienced by a global audience. Connected learning allows students to publish their work for the whole world to see. This may include essay questions answered as public blog posts, uploaded videos and more. Consider how a child may feel when their art projects garner comments and feedback from viewers globally.

Seamless engagement experience between school and home

With learning content delivered on their device, the learning experience will be similar whether at home or at school. Connected learning students can easily pick up their device at home, log-in and continue their studies.

Increased familiarity with 21st-century technology

While tech aptitude isn’t a stated goal of 1-to-1 learning, it’s a guaranteed byproduct. Elementary age students participating in connected learning systems will outpace peers in their overall technical aptitude.

Before we tech-up our kids, what are the potential risks?

Physical movement and exercise

A common concern among critics of elementary 1-to-1 technology is the effect it could have on physical activity. With society already becoming so sedentary, this is a valid concern. It’s up to each educational program to maintain high standards of physical education regardless of any connected learning plan.

Tactile interaction with physical media

The concern is that devices will displace books, magazines, and newspapers. While this may in fact happen, wouldn’t this also pair with society’s transformation in the same way?

Will in-person communication skills suffer?

All you have to do is board any bus or train to see how technology is affecting interpersonal communication. With more heads turned down, fixated on devices, actual verbal conversations seem affected. While this is absolutely a valid concern, it’s one that would need be met regardless. Regardless of age, the prevalence of tech devices in anyone’s day-to-day life is more than ever before. Parents and educators will have to take an active role to encourage in-person verbal communication.

With more than half of K-12 aged students are already engaged in 1-to-1 education, earlier adoption just seems logical. Certainly, there are a variety of valid concerns that can occur. Educators and administrations bear the burden of deciding whether the advantages outweigh the risks.

A Practical Guide to Implementing 1:1 for Schools

A Practical Guide to Implementing 1:1 for SchoolsIs your dream to transform your school to a 1:1 environment where every student has their own tech device for education? Many people hear the term, but don’t get a chance to experience 1:1 learning. Thanks to easy to handle and use systems, schools are now embracing a 1:1 environment. A 1:1 environment is quickly becoming a reality for many schools. If you are unclear about how to implement tech at your schools, use these tips for implementing 1:1 for schools.

Implementing 1:1 for Schools

Step 1: Set your 1:1 Program Goals

Your goals should prioritize access to lesson content. Your school should offer the most up to date certified curriculum on the market today.

Step 2: Outline Your Classroom’s Device Roles

Though devices shouldn’t be the focus of the 1:1 program, it’s crucial to have the right devices that are high-quality. By using a device that’s easy for children to handle and use learning will be improved. Just like the adoption of traditional learning tools in the past, teachers should embrace tech devices to enhance learning. Equally important is the service contract and warranty for the devices you select!

Step 3: Use the Power of the Device

After acquiring the device, make sure that students know how to use, store and maintain the device. Have a skilled IT team to troubleshoot and fix the device in case problems arise.  If you go from 0 to 500 devices, that increases service needs!  How will you handle that?  Our Positive 1to1 system is intended just for this scenario with a method that trains a student team to assist your IT leader with repairs while giving the students valuable learning skills that apply to real-world use.

Step 4: If Not in Use, Put the Device Away

Some lessons don’t need tech. Avoid getting attached to these incredible devices. Access them only when the need arises. Teachers and students should grow and integrate with the devices. Offer support in every step of professional development in using and learning the devices.

Step 5: Advocate for Device Literacy

Devices are avenues for discovery and learning. Devices shouldn’t replace a students ability to think and question though they may get answers through the devices. Remember, just because the teachers and students can Google doesn’t mean they shouldn’t solve problems.

Critical thinking and knowing the reliable and efficient route to solve a problem is extremely valuable. Even though the information is quickly available, filtering is an uphill task for many students. Google is a good place to start, but students should be taught additional ways to find answers to questions. Teach every student to do keyword research to get the best results.

What does Successful Implementing 1:1 for Schools Program Look Like?

Success is as a result of an equal focus on:

  • The school’s community support of the vision and culture
  • Efficient and reliable technical infrastructure
  • Establishment of constructive student-centered teaching strategies
  • Well outlined professional development for the staff

Benefits of a 1:1 Environment

  1. The program promotes independence in learning. Students start their learning on the devices which often goes beyond the classroom.
  2. Students that own computers take pride and ownership in self-created knowledge.
  3. Include parents, friends, and family members in learning.
  4. Global communication can lead to collaboration and synergistic learning.

A 1:1 environment shouldn’t intimidate students and teachers. Technology should make learning easier for students and teachers. Therefore,  it is the duty of educators to prepare students for 1:1 environment.

Catching a 1:1 Wave: Surf or Prepare for the Crash!

The wave of 1:1 computer education is here, and it’s here now! It’s not on its way in a couple of years or even something to start preparing for with research and development. It’s today.  Are you ready? Do you need help?

Catching a 1:1 Wave: Surf or Prepare for the Crash!

Lindsay and I, resting between waves.

The other day I was reading a Q&A from a great site at EdTechmagazine.com on Artificial Intelligence were an expert named Joseph Qualls stated: “I tell people that AI is a wave, and it’s here now. You are either going to surf that wave, or it’s going to crash on you. It’s not going to be 10 years from now – it’s today.” The rest of this great article goes on to question how AI will impact education today and tomorrow.

Why surfing is like implementing a 1:1 technology program

However, this got me thinking about surfing and the one and only time I took the opportunity to surf. The key word here is “took”. There have been other opportunities for me to push my way in the water and try surfing. But this was the one time I took advantage of the opportunity and pushed all fear aside to try it. And why not, I was in Hawaii for crying out loud.

It was the most unbelievable trip I’ve ever taken, and I was so glad to share it with my wife. We were in Honolulu, Hawaii to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I must have looked like a kid in a candy shop as we enjoyed everything from shopping to hiking to surfing. It was a trip of many firsts for me. Including the last day of surfing on the beautiful Waikiki Bay in the early evening as the sun was going down.

This was also no ordinary sunset. The sun was setting behind the beautiful Diamond Head Volcano. Which my wife and I had just explored on a hiking trip the day before.  How can you not take advantage of surfing at a time like that? We were a long way from the corn fields of northern Indiana. Yet another reason why I did not learn the skill of surfing when growing up.

I know, I know… what does surfing in Waikiki have to do with 1:1’s and education?

It sounds great and all, but what does it have to do with thousands of pre-teenagers and teenagers having devices to replace their textbooks and future educational lessons?  Stick with me as I am getting there.

Now another side note that’s important to this story is this was not my wife’s first trip to the islands. Nor her first time surfing in Waikiki Bay. So, of course, within minutes she was up on the board and gliding across the water with the sun setting behind her and one of the most famous landmarks on Oahu and the entire state of Hawaii in Diamond Head as her background. That’s right; I married that woman.

Me on the other hand, I was experiencing side pain that I had not had since my senior year of football in 1999. I was glad I didn’t kill the 8 year old that flew past me on his board as I was doing my best to ‘man-up’ a wave for what felt like the 99th time.

I was exhausted, beat down, sore and yet having the time of my life at that moment. There was no doubt that I was not prepared for that 120+ minutes in the water that day, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it.

Catching a 1:1 Wave: Surf or Prepare for the Crash!

Lindsay, looking like a pro!

Here’s what I know from my 1:1 experience on the front line

Since 2011, I’ve had the opportunity to help a school district implement it’s 1:1 program. It is one of the top self-maintained educational 1:1 programs in the state of Indiana. In the spring of 2011, my building principal and district superintendent asked if I would head up our 1:1 initiative.

Amazingly it was not much different to the fall of 2015 when my wife asked me to learn to surf with her in the beautiful waters of Waikiki.

Both were opportunities that deep down inside I knew I couldn’t pass up. When the day came to start each process, I had very little clue what I was doing. In both cases, it was surf or prepare for the crash.

In the start of the 2017 school year in the state of Indiana, over 65% of schools will have already implemented or begin to implement their 1:1 initiatives. By the 2018 school year, it’s predicted to be over 80% of schools will have taken the leap.

1:1 technology will bring a different level of learning into the classroom

Surfing uses a different set of muscles than most people use on a daily basis. Computer devices will bring a different set of learning than text books.

Waikiki is a major tourist location for the Island of Oahu. There aren’t too many people vacationing on Oahu who are physically prepared for an evening of surfing. Especially if they have never done it before.  Parallel, there are not too many school districts that are fully prepared for a 1:1 initiative if they’ve never done it before.

If I could go back and prepare for that moment, I would have started training my body and my core for that day, months in advance. However, the facts are that I didn’t, and just because I was not in surfing condition, it did not stop me from stepping out and doing the best I could. We were only in Waikiki for one more day, and I might not have the opportunity like this ever again, this I was 100% sure of.

School districts have to remember that the time is now and they have to gather the facts and go for it.  In the words of Eric Thomas, author, minister and one of the greatest motivational speakers of our generation “Take advantage of the opportunity in the lifetime of the opportunity!”  If you wait till your school district is ready, you might miss the wave.

Like many things in life, instruction minimizes the learning curve

That day of surfing, we were blessed to have a dear friend of my wife to help us out. There is no doubt I would have crashed more and been twice as sore if I didn’t have someone to help. He made our experience a positive one. When we were done, I could tell by the smile on his face it was as important to him we had a positive experience as it was for us.

Our goal at Positive1to1 is to help schools with their learning curve, so they have a parallel experience… a positive experience. The more cautious approach to 1:1 computing efforts comes from studying the successes and mistakes of others.

There are school districts doing a very good job with their overall vision as well as staff and student training to help raise student achievement and student engagement in learning. Then there’s the key policy and logistical issues to assure great communication between the user, teacher, administration and the tech support.

Technologists can learn a lot by talking with counterparts in other districts who have implemented these programs.

Accomplish a lot of little tasks exceptionally well to have a successful 1:1 program

To capture that perfect surf you must have a lot of little things working together. It’s vital to accomplish these little things exceptionally well.

The ocean is big and unruly with unpredictable waves. Then there’s the board, your arms paddling, your timing, your push-off the board, your foot placement, your awareness of those around you… that’s a lot for a beginner to put together and that isn’t even the half of it.

Pushing a 1:1 program at your district is very similar. You have multiple parts working together to accomplish the task, the ultimate system. You have students, teachers, administrators, board members, technicians. In many programs, a forgotten piece that’s left out of the picture is the parents.

Each of these parts of a system has their own wants and needs. The requirements must be properly communicated to have a successful program.

Use what you have!

Take a good hard look at yourself and use what you have to the best of your ability. Know your strengths and weaknesses, identify them and create the best plan to work with what you have.

After what seemed like an eternity of failure to ride a wave successfully (and watching my wife pop up on the board like a pro), I decided to use my strengths. Balance is a strength of mine. So I stopped focusing on making sure that everything was perfect before I popped up on the board. I decided to simply push up as fast as I could and focus on balance. From there I could adjust little things and stay on the board for the ride.

When creating the first 1:1 program I decided to focus on my strength to meet our school district needs. Like a slap in the face, it was staring at me, directly at me. Our greatest strength was the students that came into our classroom every day.

What does every school district have and always will have? What will continue to help them from year to year with their 1:1 needs? The answer; students!

Our greatest strength was our students. By building a system of a self-maintaining, self-repair program that gave our students opportunities for certifications and technical honors diplomas while learning important third-party skills through hands-on education.

Catching a 1:1 Wave: Surf or Prepare for the Crash!

Beautiful Diamond Head Sunset!


Spending over 6 years on the front lines of working with Administration, Teachers, Tech Directors and Associates, Students, Parents and major corporations like Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo it is safe to say that there are several little things that can interrupt your ability to surf that 1:1 wave.  However, the choice is yours to either surf or prepare for the crash.