I am amazed at how much the process of going 1:1 has felt like my like first year teaching but not for the reason you're thinking. You see, aside from taking on 7th grade math students in Lafayette, IN that year, my wife and I also had our first son. There are amazing similarities between starting a family and bringing innovation into the classroom.
There's a reason why What to Expect When Expecting (opens in new tab) has sold millions of copies! People want to learn from other people what it's like to have a baby. We would rather learn from the successes and failures of others to help us maximize our chances at success. This is why, if you are expecting to go 1:1, BYOD, or some hybrid of the two then you've got to do your homework.
Sharing the News
When you tell people you're pregnant, they always ask the same two questions. Are you having a boy or a girl? When are you due? In other words, what device(s) are you going with? When is your rollout? Unlike having a baby, these questions don't answer themselves. Your school has to figure out what device(s) you are going to adopt and/or if you’re going BYOD. Then you've got to decide what grade level(s) and when this will start.
Some of your closest friends/relatives might also be brave enough to ask you, "Why are you having a kid?" This is one question you will absolutely be asked that question if you are going 1:1 in any capacity. Why? Knowing the answer to this question is perhaps the most important part of your initiative.
Here is my answer to that question:
For us, leveling the playing field between those with access to technology and those without access by going 1:1 allows us to focus on what's really important, which is the learning that takes place on a daily basis in and out of our classrooms. I am trying to help our students learn how to learn to prepare them for their future. A big part of that in today's society is centered around technology. We are interested in providing our students opportunities to work with the tools and on skills they need in order to pursue their dreams. Having a technology rich classroom is one way we give our students what they need to be successful learners.
Preparing the House
No house is built "babyproof". Families spend time and money making sure the house is ready for the new arrival. They buy and install all the proper safety equipment, they pick out a stroller and a carseat. Likewise, one of the most overlooked and under-talked about parts in moving to a technology rich environment is the infrastructure of a building. This includes, but is not limited to, looking at the wifi in terms of coverage and density, filtering practices, staffing of the IT department, and how devices will be dealt with if/when they are broken.
The Cost of the Baby
Of course, there are so many other expenses to consider besides prepping the house. There are doctor bills, clothes, furniture, food, diapers, and more. There are other expenses that pop up here and there that add up before you know it. This is always more true when you’re having your first kid. When adding on mobile learning devices in your school, the school system must consider all of the cost, both short and long term. There is the cost of the device, if you’re providing one, insurance, bags, charging carts, extra chargers, professional development, and more.
Nothing truly prepares you for parenthood.
That’s the reality that every parent faces when you bring your first child home. No amount of reading, classes, or hours spent babysitting truly prepares you having your first kid. This is the lesson that I’ve learned more than anything else since going 1:1 in my school district. When that first kid comes home and the smallest thing doesn’t fit what you’ve read in a book or heard in a class, then panic almost always immediately overcomes you. Let your child get his/her first fever and all of the sudden you begin to run through a series of questions, “Do I call the doctor?” “Do we need to go to the emergency room?” “What would my mom do?” “Is this normal?”
The last question is really the one we are most concerned about. Is what I am experiencing normal? I have spent a great deal of my time helping our teachers, students, administrators, and families see that the things we are experiencing in this first month since going 1:1 is perfectly normal.
There is so much more I feel like I could say on the matter but this is a good start. But let me ask you, does this analogy make sense? How else is going 1:1/BYOD like having a baby? What’s your one piece of advice you’d give a school system looking at going 1:1/BYOD?
ross-posted at www.educationdreamer.com
Brett Clark is an elearning coach for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. He talks about tech tools on the Flipped Learning Network's weekly podcast. He is also a regular guest on the TeacherCast podcast and a blogger for TeacherCast.net. Read more at www.educationdreamer.com.