Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One-To-One Computing

When it comes to technology in education, we often get caught up in the hype and dazzle of the newest gadget, and as a result we focus on the what and omit the how. It's like buying the fanciest watch without knowing how to tell time.

I was thinking about this Monday night during a meeting for my district's one-to-one computing initiative. Providing a safe and effective environment for more than 3,000 students is certainly an incredible undertaking, so understandably much of our discussion has been on the physical components. What netbook to choose? How will machines be rolled out? What will be protocol for damaged equipment?

The committee is well-managed and is on its way to ironing out the wrinkles in the what end of things. Now for the how.

Training on the actual machines and training on how to incorporate into daily lessons needs to be synchronous. If teachers don't know the capabilities of the hardware then the whole initiative fails. If teachers don't know how to effectively exploit those capabilities then the whole initiative fails. But how do you show one teacher how to foster collaborative work environments, for example, while simultaneously teaching another how to plug in and recharge a laptop battery?

Maybe the question can be summed up as "What should come first - the hardware training or the pedagogy for technology integration?" The answer is yes.

Our building technology integrator made an interesting observation about my habits with technology. He told me that I tend to find something and jump in head first. Completely true. Luckily though, my ratio of perfect swan dives to terrible head injuries is in my favor. And when I do jump in head first only to find the water too shallow, what's the worst that can happen? I pick up the pieces of a shattered lesson, and learn from my mistakes.

On the small scale of my daily lessons this is a risk worth taking, but on the grand scale of a district looking to implement one-to-one computing, we need to be more assertive in addressing the needs of the teachers. Teach the teachers, and one-to-one has the opportunity to become a revolution.
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14 Responses:

Anonymous said...

sounds great! -Trey

Anonymous said...

I think this is very helpful!

Anonymous said...

You make some very good points- Clay

Anonymous said...

I agree with the thought of teaching the teachers. How can you be a teacher and not know how to do what you are asking the students to do? Once this is accomplished, learning will be much more affective

Anonymous said...

I think training teachers is the key to making one to one computing work. If the teachers are not trained on how to best implement this then it is pointless to do it.

Anonymous said...

Super Duper!- Christian

Anonymous said...

We are discussing this issue now in my class. I agree that teachers need the resources and background to be able to fully utilize all computers can offer to a classroom environment.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Teachers should be our main concern. They are teaching the young minds of America for tomorrow. - Nathan

Anonymous said...

I feel as though the hardware training should be taught first. Teachers should be taught how to work the computers because if they cannot work any computer applications then their integration of technology into the curriculum will not be as effective.

Anonymous said...

I think that you are asking some very important questions. I have not implemented my own one to one system into a school, but I think you are definitely planning your strategy wisely. - RMC

Steven said...

I agree. This is very important.

Steven

John said...

Imagine my surprise when I noticed an immediate increase in traffic from Lousiana! Thanks for the visit. I hope you all enjoyed my post - 1:1 computing is something I am just beginning to explore. No doubt there will be future blog posts on the subject, but for the time being, it's nice to know that a few of my thoughts hopefully sparked a few for you as well!

Anonymous said...

i think without training teachers will fail. If you do not know how to train on the subject and how to use the technology, you will be wasting the technology-Chris

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that schools are implementing one to one computing in the classroom. I believe it will help students reinforce the material that the teachers are teaching. Like you said, teachers must know how to implement technology in the classroom for one to one computing to be effective. A way to educate teachers about technology is to make them take a course before graduating from college. -Jessica