Building the plane while in flight – that’s the analogy I hear quite a bit from schools that self-admittedly say they may have jumped the gun on implementing a 1:1. Why did they implement it then? The reasons can vary from feeling pressure (from school board, parents, etc.) to seeing other schools go 1:1 and feeling a need to make themselves just as marketable or viable. However, through my own experience of going 1:1 in a school district and now helping other schools transition, I have come up with a very straightforward checklist of trainings for schools who wish to avoid the frustrations that can come with “building the plane while in flight.”
For the sake of this post, we are going to assume two things…
- That your school has already carefully researched which device is necessary for your 1:1 teaching and learning needs. I could go into which device I personally feel is the right fit for learning (not training), but that is something your district must research and decide for themselves.
- I will also assume that your school has researched what infrastructure needs there are in order to support a 1:1.
So, if we are working under those two assumptions, here is a checklist that I would recommend (and I would go in this order).
1. Provide Teachers Training with Blended/Flipped Learning while introducing a proper Learning Management System.
For whom: Teachers
Recommended Duration: 1 year prior to 1:1
The biggest hurdle to overcome when moving 1:1 is getting teachers to understand “Why?”. Teachers need the proper training in how pedagogy may (or should) change in order to better match how students are currently learning and interacting with the environment outside their classrooms. The classroom environment and the outside environment need to match, otherwise students see a direct disconnect and engagement will plummet.
I recommend Blended or Flipped Learning simply because it puts a focus directly on purposeful instruction in order to allow students to operate at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy on a more daily basis. It’s also an instructional model that best utilizes the 1:1 environment for real learning and not just electronic worksheet/homework distribution.
It’s also important to include a Learning Management System (LMS). If you wish to do true Blended/Flipped teaching, the LMS that you choose should…
- Allow for students to submit work electronically.
- Allow the teacher to easily organize content and resources for students to be able to access at any time.
- Allow for online discussions to happen through some kind of forum.
- Allow the teacher to give timely feedback to student work.
- Allow for asynchronous communication between teacher and students as well as students and students.
- Allows for electronic formative and summative assessment.
Giving this training should take some time, but it’s the best way to get teachers to start buying in to the 1:1 idea. When you show them what the potential could be, they may even be begging to start the 1:1 sooner.
2. Training on Digital Citizenship
For whom: Teachers and Students (and Parents if possible)
Recommended Duration: All the time.
If you want to avoid misuse of the technology in your 1:1 (and possibly avoiding legal headaches), then Digital Citizenship training for teachers and students is a must BEFORE rolling out a 1:1. Students need to understand at any grade level what is considered appropriate and inappropriate digital behaviors. Even if your school is not 1:1, this training should start now. Even if you have students going to a computer lab or accessing the internet in any way, you should be explicitly teaching them about digital citizenship – like wise for teachers.
The more you teach, re-teach, address, harp, hound, or nag students about it before you’re 1:1, the more likely they will understand it and follow the rules after you’re 1:1.
However, don’t leave out the parents. Either during your rollout or before, parents need to also understand digital citizenship. More importantly, they will need tips and tricks on how to help their child manage the device when it’s at home.
3. Training on Classroom Management
For whom: Teachers
Recommended Duration: The semester before.
For teachers that are self-proclaimed “not tech savvy,” managing a classroom of technological devices can be the most overwhelming aspect of instruction. And 9 times out of 10 what ends up happening is the teacher just tells the students to put the devices away. If you do Step 1 first, you will hopefully avoid this, because the teacher will see the value of the device as a tool to make learning more efficient and engaging. But even if they see the value in it, managing is still a task best mastered before the devices enter the classroom. Management and instructional techniques can vary depending on the device your school chooses to go with as well as the layout of your classroom.
4. Training on Troubleshooting
For whom: Teachers and Students
Recommended Duration: The month before (maybe more for some)
Let’s be honest, technology is great…only when it works. Even if you go through the checklist above, fluent teaching and learning cannot occur if the technology does not work. And if a teacher, or the students, don’t understand how to troubleshoot, the learning process can stop dead in its tracks. Both could become frustrated and easily give up on technology all together and quickly revert back to the “traditional” way of teaching.
Have a clear idea of what kinds of tech issues could occur and train teachers and students on how to handle these themselves. Not only will the teachers and students feel empowered when hiccups occur, but it will prevent your IT Administrator from becoming quickly swamped with help requests.
What about Administrators?
Of course, the building administrators should be highly involved with the planning, training, and implementation. I have seen 1:1 thrive or struggle simply based on the level of involvement of the administration.
I hope the above checklist helps in deciding how to properly prepare your district and all stakeholders for a smooth 1:1. Another analogy I like to use (and perhaps one that isn’t as dramatic as building a plane while in flight) is making sure your water is boiling before you put in the pasta. Pasta takes twice as long to cook if you throw it in before the water is boiling. By following the checklist, you want teachers and students feeling so prepared for the technology, that they are almost begging for it.
P.S. Is there a training that you would recommend? Leave it in the comments below.
P.S.S. Maybe your school has already gone 1:1. But are there any trainings that you have missed in the process? What trainings do you need to start focusing on?