Implementing a Successful 1:1 Mobile Learning Program

As a result of our work, our students are scoring significantly higher on standardized tests than their peers around the district.
Publish date:
Social count:
As a result of our work, our students are scoring significantly higher on standardized tests than their peers around the district.

As teachers in the West Allis West Milwaukee School District, we knew education needed to evolve because our students — and the world that we are preparing them for — is changing so rapidly. In fact, the need was so great that it was no longer enough for us to think outside the box. We needed to build a completely new one.

Born from a new way of thinking about our students and their needs was the Next Generation Learning Community (NxGLC), a personalized approach to learning. Since 2010, we have created a one-to-one mobile learning environment that is customizable to meet each student’s individual needs. The initiative engages today’s learners in a rigorous curriculum that is paced to individual learning needs and tailored to the specific interests and learning styles of our students.

As a result of our work, our students are scoring significantly higher on standardized tests than their peers around the district. In the first year, NxGLC students scored 12 percent higher in reading and 13 percent higher in math. Second year students scored 34 percent higher in reading and 29 percent higher in math. We are going into the third year of our program and the response from parents continues to be overwhelming. Each year, we have a waiting list of students whose parents want them to participate in this cutting-edge learning opportunity that puts their child’s needs, interests, and learning styles at the center.

Lessons we’ve learned

Implementing a successful mobile learning program isn’t easy. So, if I had to impart just four pieces of wisdom on my fellow educators, this would be it:

1. Ongoing communication is key.

Talk to parents. Mobile technology is just as much (if not more) part of students’ lives when they are home. Talk to other educators. Learn from their struggles and successes.

2. Don’t try to do it all at once.

Work on implementing one piece of the puzzle at a time. And believe me, no one ever has all the answers. In our model, teachers and students are learning alongside each other.

3. Provide professional development.

Don’t expect your staff to be able to do “everything.” Help them along the way.

4. Talk to the students.

They know what works well with technology and what does not. Give them a voice to be heard.

None of this would be possible without fast, reliable access to the internet. Having the right connection is even more critical to today’s learning environment than a chalkboard or physical books. We are working with AT&T to make sure that we have the bandwidth we need to make these initiatives a reality.

cross-posted at

Stacey Lange is the Academic Dean at Walker Elementary School. She has written this guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.



Image placeholder title

Getting Ready To Go 1:1 FAQ

As a school district that has implemented a 1:1 initiative where every student is provided an iPad, we get frequent inquiries from other communities looking to begin similar programs.

Realizing the Potential of Mobile Learning

The recently released "Turning on Mobile Learning in North America" paper is one of a series of papers by UNESCO and provides a survey of mobile learning initiatives in North American schools and school districts. As the abstract states, "The widespread use of mobile technologies around the world represents a significant opportunity in education. While mobile learning – learning with mobile technologies and devices – is still in the early stages of development, many teachers and students in North America are beginning to realize its potential for enhancing teaching and learning. Mobile learning involves more than merely incorporating new technology into current pedagogical strategies; it requires an instructional paradigm shift that promises to fundamentally change the way students learn. The move toward mobile learning is driven by increasingly high demands for student achievement and an understanding of the digital skills students need to compete in the twenty-first century global economy." Read full paper. If your school or district is starting a mobile initiative, the Atomic Mobilize solution can help, contact Atomic Learning today for more information.