Posted on 04/26/2011 at 09:47 AM by Global Reach

Last week I attended a conference in Des Moines called the Iowa 1:1 Institute. Some people are not familiar with the term 1to1, or sometimes seen as 1:1. 1to1 means each teacher and each student has a laptop or laptop-like device (iPad) to use in the classroom. This laptop can be a powerful tool if the right professional development and support go with it. Many high schools throughout Iowa and throughout the state are heading in this direction.There are many benefits for a school to go 1to1, but only if it is done in the right way.

Is your school going 1to1 for sure? Is your school considering 1to1 next year? If so, you will need to consider the following things first:

1. How are you going to provide professional development for your teachers and staff? A 1to1 laptop program is not going to be successful if the teachers do not know how or understand how to teach with the technology. They have to understand how the technology and the hardware can change the way they teach and assess in order to change the learning that happens in their classroom.

2. What kind of technical support do you have in your building and/or district? There are inevitably going to be problems by putting laptops in the hands of many students and teachers. The building or district NEEDS to have some one readily available for all of the troubleshooting that will need to happen. I've seen many schools who start a computer club for the students, or offer credit for students to help at a help desk to minimize the workload of the technology staff members.

3. What is your acceptable use policy and how will it be enforced? Students AND parents need to be involved with this. It is best if you can bring in your students and parents at the same time so that they hear the same message. I realize this might not be possible for a large school district. I would recommend both the student and the parent(s)/guardian(s) sign your acceptable use policy so that everyone is a stakeholder in this issue.

There are many more things to consider when rolling out a 1to1 program for your school, but I feel the three I mentioned above are the top three to look at first. The very top of the list, and the item you should spend the most time developing a plan for is the teacher integration and professional development. The teaching has to change when you put a laptop in the hands of a student in order for student achievement to go up.

There is a book I'd recommend if you are looking for a resource for 1:1 planning and preparation. It is called 1-to-1 Learning by Pamela Livingston. There are two editions of this book. Here is the link to find the 2nd edition(2009) on I hope that you will take the planning and implementation seriously and really think about how the teaching and assessment can change with a 1to1 laptop initiative. 



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