Update: A great related article by Alan November: Why Schools Must Move Beyond 1:1 Computing
I’ve been involved in a 1:1 device pilot in my district, so naturally I’m following other teachers online as they are doing the same. We are learning a lot from each other, and from that point of view, most people seem to be successful. BUT then I started thinking…those people who are online sharing their experiences are the people that already have a technology foundation or they wouldn’t be online sharing. My sample of teachers/schools was skewed. So I went out in search of districts in general.
Using those criteria changed the picture. Certainly there are schools and districts that are finding success, but it seems that the most success is in districts that lay a foundation. Without the foundation of how to integrate educational technology in a meaningful way, how to connect to other teachers for collaboration, and how to teach the skills needed to be safe and successful, 1:1 devices can be not only distracting, but can take away valuable instruction time. In some cases, without laying a foundation, the devices are little more than expensive encyclopedias and word processors. If teachers do not have training and a network of educators to work with, they only know what they know. And in many cases, that isn’t enough.
I found a great example of a district that created a foundation before moving forward, and it seems that the success overall will be substantial. Coincidentally, the school district is right down the road from here.
Check out what they are doing toward Capacity Building. Their Professional Development Approach looks wonderful.