Friday, March 18, 2011

Becoming a 1:1 School - Edition 8 - Some People Ask Why? I Prefer Why Not?

Why not

As we make the transition to a 1:1 school questions continue to arise in regards to why and how we are doing this...and they should.

While the how is important in regards to the allocation of resources in financially difficult times, I believe that if we do a good job answering the why of this question then the how becomes less significant.  Before I get started with a few specifics in answering the why, I have a question ask...

...What type of education do we want for our kids? 

Being a father of three, I have some things that I want for my children:

  • I want my children to learn about resources that allow them to connect and collaborate with those who share their passions/interests.
  • I want my children to be inquisitive and lead their own learning. 
  • I want my children to be responsible citizens. 

I am bothered by the fact that the world outside of our schools has changed so dramatically, while the world inside has changed very little.  It would seem to me that we would start to see changes inside or schools that would correspond to what is happening outside. 

I recently re-read Scott McLeod's great post from back in November If we were really serious about educational technology and I have to say that I would change the title to If we were really serious about education because I think the things that Scott discusses (see a partial list below) are imperative to the delivery of a relevant curriculum in the year 2011.
  • show students how to edit their privacy settings and use groups in Facebook instead of banning online social networks because they’re ‘dangerous’ and/or ‘frivolous’
  • treat seriously and own personally the task of becoming proficient with the digital tools that are transforming everything instead of nonchalantly chuckling about how little we as educators know about computers;
  • put a robust digital learning device into every student’s hands (or let them bring and use their own) instead of pretending that we live in a pencil notebook paper and ring binder world
I am confused how we can look at this list and still ask, "why?"  

What do you want for your kids?


  1. Amen! I want my children to have the tools and knowledge they'll need to excel in an internet-driven world. The tools are there. The technology is there. It's not going away and I think we need to teach kids with it. It's what they will use when they get out in the "real world" anyway. Why not give them a head start?

  2. I'm getting more and more comfortable with our 1:1 transition as I'm employing technology in the classroom almost on a daily basis. Today we found the IPod translator App to be more effective than our basic, but great French dictionaires. In Spanish class, our real estate project generated more interest as the students got to take out their IPods and cell phones to find answers to basic geographical questions. Students are never reluctant to use their technological devices in the classroom to aid them in learning. So, within the past two days, students got to use their Ipods, cell phones and personal lap tops for classroom research. My homework assignment is to research some great foreign language Apps which will be used with our IPads.

  3. What about the kids who don't want to use the iPads? What if they prefer learning the way they are now? Do they have to use the iPads? My daughter doesn't want to. She is strongly against it.

  4. I want my children to be engaged in learning no matter what the device. As far as I can tell engagement is closely related to the passion of the teacher. Those teachers who embrace the technology of the time will be meeting the students in their comfort zone of learning and communicating and as a result will have students who are more engaged. What I want for my teachers to buy in to the advantages of having these devices, use the resources available to them, follow the lead of their peers who use the technology, ask questions about what works best, and who are not afraid to just jump in and try something new. What I don't want for my children, is having an iPad that is deadweight in their backpack because a teacher hasn't been given the support, encouragement, or had the time needed to research what's available to enhance their curriculum. Senora Price seems to be on the right track. It would be nice to see other members of the faculty at BHS equally engaged. And I'm nervous because I don't see that happening......

  5. Patrick, thanks so much for sharing your journey in such a public forum. Putting yourself on the edge of discomfort and taking risks is the essence of true learning (and leadership).

    Keep up the great work!

  6. In response to the two anonymous comments above:

    First, we will not be forcing students to take an iPad if they do not want one. It is my hope that students will see the benefits that having a device connected to the internet can provide them when it come to enhancing their education and becoming more active in leading their on learning.

    In regards to the second anonymous statement at the top, you hit the nail on the head when you made the point that engagement in the classroom is not dependent on a device, it is dependent on a passionate teacher using all of the tools in his/her toolbox. I think that we are fortunate to a staff full of passionate teachers at BHS and you will see them take full advantage of the unending number of tools that they have access to with each student having his/her own device.

    It is also clear that each person brings their own comfort level to the table in accessing these new tools for learning and that not everyone will be as proficient on day one. I think this offers us tremendous opportunities to start to become a closer community of learners as we start to share our experiences with one another.

    Time will tell...