“Our school is 1:1.” – Now what?

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Classroom from 2002-2003 – image courtesy of Extra Ketchup www.flickr.com


If I were to ask colleagues at my school how they felt about the recent move to a 1:1 environment, their responses could vary significantly.

Anecdotally, teachers have found the introduction of tablet-laptops (Lenovo X220T) and BYO devices to have been both a challenge and a blessing. Challenging because of the perceived lack of preparation (in terms of teacher-, curriculum- and infrastructure development). A blessing because of the improved accessibility of digital resources and expanded engagement opportunities.

The reality of teachers in the classroom cannot be dismissed. Yet, as I take stock of the 1:1 environment 16 weeks after implementation, I see the beginnings of a change in how education is ‘done’ at my school. This change has caused some pain – as most change does.

Teaching in a technologically-rich environment will not radically change the act of learning or teaching in of itself. Technology is a tool, another resource, for quality teachers to utilise in their practice. Understanding how to use the technology is important. The nuts and bolts of which application or software to use, when and how are skills that need to be worked on, but they are not fundamental to learning success or failure. Attitude is. Action-reflection is.

Educators must look beyond blaming the technology for causing problems and become practitioners that question and reflect on every aspect of their teaching. How is the classroom space set-up? Is my assessment data-driven or data-producing? Is classroom management an issue? Do I need to be in total control all of the time?

Believing that the implementation of technology will magically improve student learning outcomes is to miss the mark. Refusing to engage with technology in the classroom is to deny students access to the reality of their futures.

For me, the ‘now what?’ of technology in the classroom is to engage in a hearts and minds offensive. Teacher by teacher, classroom by classroom, I will challenge both students and teachers to reflect how they are engaging with this new environment and how their actions can serve to support improved learning outcomes.

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