By Nancy Caramanico, CIO Advisor
If you were taking a long-awaited trip, how far in advance would you begin planning? A year, three months, one month? You'd surely want to make sure that it is enjoyable, worthwhile and that your trip is just what you had envisioned. You would plan well in advance. What if you are implementing new technologies in the classroom? How far in advance would you begin planning? Two years, one year, one month?
If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. - by Berra, Yogi
If you are going to implement an innovation such as a one-to-one or bring your own device (BYOD). it must be done on purpose and with purpose. Indeed, some say that if you don't plan for one to one or mobile access in your schools, it will simply happen to you. Increasing requests and student needs many necessitate it in some cases and the planning won't have been done. This scenario is the one most would want to avoid.
The growth of One to One programs is an important educational development. There is substantial research found in such studies as the Speak Up Survey to tell us that this is an educational technology trend whose time has come. One-to-one programs put the world at our student's fingertips. Indeed, they hold lots of promise.
There are many districts leading the way, such as Van Meter in Iowa. I visited Van Meter in the spring of 2009 and was immediately taken by the high level of student engagement and easy manner with which the students could describe how one-to-one expanded their learning. What struck me most, however, was how both the school's administrators and teachers easily spoke to the goals for the one-to-one initiative. From the superintendent John Carver down to the teachers, such as Shannon Miller, there was a common focus in regard to their goals and direction. They knew where they were going and why. Everyone seemed to be on the same digital "page."Solid planning clearly had occurred at Van Meter. If you are thinking of planning a one-to-one or BYOD initiative what steps might you take?
Steps for Planning One-to-One/BYOD
Learn about what other schools are doing so that you can learn from their process, their challenges, their successes. Consider the ways in which one-to-one learning suits your school's needs Consult existing technology plans and existing academic plans and goals. Hopefully, they are integrated. Talk to students about how they will use the technology and adapt to the changes. Gather their input.
Select the Tech
Investigate various equipment: laptops, netbooks, tablets, cell phones. Include insurance fees. Choose software applications and Web tools that will support learning best Update bandwidth and electrical as needed.
Choose a group of teachers and/or students who can implement early. Get student input on the progress. Get teacher input on the benefits and challenges. Monitor progress and evaluate the program. Make a list of changes that are needed before broad-scale implementation. Get excellent professional development and encourage individual teacher professional learning.
Consult existing plans and expand them as needed. Bring students into the planning and evaluation processes. Allow teachers time to collaborate on best practices and best resources. Create and mold policies to support the learning.
Educate the Community
Make sure that you include parents in the process. Share the academic goals and strategies that are being employed. Advise them of policy changes. Advise them of their role in supporting their child's use.
A Philadelphia school, Mercy Vocational High School, is embarking on a one-to-one program for the 2011-2012 school year. They are blending one-to-one and bring your own device.
- One-to-one netbooks for the freshmen and sophomores
- Bring Your Own Device for juniors and seniors
It was a multifaceted approach to planning for Mercy Vocational High School, says administrator Catherine Glatts. They covered all of the bases, from technical to administrative to professional development to community support, well in advance.
On listening; "What helped us most was connecting with other schools who were already implementing some kind of 1:1 program. I listened to their lessons learned," says Catherine Glatts, Mercy Vocational High School.
On educating the community: "Our administration is on board with technology. They have been very supportive in moving the technology program forward. Benefactors helped to make it reasonable for our students since many could not afford to buy their own netbook."
On professional development: ''We trained our faculty and continue to train them. Faculty acted as students for a day, carrying the netbooks and using online tools. We focused on just two tools to teach them at first: Google Apps and Edmodo. I, as an administrator, shared many Google docs with my faculty so they had an opportunity to understand Google docs. We also set up a faculty group in Edmodo to share ideas and promote other interesting links and tools."
On collaboration: "I have a fantastic tech team to help promote the technology. They are always willing to help whomever needs help."
On Selecting Tech: "Having good bandwidth is important. We are still testing our bandwidth and upgrading our Internet service."
In summary, listen to those who are doing it now and plan wisely. Our students are worth our absolute best efforts. Successful planning for educational technology initiatives can make all the difference in the world. Plan well in advance on purpose and with purpose and create the 21st-century classrooms our students deserve.
7 Critical Questions for Technology Planning - TechConnects
Speak Up Survey - On TechConnects
This post is cross posted by Nancy Caramanico on TechConnects