Sunday, January 20, 2013

What are Teachers saying about 1 to 1?

Last week, I summarized our high school students' impressions and experiences as active participants our 1:1 pilot.  Half-way through year one, here's what our pilot teachers are saying about learning and teaching in this 1:1 environment with iPads.

Achievements & Advances
  • Student organization is improved after our teachers provided tips and strategies for file storage and management.  Our 1:1 classes are almost completely paperless.
  • Student accountability for work is improved.  The excuses for lost materials are minimized since the iPad is the work "container".  Missing class is no longer an excuse for not submitting work.  The students are able to keep in contact with their teachers and classmates, and their work is submitted electronically.
  • Teachers have recorded improved attendance in the 1:1 classes over the traditional classes.
  • It took a few days for teachers and students to get comfortable with the technology.  It took a few weeks for teachers to develop a document work flow strategy that was fully effective and efficient.  This strategy was different from class to class, but most classes involved the following tools for their document work flow; Google Drive and / or Dropbox, Notability and / or Evernote, Turnitin, iTunes-U, and Schoology.  Several teachers are using iBooks Author to create enhanced text materials for their classes.
  • Teachers are reporting increases in student engagement, as well as, increases in creativity, communication, and quality of work.  Tools like NearPod, Learnist, and Evernote are helping many students excel in these areas.

Challenges & Obstacles

  • A few of our teachers have digital text materials that are Flash-based.  Even though there are alternatives to Safari and Chrome that can play these Flash components - at this time, there doesn't seem to be anything that effectively addresses the "Flash on the iPad" issue.
  • Infrequent Internet outages, or network slow-downs have impacted our teachers' willingness and ability to administer online assessments consistently.  Our district has increased bandwidth, and upgrades to our wireless network equipment have been scheduled for this spring.
  • Adjustments needed to be made to our classroom teacher stations to accommodate the Apple TV installations in the classrooms.  Newer HDMI capable projectors are being installed in our 1:1 classrooms.
  • Teachers acknowledge that shifting their pedagogy is both challenging, exciting, and rewarding.  "Feels like being a first year teacher again."  One or two teachers are teaching a traditional and a 1:1 course of the same name.  The teachers indicate that preparing for their 1:1 class is like having another prep.  All of our pilot teachers welcome the opportunity to go 1:1 across all of their course sections next year.

At this time, we are taking teacher applications for admission to the 1:1 program for next year.  The increasing interest in getting involved in this program indicates that teachers and students understand the significance of learning supported by networks.  As stated in a previous post, I am looking for our students and teachers to become more transformative with their learning.  I would like to see our students using technology to answer challenging questions, collaboratively solve authentic problems, and share their learning with authentic audiences.  Lots of positives as we move from pilot to program phase of our 1:1 implementation.

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