5 Ideas Essential to #1 to1 Tech Learning Success

This article originally appeared at Partners in Learning - 1:1 Hot Topics.

It’s no secret that successful 1:1 learning goes beyond simply getting devices into the hands of students and teachers. Many schools have had 1:1 programs long enough that challenges have been identified. However, valuable solutions exist that can be put into place to help ensure such challenges don't get in the way of a successful 1:1 learning implementation.

Here are five ideas essential to 1:1 learning success:

1) Student, not device, driven

  • Start with students and learning, Put them front and center. Then determine what devices and resources will best meet the need. By doing this we alleviate challenges that teachers may encounter later on around not having the proper tools for learning goals. For example, a math teacher may find it important to have a tablet and Geometer's Sketchpad for her class, while an English teacher who supports students in creating videos and PSAs might want a device and software that have heavy movie-making functionality.

2) Plan with (not for) educators

  • Teachers are an essential part of the deployment and implementation of 1:1 laptop programs. They should be part of the conversation from the start. Rather than having a one-to-one environment imposed upon them, have teachers apply for your technology budget dollars, share their plan, align it to goals and/or standards, and explain how they will measure success. When you do this you are empowering teachers to design instruction and use the tools and resources they feel will best meet the needs of their students.

3) Provide clear measurements and support for success

4) Focus on teachers who want to soar

  • Provide devices for all teachers, but don’t force a teacher to use technology with their students. They’ll resent it. Instead, start with the teachers who are enthusiastic about using technology, provide them with opportunities to conduct and attend professional development, and give them a platform and opportunities to celebrate and shine.

5) See students as partners

  • Teachers often fear using technology because their students know more about its use than they do. That is a feature, not a bug! Educators are masters of pedagogy and we need to accept and embrace that we have students who are experts in using technology. Have an expert chart in your room indicating which students are expert in using various apps, software, and technology. Bring them into the conversation about ways students can meet learning goals in life, at school, and at home. Learning is always improved when students see that teachers respect their knowledge.

What has your experience been? Have you had to confront such challenges? Would these ideas be useful in your place of work? Do you have additional ideas for addressing challenges?

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.