Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thoughts from 1:1 planning meeting



We held the first meeting of our 1:1 committee to collaborate about what our school's vision will be for the use of digital devices to enhance learning. Our team consisted of district administration, high school principals, and several teachers along with an instructional coach. The agenda for the first meeting involved the following topics: the role of the committee in this process, what is our 'why' for looking at 1:1, review of survey results on student access, what are obstacles for us, where are teachers in their readiness, and where do we go next?

Here are several of my reflections looking back on our meeting:

1. This purpose of the planning process is to get all the voices in the conversation to make the best decision possible. I plan to get student input, and at some point we need to engage parents. Our superintendent is going to invite a board member to join our committee going forward.

2. To move forward, we need 100% understanding and 80% buy-in. 100% must understand the direction and the 'why.' If we have 80% who are bought-in, the initiative will succeed.

3. 1:1 will be a way to level the playing field for so many of our students who are under-resourced. A learning device provides a significant advantage when used for connecting and learning. We want all our students to have the best opportunities to learn.

3. The device that is selected is not as important as how it is used to enhance instruction. However, the committee recognizes that many stakeholders will have strong feelings about what device is best and will have that question from the beginning. As the process unfolds, it will be important to make a good decision about the device that fits our situation best.

4. We discussed how important it is for students to learn to use technology for learning. They are very competent with Facebook, YouTube, games, etc. Until digital tools are used regularly throughout the school, students will be hard-pressed to develop habits of using technology for learning.

5. Teachers will need professional development. However, we will never be able to move everyone to the same level. Teachers will need to take ownership of their learning and have a growth mindset. Students can also be enlisted as resources to support teachers and other students.

6. The expectation will be for teachers to increase the utilization of technology in learning. There will be times when the devices will be set aside and that's okay. We will respect that all teachers are at different places in their digital journey. We will be looking for growth.

7. We acknowledged that introducing 825 devices into our building also presents more opportunities for distraction and non-learning behaviors. We will need to learn from other schools and make digital citizenship a priority.

8. Our network will need enhancements to be ready for 1:1. We don't currently have enough wireless access points to effectively handle the number of devices. Bandwidth may also be an issue.

9. We briefly discussed how the devices might be supported in the building. Having effective support will be a top concern of teachers. If something goes wrong, how can I get help?

10. Our survey results indicated there will be a significant number of students who don't have internet at home. As teachers make instructional decisions, they will need to remember students may not be able to readily connect outside the school day. However, the building does have extended hours so students can arrive early or stay late to use the school's wi-fi.

It was noted at the meeting that there are many recent examples in our school of teachers increasing the use of digital tools in the classroom, but until we get devices in the hands of students, many of the great ideas teachers have will never be fully realized.

Our superintendent reminded the committee to look at the big picture and not get caught in too many details. We need to cast a vision, and then work on the specifics of implementation when it's time.


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