5 Tough Questions to Ask When Implementing 1:1 or BYOD

Has your school gone 1:1? Or are headed that way? Often, with technology comes a great deal of change, a fair amount of resistance, and an abundance of questions. However, when done right, a 1:1 is well worth the effort.

To help ensure your school or district is set up for success from the start, we’ve compiled a few quick tips to set expectations and minimize potential pitfalls.

  1. What’s the Goal of the Initiative?
    We’re big fans of educational technology, but the addition of technology as a standalone isn’t enough. It’s important to set a goal for your devices that is focused on learning. In the words of Andrew Marcinek, a school CIO and former Director of Technology, in a recent Edutopia article:

    “A 1:1 environment should be the goal of every learning institution; however, this is not about devices, it's about access. I imagine every school superintendent, principal, and teacher would agree that it is in their best interest to provide their students with the best access to the most current, scholarly information available.”

    Without a focus on learning, a 1:1 initiative has the potential to be underutilized as well as fail to ultimately impact student success. If you haven’t already set such a goal, take a hard look at the technology in your district, 1:1 initiative or not, and see where changes can be made.

  2. How Will You Ensure Devices are Used?
    As with any initiative or project, there is a learning curve. Keep this in mind, and support your teachers’ success with professional development opportunities and time to integrate new tools into their lessons. It’s also important to not demand that the devices be used at all times, while still encouraging use when appropriate.

    Setting up expectations, supporting teachers with needed training, and checking in with them on how it’s going and any further professional development needs can make all the difference.

    Related Resource: How Do We Plan with Purpose? A Look at Effective PD
  3. What is the Devices’ Role in the Classroom?
    A device is no replacement for a quality teacher, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. A device is a tool, just like an old chalkboard, not-quite-as-old whiteboard, or a calculator. Work with teachers to make them feel comfortable with the device, understand the benefits the available technology provides, and provide practical ideas that show how the device can be successfully used in the classroom.

    Related resource: Evaluating Technology Resources

  4. When are Devices Appropriate? (And When Is It Okay to Put Them Away?)
    It’s important to understand that for teachers facing a 1:1 initiative for the first time, one of the scariest aspects of the new devices is all the potential distractions students will be faced with. To be fair, there are always distractions—doodling, a game in their pocket, the window—but there are ways to minimize potential distractions that might be caused by the device. The most basic? If you’re not using them for a lesson, or part of a lesson, don’t have them out.

    Related resources: Classroom Management in 1:1 And BYOD Classrooms
  5. How will You Talk About Digital Literacy?
    Due to a prevalence of the ‘Digital Native’ term, it’s often assumed that learners automatically know how to use available technology tools. And, while most do, there is a difference between using Google to find a meme vs. using it to find relevant, authentic sources for a project. Starting an on-going conversation about the importance of digital literacy can be the difference between students simply finding an answer, to understanding the right answer.

    Related resource: What Do Students Need to Know About Internet Safety & Digital Citizenship?

Looking for more ideas on getting started with 1:1 and BYOD?
Be sure to check out Your District Has Gone 1:1/BYOD - Now What?an insightful online course by Ron Farrow, an Elementary school principal and former Instructional Technology Coordinator. Based on his firsthand experience and research of best practices, Farrow share’s his insights on the importance of the first year, planning ahead, and resources to get started.

This post was inspired by the Edutopia article 5 Steps for Implementing a Successful 1:1 Environment.


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