Congratulations! Your school has gone 1:1. Every student now has a piece of technology in his or her hands. Your school district is getting recognition for taking the right step into the 21st century. The hard part is done, right? But now what?
With these new technologies in your classroom comes the possibility of truly changing the way education is done. Does the iPad connected to your projector just replace your normal whiteboard or is there the possibility for you to share information in different ways? Does the video player on each of your students' computers replace the television or can that player change the way your students interact with and consume media content. Does the technology you're using just extend the same, old teaching practices from 1950 or can it reshape the classroom. 1:1 gives your students the opportunity to collaborate with others in ways unimaginable twenty years ago. The entire library is at your students fingertips allowing them to research topics of interest. Most importantly, your students with a computer allows school learning to happen anywhere at anytime.
So what do you do now that you are 1:1?
"Technology by itself is not enough," said Nick Sauers, the Leadership Training Coordintor of the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) at the University of Kentucky in a recent blog post. "Invest in training teachers and developing policies that focus on student learning."
That is just what one Iowa school district has done. Through research and piloting, the Harlan Community School District decided that a 1:1 initiative was a necessary step in students' education. This summer Harlan's leadership provided professional development workshops with its teachers to better help them with technology and how to find and access resources.
"Probably the most important element of going 1:1 for me is to better reach, teach, and motivate today's student," said Sarah Fink, the Elementary Tech Integrationist for Harlan Community School District. "Technology is how students are used to doing most things and for teachers to not be able to reach them in a realm they are familiar with, we are losing out on a lot of learning, and not tapping into the plethora of resources that are available online for our students."
If your school is considering going 1:1 or already is, there are a number of conferences that focus on technology use in the classroom: the 1:1 Conference, the Iowa Technology Education Connection Conference (itec), or the Technology Integration and Instruction for the 21st Century Learner Conference (t.i.c.l.). Go to any of the AEAs and you'll find some sort of professional development opportunity. And school districts are hosting events to share ideas revolving around 1:1 transition. The theme at these events not only encourages teachers to embrace technology but to incorporate it into every part of their pedagogy, from lesson planning to encouraging student created media projects.
"Understand it, scrutinize it, sort out what works, embrace the good, and finally, use the technology in your classroom," said Dan Meyer, the keynote speaker at this summer’s Keystone AEA TIC Conference. In fact, this is a theme that is happening all across Iowa. Very real discussions are taking place. "It's not a matter of if schools should be embracing technology at every level but rather how schools should make it happen," continued Dan Meyer. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, conversations are being held as far as why schools should be cautious of embracing too much technology. How does school leadership scrutinize between what is a fad and what will have lasting impact? "Technology is not the silver bullet that is going to solve the problems inundating the American school system," said U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, "but not embracing it is just as dangerous."
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Subjects: Science & Technology