Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Becoming A 1:1 School - Edition 3

iPad 3G and iPad Wi-Fi

As we close in on an official decision on what our 1:1 device will be next year, I think it is important to think long term.  The hard part about thinking long term however when it comes to technology is that things are changing so quickly that all we can do is make our best guess at what the possible options will be for 1:1 devices down the road.  Nothing makes this clearer than the fact that our leading option for a 1:1 device for next year, the iPad, didn't even exist at this time last year.

Along this line, I was very intrigued by a blog post by Shelley Blake-Plock in the Daily Riff titled 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete In Education by 2020.  It brings to the forefront many of the types of issues that we need to discuss in order to ensure that our school is adequately preparing students for life after BHS. If the only thing that changes next ear is that students will have devices then we will have wasted a great deal of money.  Our efforts are really designed to give our teachers access to more tools with which to engage students in meaningful learning activities. 

Last night I discussed our 1:1 plans with the Burlington School Committee.  While our first few years as a 1:1will focus on creating an environment where all students have the same device which the school will provide and control (from a classroom management standpoint).  As we start to increase our comfort-level in our new environment, we have to start to think about becoming a school where students have options (more like the real world) where they bring their own devices. 

One thing I am sure of is that in Massachusetts, I think we will see a trend of 1:1 schools similar to that which has occurred in Iowa. In less than five years, Iowa has gone from a state with less than a handful of 1:1 schools to over 100 (projected for next year).  

I am proud to say that we will pioneers in our state and more importantly I am excited to continue the never-ending conversation that we are engaged in as we focus on ensuring an atmosphere that gives our students and teachers access to the most relevant tools for learning. 


  1. Will students have to pay for these iPads? If you force everyone to pay for them, what if the student does not want them. What is the point of having them pay for something they do not want?

  2. Thank you so very much, Mr. Larkin, for your quality investment into the 1:1. It is evident that you put in a tremendous amount of energy, enthusiasm, countless hours researching and planning and patience into this important endeavor. My colleagues in other systems envy us.
    Why just this morning at 5:30 am, my home computer stopped working. I was grateful that I had my BHS laptop here to allow me to continue my work.

  3. In response to the anonymous question above, we have not finalized the financial plan. The first step is to decide on what the device will be and then we will then come up with a plan to ensure that all students are able to have a device. We have a meeting in January to start working on the finacial plans and we will share the details as soon as we have them.

  4. This is going to be great. If everyone has a positive attitude about it, then it will go tremendously well and increase learning potential for all students. Thank you Mr. Larkin for your dedication!

  5. I see the advantages of the iPad and a main concern is the camera. However, since the new iPad that is coming out has a camera, would it be more benefical to buy laptops if people pay for them? I'm just thinking that if the financial plan is for students to pay for the iPads why not just pay for laptops that can later be used in college?

  6. That is a great point in regards to students getting something that they will use in college. However, the cost of the iPad is significantly cheaper and we may see colleges looking at the tablet as an alternative as well.

  7. Mr. Larkin,
    Good luck on your 1:1 initiative. Your ability to embrace technology is a great model for students to follow! If you ever have the time, I would love for you to critique my "teacher help" ebook. I value your opinion! You can download it for free at this link:

  8. I know you have yet to work out all the kinks, but I'm just wondering how learning to use the devices will work. Will all of September be spent getting used to the new device, therefore losing lots of valuable class time?

  9. At my school we are using netbooks. I have had a class set of netbooks in my room for 2 months. You don't spend a whole month getting use to the technology. You spend a few minutes here and a few minutes there. I have been teaching just as much content as before and my students have gained much better tech proficiency in just two months. One to one rocks!

  10. Mr. Larkin,

    I really like your thinking on embracing new ways to make education more effective. I see value in 1:1. However, I do have one concern. In today's wired world, there is a tendency to jump on the web to get information as opposed to reading a reference book or a text book (paper or e-book), struggle with complex or difficult questions and experience constructive frustration for a period of time to solve the problem. 1:1 can increase access to knowledge and interaction but do you believe that because of easy access to web and electronic communication by using iPad, the students will not spend as much time in contemplative thinking and learning?

  11. In response to the comment stream, there are some great point here. First, I think we need to say clearly that there will be some bumps along the way and that no one is going to have every answer. However, this is why an ongoing conversation where we ask as many questions as possible is important.

    Two questions from above that I would like to respond to are:

    Will we lose time in the first month of school ironing out the kinks of using the new technology? and Will students spend less time in contemplative thinking and learning?

    In regards to the new technology, my four year old is very proficient with the iPad. I think that it is an easy device to use and that the transition will be pretty easy.

    On the second question of students spending less time being contemplative and just jumping onto the internet for quick answers, I think we as educators have to ensure that we are creating lesson plans that engage students in higher levels of critical thinking. I think that we need to encourage more contemplative thinking and learning regardless of technology integration.