Advice for Parents of 1:1 Programs

Advice for Parents of 1:1 Programs

Anna left a comment on my blog post about 1:1 program with MS and HS students that reads: My son attends a school where MacBooks are required from grades 8-12, and students use many different assistive technology tools. I believe that 1:1 is great as a learning TOOL, but because students have their laptops with them all the time, there is no “down” time when they have to use their own initiative to think, dream, plan, create w/o a screen. He gets up and will open the laptop before breakfast to play, he will play or noodle around with his iTunes in the car on the way to school, on the way home from school, and every other time that kids used to be unplugged. He is not creating, he is consuming. It is a huge fight in our household. What advice do you have for parents in dealing with this dark side-effect of a mandatory BYOL environment? by One Laptop per Child It’s a good question and my first response is what is your school doing to help train parents on both their responsibility and management of technology that the school provides? Here at ISB we do a couple of different things. We first have a mandatory meeting that at least one parent has to attend we run the same training three to four times at different time periods for parents. Of course the kids make them go as they want their laptops. We also run a set of 5 courses called the ISB Technology Certificate for Parents. We’ve taken 100 parents through the program over the past two years. Now, not every parents will take it, but enough do and they talk to other parents and the message we give in the courses spreads through the community. Spreading an understanding of the use of the laptops and what parents can do to help support their children at home. If a school is going to give every students a laptop, I feel, they have an obligation to not only train students but parents on good use of the technology. My Advice For Parents: Remember That You Are The Parent When it comes to technology, many parents feel that they do not know enough to create limits and boundaries. Because of this they do not feel right taking the technology away. You are still the parent and in your...

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Why I still want MS and HS to have a Laptop

Why I still want MS and HS to have a Laptop

I received a tweet a couple days ago asking why I still believed laptops, in this case MacBooks, are the right choice for middle school and high school students. @jutecht Why did you select iPads for the primary and MacBook Pros for Middle and Hi? I’d love to hear your strategy! @cindybrock — Bradford G. Saron (@bradfordgs) January 26, 2012 Now before I begin, let me state that I firmly believe a 1:1 (one computer per student) program no matter what the connected device (device connected to the Internet) is better than no 1:1 program at all. If a school can only afford an iPad for ever student then that’s the best choice. However, many schools, especially here internationally and private schools in the states, have the option to buy either an iPad or a MacBook and for them I am recommending MacBooks for Middle School and High School 1:1 programs. Consumption vs Creation by umpcportal.com At the end of the day the iPad is designed for the consumption of information. This is not the shift I’m looking for in education. Yes…you can create some things on the iPad but it doesn’t take long to max out the iPad’s creative potential. I am not talking creating music, or taking a video. I’m talking the mashup of videos from different sources, the creation of music from different sources as well as the programs and apps I want students to be creating today. Apple sees the iPad as a consumption device, and it does a really really good job of it, giving the consumer a beautiful interface to consume through. Apple’s latest announcement where they unveiled iBook Author I think just makes this point stronger. You create the textbook, or any book for that matter, on the computer and you consume the information on the iPad. As much as I want digital textbooks, what I really want is students to create their own books. For middle school and high school students I want them creating sophisticated projects, I want them collaborating, like I’m doing today on a Google Doc using the built in chat feature. I want them making apps, videos, and music…not the kind that get a couple views, but the kind that go viral. If you want to plan for the future by torres21 Now if you really want to plan for the future, and by that I mean...

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The Next Phase of Technology at ISB

Last week our IT Director, Chad Bates, gave a presentation to the ISB School Board outlining the next phase of technology use at ISB. The phase includes a plan to go 1:1 starting next year with grade 6 students. It’s an exciting time to be at ISB and I for one am looking forward to rolling out the 1:1 program over the next couple years. As part of his presentation Chad went over the history of technology implementation at ISB over the past 10 years. As I sat there reflecting on how far we’ve come with technology in just the past 10 years, it amazed me how fast we’ve transitioned even if for many of us it doesn’t seem we’re transitioning fast enough. 1999: ISB has two computer labs in each division (ES, MS, HS) with technology teachers that pull kids out of class as a special. A very common practice in 1999. 2001: Under than IT Director Steve Lehmann ISB puts in a campus wide wireless network, and starts replacing computer labs with laptop carts at each division as part of the replacement cycle. 2004: ISB hires a Technology & Learning Coordinator (TLC) to help teachers implement technology in the classroom. Summer 2005: Bandwidth is increased to 1MB 2005: The TLC from 2004 returns to the classroom and the current team starts to take shape starting with Dennis Harter who is hired to be the TLC for Middle School and High School. Summer 2006: Bandwidth is increased to 2MB 2006: The Elementary School hires Justin Medved as the TLC and phases out computer labs in the ES and goes exclusively to laptops carts at each grade level. By 2007 ever teacher will be phased into using a laptop instead of a desktop computer in their classroom. Summer 2007: Bandwidth is increased to 5MB 2007: One of the elementary librarians moves to take another international job and the Elementary School takes the opportunity to rethink the overlap of technology and libraries and hires Kim Cofino as the 21st Century Literacy Specialist. Summer 2008: Internet bandwidth is increased to 10MB 2008: Justin Medved moves on to a new adventure and I’m hired as the new Elementary TLC and Chad Bates is hired as the Middle School TLC and for the first time ISB has a dedicated TLC at all three levels. Summer 2009: The wireless infrastructure is upgraded to N...

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Why do I get a computer?

Over the past couple of days I’ve had one simple question that I can’t get out of my head. Why do we believe that every teacher having a computer on their desk will benefit teaching and learning, but giving one to students wouldn’t? It’s a simple question isn’t it? I mean….when I started teaching in 1999 I walked into my 4th grade classroom with a computer sitting on my desk. Not every teacher had one at that time, but the next year, at a new school, every teacher had a laptop. We’re talking the 2000-2001 school year. Every school since has provided me with a computer. At some point, someone somewhere decided that every teacher having a laptop benefited teaching and learning. That this “tool” no matter how expensive had benefits that out weighed the cost. And you can’t tell me that there were not conversations before this happened around: Will they use it appropriately? How are we going to make sure they use it? What if they screw around and get off task? What happens if it breaks? How are we going to measure its effect on learning? How are we going to measure its effect on teaching? and for those of you who were in some of these conversations I’d love to hear the other questions/concerns that were raised. Here’s the best part….10 years later here are the answers to those questions as I see it: Will they use it appropriately? Some will some won’t How are we going to make sure they use it? We won’t, it’s a tool that is there for them to use when they need it to help them do their job. What if they screw around and get off task? They will, it’s a fact, we have teachers updating Twitter and Facebook during the school day, sending personal e-mails, looking up movie times for after school, and booking flights. They screw around on the computer all the time! What happens if it breaks? We’ll keep a couple spares to replace it. How are we going to measure its effect on learning? We won’t but we have a hunch that it does. How are we going to measure its effect on teaching? We won’t but we have a hunch that it does. 10 years later and these are the best answers I can come up with? We have no data, we have...

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What Do You Want Students To Do?

Yesterday in our cohort reflecting session at the EARCOS Admin Conference we talked a lot about 1:1 programs. Everyone trying to figure out what works, what doesn’t, where to start, and the questions go on and on. I do think we can learn from each other as schools continue to strive to use technology at a true learning tool in the classroom. But, I do think we need to remember that especially in the international world….every school is different and every school will have to “Just Do It” at some point. There are some questions that I think schools can be asking as they move forward. The key, in my opinion is to ask yourself questions that focus on students and student learning. 1. What do we expect students to do? Don’t start your discussions with PC or Mac start them with what are the ways you see students interacting with the technology. Do you want them creating videos, podcasts, etc? Or are you more concerned with them having access to the Internet and being able to type…..or all of the above. By taking time as a school to think about what experiences you expect students to have with the technology will lead you to the hardware that is best for your school. 2. What are Teacher expectations? Have a discussion around how you expect teachers to use the technology in the classroom. Do you expect it to replace textbooks, enhance textbooks, or are you focused on completely new experiences interacting with content in ways that were not possible before every student had a laptop. Taking time to discuss what as a school you expect from your teachers will help to plan PD sessions and focus on where teachers will be supported. These are just two questions that I believe will help a school start the discussions around 1:1….but at the end of the day we can discuss, plan, and discuss some more about implementing a 1:1, but at some point you just have to do it!...

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