Random Thoughts

What Do You Want Students To Do?

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

One of the rare non-Apple laptops seen in an otherwise cool park full of cool people by Ed Yourdon.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!


I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Pingback: Brian Lockwood 

  2. Pingback: wkirkwood

  3. Pingback: pamcarr

  4. Pingback: andreablanco

  5. Pingback: Ed Yourdon

  6. Peter Anthony

    Hi Jeff
    Good to see you are still keeping the focus on students and their learning. I am now at Canadian Academy after leaving SAS and enjoying the change. My classes are in a pilot 1:1 program this year and I am hoping that there will be a fuller implementation next year. Thanks for the good advice. I remain convinced that 1:1 enhancing teaching and learning in so many ways that are important to kids in the 21st Century.

  7. Pingback: SDST Spartans

  8. Jeff, that is such a clear and concise outline as an approach to computers 1:1. I don’t know if our school will ever get that far but earlier this year a number of our admin visited a 1:1 school here in Beijing to investigate and ask questions. I was impressed when the new Head of the school discussed exactly what you have written. What are we wanting to do with this program? Answer that first and the rest will follow.

  9. Hi Jeff,
    I couldn’t agree more. I am writing a presentation for next weeks 1:1 Symposium entitled “Ready Enough”. If it is okay with you I plan to ad this post to my presentation.

    If we can accept that change is messy and be risk takers then we can move ahead. No matter how much prep you do there will be loose ends or things that looked good on paper but which have to adjusted when you are working in a real classroom.

  10. Hi, Jeff! I am a masters student working toward a degree in integrating technology in the classroom. Part of this degree involves us learning how to blog. I found your site and read your posting about what we expect our students to do. I do agree with it, but I have a question. What is that 1:1 program you talked about? It sounds very interesting. I would like to hear more about it. Thanks.

  11. Wow! Two awesome questions. Couldn’t have been timelier. I’ll be asking my students to reflect on them both today.


  12. Pingback: Daniel Ballantyne

    • There are all kinds of factors that can go into starting a 1:1 program. I’ve seen them as low as 3rd grade. Where I personal have seen the greatest success in starting 1:1 programs is in the middle school. The kids, the teachers, the idea of middle school all seem to lend itself to a great place to start a 1:1 program. A big factor to consider is teacher training and where does a school have the most support from teachers to trail 1:1 at your school. Personally I think that should be a leading factor when considering where to start with 1:1 programs. Teacher support can make or break the initiative before it even starts.

  13. I can see how Jr. HS is a good point, due to maturity and intellect and independent thought tendencies.

    Are there any successful 1:1 schools in Atlanta, GA that you’re aware of?