This is not my first time going through the implementation of a 1:1 as I was previously at another school before and during the first 3 years of the 1:1 there. There we gave our students the white MacBooks and we had some successes as well as some, well, we will just call them not-successes.
There were many variables that caused initial problems, such as new administration, a state site visit and a switch from a block schedule to an eight period day. Due to all of those changes there wasn’t a lot of time or energy that first year to do a whole lot. There were definitely some changes that happened to improve the learning environment but not a lot seemed to change overall. The integration of the technology into the classroom and into the learning was slower than would have been had we been able to only focus on that as opposed to the other changes.
During year 2 and year 3 there was a lot more that was done, more pd and more opportunities to learn from each other. Some teachers would make certain changes to their teaching style or would integrate certain tools in order to help the students, and the students would actually ask the other teachers to do the same. While teachers were required to have a class site (or blog depending on how you look at it) there were different ways to go about this and some teachers would only do the bare minimum while others would attempt to create a truly blended learning environment.
It took me a little over a year before I found the way that I really wanted to use the new tools in the classroom. While looking for examples from other teachers I had stumbled upon examples from a flipped classroom. I also found out how others were using mastery style learning and standards based grading in connection with technology in order to create a more student-centered learning environment. My focus was just on integrating new technology, it was on how I could best use these tools to better meet the needs of my students. I understood that there might be a lot of work to change but I felt that if it helped my students learn, then it would be worth it.
I think the best indicator of success for a 1:1 is the change of instruction to better meet the needs of the students. Did the changes that took place end up positively affect the student learning that was taking place? Did the teachers try to find new ways to help students or did they just digitize the old methods and tools? Are the teachers willing to try new things and even fail along the way, as long as they keep trying in order to improve?
In Sean Nash’s Blog post he discusses how the comfort level with seven elements will determine if you are ready to undertake the 1:1 change or not. A big message throughout those seven elements is, are you willing to give up teacher centered strategies and move towards student centered ones instead. We have to make sure that we are truly focused on the student, no matter what initiative is being introduced or what changes take place. If we are not focused on the student with each step we take, we will not succeed.