Skip to main content

Is One-to-One A False Summit?

"How great would it be if every student could be connected to every other student by a web connected device?" This was my guiding question, and quickly became my quest, as I accepted a position as technology coordinator twelve years ago. This was before smart phones, iPads, 802.11ac, and 4G networks. One-to-One learning had yet to become an educational catch phrase, and our media-rich classrooms consisted of a desktop computer, a VCR, and a 600 lumen multi-media projector. Regardless of the name, a computer for every student was going to be my trophy. It would become my legacy as "the tech guy". Years later, as we are about to distribute iPads to all of our students, I have come to realize that I was aiming at the wrong target.

Today, while eating fresh at Subway, I began whining about my revelation to my friend and colleague, Keith Sorensen. Not only does he usually pay for lunch, he's also one of the few people I know that will sit and listen to my wacky musings for any length of time, which is usually as long as the food holds out. Being a sensitive listener, Keith agreed that my glorification of finally going 1:1 was "a false summit". After nearly choking on a slice of green pepper, I composed myself enough to ask for clarification. He was right, putting a tablet in every kid's hands can certainly be an educational game-changer, but the tech implementation is only a means, not an ends.

"It's only a tool, and it's only the beginning.", he reminded me. "What is the change you really want?", he asked.



I looked inward and upward, as I tend to do when I am measuring my words, took a deep, cleansing breath, and said, "First, I want every learner to be connected to every other learner through social networks. Second, every person has a story worth telling. I want every learner to share their thoughts, experiences, and accomplishments their own digital portfolio."

"Now! That's a peak where you can stick your flag!", said Keith as he pointed a spicy nacho Doritos chip at my face, for emphasis.

Those weren't his exact words, but it was good to hear his validation of my new peak. Providing an iPad for each of our 15,000 students and staff is a tall order complete with falling rock, and slippery slopes. One-to one learning will help close the opportunity gap for many of our students. However, this endeavor represents mere handholds and footholds on the climb to a more noble summit. The magic of 1:1 isn't air play, gorilla glass, or the lightning connector. It's the ability connect, learn, and share with anyone at any time. The iPad is an enabler of learning relationships.

Tablets were inherently designed to be personal learning devices, which is perfect. Despite arguments to the contrary, learning is a personal endeavor. Most of our waking hours are spent learning stuff that holds significant meaning to our being. I close with Steven Anderson's tweet - it reinforces the theme of this post most appropriately.



What, if any, false summits have you encountered?
What did you do when you discovered the higher peak?

Comments

Unknown said…
The phrase "false summit" was used in the movie Lone Survivor where a small group of soldiers are trying to reach the peak so they can escape danger, only to find that there was a larger peak looming behind it.

Giving every student a device should never have been our summit, but unfortunately I think it was the only thing we could see from where we were standing two years ago. As we reached that summit (every student will get an ipad in August 2014) we realized how much further we have to climb (utilizing technology to learn, grow, produce, and change).

I'm proud to be a sherpa on this trip with you!
Robert Schuetz said…
Thanks Keith - this is a terrific explanation of our perspective. I agree, the view is different from the summit that we are currently on. Bob

Popular posts from this blog

"Five Reasons Why Schoology Rocks!"

Networking at IETC last week provided me validation in my choice for best learning management system, Schoology. Having used Moodle, Edmodo, Canvas, and Blackboard, I can tell you that these are all terrific products for digital instruction. However, for the past several months, I felt that Schoology was a better choice than these previously mentioned products. Many times, asking the right questions is a precursor to making sound decisions. Here's an article that serves as a guide to asking the right questions when choosing a learning management system:


10 Questions Everyone Should Ask When Choosing an LMS
Here are five reasons why Schoology remains my #1 choice for a classroom LMS: Full-featured classroom organization tools, a collaborative learning place for teachers and students, device-independent applications, Schoology API allows the program to play nicely with others, and the basic level instructional components are, and will always be, FREE.

1.  Schoology's classroom mana…

Good People; The Product of Good Schools

The nightly business reports frequently mention inputs and outputs. Gross National Product (GNP) is a widely recognized leading economic indicator. Widgets aside, what is the product of schools? Some of you want to jump on a table and scream, "children are not products!" Let this breathe a bit as you trudge forward.



In his recent post, Mark Heintz eloquently shares his ruminations to a question being kicked around in our Modern Learners community, "What do we want our children to be?" Credit Pam Moran, Ira Socol, and Chad Ratliff, co-authors of "Timeless Learning; How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-based Thinking Change Schools," for sparking this conversation theme. Timeless Learning provides interesting provocations, inspiring experiences, and compelling rationale for school change.

Like others, my school's leadership team is engaging in discussions about reimagining school to meet the needs of our modern learners. These conversations are seldom e…

My One Word for 2018 is Wisdom

Wisdom, according to Dictionary.com, is "the quality or state of being wise;
knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action;
sagacity, discernment, or insight."


"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."
This quote, often incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein, provides an illustration of the value of understanding over knowledge. A simple search reveals this quote can be linked to the writing of mathematician, George Finlay Simmons


Narrowing my thinking to one word is an interesting challenge. I have gained a greater appreciation for words and how the combination of words can convey meaning beyond definitions, beyond knowledge.

Where are the resources for knowledge in a modern world? We purchased an Amazon Echo as a gift for my parents. "It's such a smart and funny device," says my mom. Alexa has a seemingly unlimited access to information, music, and jokes, but does she understand? Can robots and computers obtain wis…