Sunday, December 6, 2009

1:1 A Wise Choice?

There has been a lot of talk everywhere lately about the 1:1 laptop program. Yesterday I discovered that my state actually has a 1:1 plan in place which surprised me. I was not aware that there was a plan to go this route statewide. This made me want to take a closer look and I found that there are several counties in NC that have either funded the program themselves or received direct help from funding through the state to pilot the program. The counties implementing this program into their school seem to be benefiting from it, stating more student engagement and stronger evidence of curriculum integration.

Wanting to know more, I found a study conducted at the Denver School of Science and Technology that provided some interesting data. Positively, they found that students agreed having laptops helped them to work together on projects, while teachers found that the laptops gave them more time for individualized instruction. On the flip side, teachers commented that they had to reprimand students at least once per class period for being off task on the laptops (which, in my opinion is not too bad).

All this in mind, there is one huge factor in initiating a 1:1 program that needs to be mentioned which, in my opinion could make or break your data.....quality professional development. I'm very well aware that there are schools out there with teachers that are not trained well enough to know how to implement a 1:1 program in their classroom. I'm also aware that there are schools all over that have not figured in an ongoing, quality PD program for the teachers. In our state, we have a fantastic thing going for us, the PLC model. Training can come from a specialized consultant and then filter out through the schools with individualized attention through the Professional Learning Communities in place. Regardless of how it is done, this is not something that can be overlooked and in the best case scenario, it needs to extend to every person involved from teachers to students to administration to parents.

I have taught in classes where every student has had a computer and see a definite benefit to the students and the teacher using this method. I truly believe that, if implemented effectively, the 1:1 implementation can be successful and worthwhile. I encourage you to share what your school is doing. Please let me know by leaving a comment.


  1. This is where we want to head at our school - at the elementary level! We're a school that truly is working to implement technology in our daily lessons not because it's the trendy thing to do, but because we see the value in the tools for both teachers and students. We hope to get laptops or netbooks in the hands of all out 3rd-5th graders soon, and this will help with anytime anyplace learning - and almost real time access to MULTIPLE sources/resources and many creative response resources. Yes, it help differentiate instruction, and used properly, gives students choice. There's value in this. Yes it can be a support headache, and can be another element teachers have to manage, but the question you have to ask is if it is worth it in the long run. To me - we can't afford our students to be without it. It allows them to look at topics/lesson content and quickly gather research or information, and analyze and evaluate the information. They can also quicly respond back to teachers using these tools as well for fast and effective assessment. This makes them problem solvers. Aren't these the skills we need to be teaching our students for the uncertain futures they will face? To me, these are thinking skills that make them marketable no matter what field they choose for their careers.
    I totally agree that quality staff development must be a MAJOR piece of the puzzle. I read a Jeff Utecht blog post that asked if teachers could function well without their computers. His point is that we see value in these tools for teachers, so his question (and mine) is why don't we see the value in making this accessible to students.
    Please share the NC resources you found for 1 to1 via a link. Interesting how people on the front lines in our business learn we already have plans only by sharing with each other. ;>)THANKS!

  2. Oops,I meant to post that link and must have forgot. Here ya go!
    Thanks for the comment. I coudln't agree more.