To bring technology to students, many schools are
adopting 1:1 initiatives – one device, usually a laptop or tablet, for each
While there is a lot of advice on how to go 1:1 in a classroom or school,
Jennifer LaMaster, assistant principal at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in
Indianapolis, Indiana, discovered there is very little information out there
about what happens after each child has access to a device.
“For most schools, going to 1:1 is a year process,” she explained. “You put
all this energy into it, all this finance gets going, the kids get their
devices, and then suddenly, you’re thinking, ‘Now what do we do?’”
In her webinar, So
You've Gone 1:1: What Now?, LaMaster will focus on three areas to explain
how 1:1 can – and will – change the teaching experience. These areas are
physical, virtual and cultural.
Rethink the classroom setup
As soon as every student has a device in hand, the traditional desk setup no
longer works, LaMaster said. Every will likely need to be reconfigured.
“Learning spaces need to become more flexible in order to allow students to
work in groups,” she explained.
Also, teachers are no longer the center of the learning experience because
the children have the content in their hands. The challenge then becomes making
classrooms collaborative spaces.
“Within three months, most teachers discover that their physical classrooms
and lab spaces don’t work anymore, and that surprises a lot of people.”
Create a robust virtual experience
Devices, whether laptops or tablet, offer countless tools for learning, but
it is up to teachers and schools to make sure students have access to the right
tools for their needs. That means re-evaluating the school’s own virtual
presence, with improved websites and applications that are accessible, easy to
use and vetted.
“You are going to want a much more robust virtual experience than most
schools are ready for,” LaMaster said. The demand for this will come from the
students themselves, and don’t be surprised if they take matters into their own
hands. For example, the students in her school said they needed a school app
that had all the information they needed. A student created the app and because
it was from a student’s perspective, it fit their needs much better than what
was initially available.
Prepare for distractions
Just because a student has a device doesn’t mean human interaction ends. “The
kids shouldn’t be staring at the device all the time,” LaMaster warned.
The challenge in 1:1 is keeping true to the overall mission of the school
when introducing what could be very disruptive technology. Educators will have
to find a balance of guiding positive growth among their students and the how
the technology fits into the classroom environment. “Sometimes you have to turn
the device off, and that’s OK,” LaMaster said. “You want the kids to be present
in the moment.”
LaMaster also pointed out that 1:1 can change the way schools address
professional development. “Before we went 1:1 in my school, we talked about
issues like how lesson plans might change or how you troubleshoot issues with
the device,” she said. “After a year, we realized teachers wanted professional
development on distractions, something we are all struggling with.”
In addition to these three areas of focus, LaMaster plans to address the
following issues in her upcoming ISTE Professional Learning Series webinar:
- Developing a clear objective for 1:1, and sticking to
- Preparing for surprises.
- Listening to student needs.
- Planning for costs, which are sometimes more than expected.
To learn more about 1:1 implementation issues, check out La Master’s webinar