10 Tips for Going 1:1
1. Establish Classroom Procedures on Day 1:
Murphy’s Law will apply the first few times you teach 1:1. The best way to avoid or navigate through this impending storm is to be proactive and not reactive. Visualize how you want students to engage with technology in your classroom and provide a set of procedures to make it happen. Are students responsible for having charged laptops so chords are not all over the place during a lesson? How do students enter your classroom? Do you want students to enter the classroom and get going on a “do now” task, such as a Google a day or do you want to be the one who opens and closes their laptops? This will be different depending on your teaching style. How do pupils engage during course activities, lectures, and work time? Again, this will differ class to class depending if the unit, lesson or task is going to be student centered or teacher driven. What is going to be your balance between traditional and technological classroom activities? 50/50 may work as a guideline for some, but to start, some may feel 80/20 is more comfortable. Don’t feel that you have to dive off the deep end from the get go, scaffold this integration as you would any other content. The clearer you are with expected student behavior when it comes to technology, the smoother your lessons will go.
2. Design Your Units Before You Start Online:
Regardless of what Learning Management System (LMS), Webpage provider, or Blog you are using for your course, countless hours can be saved by mapping out how you want your course page to look in regards to content, assignments, assessments, updates, homework postings, calendars, etc. There may be some restrictions on what your LMS is capable of, but most are quite malleable, fluid and flexible. Previewing colleagues pages and templates provided can also offer some guidance. Remember that being proactive is critical to efficiency and productivity, so keeping the amount of logins and clicks to a minimum and having a consistent format for each unit will help students navigate your course page.
3. Build It Brick By Brick:
As the old adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your course page. Build it unit by unit or even lesson by lesson, if that helps alleviate some stress. Once you go 1:1, it doesn’t mean every unit has to be. Most LMSs allow you to control when you publish your content which gives you the freedom of working on pages without students seeing that it is in progress. Many find that starting with uploading content and flipping some lessons is a nice way to ease into 1:1. Once you are comfortable with this, then try something new: assessing, collaboration, discussions, etc. Don’t be afraid of soliciting feedback from your audience on a frequent basis. This can be done through anonymous online polls or class discussions, and can provide valuable information for planning the next unit. Technology integration provides an opportunity for an extremely differentiated and dynamic learning environment, but critical to this is review and revision.
4. Project Design is Still About Content and Learning:
For each project ask yourself, how does this technology tool enhance student learning and delivery of content? If it doesn’t, then why are you doing it? Becoming familiar with the “Technology Integration Matrix” can save you from hours of frustration and may help get the creative juices flowing. This is an invaluable resource that provides educators with course specific videos on tech integration with the goal being to provide students with lessons that transform their learning to a level that would not be possible without technology. Used in conjunction with the “Visual Blooms to Web 2.0 Tools” resource and the “Bloomin’ Apps” image on the left, it can help provide navigation to meaningful project designs.
5. Not All Students are Digital Natives:
Just as all students don’t have the same learning abilities, they don’t all have the same tech abilities. Sure, all of them can upload content to Facebook and update their status without even looking at their phones in class, but that has come as a result of thousands of hours of practice. You cannot expect the same fluency when it comes to creating highly advanced and specific academic material when it may be their first time doing so in your content area. That being said, providing them with the right motivation, as discussed by Daniel Pink, and an opportunity at autonomy, mastery, and purpose driven learning experiences, may transform their fluency and learning abilities beyond what you thought was possible. When starting a lesson keep in mind the five P’s: proper preparation prevents poor performance. Preparing students beforehand with what they need to have ready for the beginning of next class can save hours over the course of a unit. You can not underestimate how much time it can take to get the whole class to the same website. Posting lesson prep points on your course page or on the board as students enter the class can help make sure everyone is ready to going when the bell rings.
6. Model Being in a 1:1 Environment:
Teach yourself something new. The biggest fear of teachers seems to be that they are going to lose what they have built by trying something new. The reason why 5-10 year olds are so great with technology is because they play without fear. I would suggest you jump in the deep end and play with a new web app or program, you might be surprised how much you enjoy it. Not everything you try is going to be the cure all you desire, but the skill of trying/learning something new is not only invaluable to you, but it will also rub off on your students. By encouraging them to do the same, you are developing risk takers in your classes and showing that you too are willing to take a risk. You might also be surprised with how much empathy you have for each other when something does go wrong during a presentation or project. Throughout this process you are going to be developing your Ed. Tech fluency, becoming more capable of tailoring technology to meet your students' and your specific needs.
7. Challenge Your Students to Create Something Unique:
When the Kony 2012 came out students were engaged and motivated to learn more and make a difference. Invisible children had found what W.Kim and R.Mauborgne call the “Blue Ocean”, a market that didn’t previously exist. When the ultimate goal of tech integration is to transform learning, this can be a powerful challenge. Giving students this opportunity is a breath of fresh air and can highly motivate them beyond what they think is possible. You should not be working and creating more than your students. Collaborating with them and giving them the autonomy to guide their own learning empowers them beyond your course and will enhance their depth of understanding and overall performance.
8. Join or Create a Professional Learning Community or Network, or Both:
Within or between organizations, join or create a professional learning community (PLC) or network (PLN) online. (Ex1), (Ex2), (Ex3). The most valuable sharing often occurs informally, but how often do educators take a minute to discuss their most valuable new tech tool? Try to increase the frequency of these events where valuable sharing takes place by intentionally sitting, in person, with colleagues you want to emulate and learn from. Furthermore, join the millions online by follwing trailblazers blogs, twitter, and RSS feeds, whatever works best for you. The key is getting connected; staying in touch with what is going on in your world of education.
9. Create a Pull Culture:
This could be the most valuable point of all and takes most educators years of revision to develop: the Pull Culture. Many educators express their greatest frustration as being overwhelmed with the increased amount of communication (email) they have to sift through on a continual basis, or push out to students and Parents. (Article) Creating a comprehensive online learning environment that cultivates a “Pull Culture”, where student and parents know where to find (pull) announcements, due dates, readings, content, assignments, assessments, etc, can greatly alleviate the stress of existing in a push culture where all parties feel overwhelmed by digital flow and at a loss of where to find valuable information. Providing a consistent layout for all course material is critical to developing this as students and parents can become just as frustrated navigating through half a dozen different teacher pages and calendars.
10. Ask For Help:
Have you ever been on a road trip and realized you are heading the wrong way, aren’t quite sure, but are a bit too prideful to turn back and ask for directions? Well sometimes that's how educators feel when integrating technology into their courses. You are not sure if it's working, experiencing student and parent resistance, feeling overwhelmed and that it would just be easier to go back to traditional methods. Every educator goes through these apprehensions when starting to integrate technology, and the fact is, if you’re getting some student and parent resistance, then you're probably on the right track. "Chalk and Talk" and rote learning is sometimes easier on them and they may feel it produces better results. Student centred and guided tech integrated education, however, challenges everyone to step out of their comfort zone and grow. That's how you know it's working. When you experience these feelings, ask for help, know you are on the right track, and know that you are not alone.