1:1 initiatives are a great way to increase access to technology to drive student success in and out of the classroom. However, as with most technology solutions, it’s more than just buying the computers and tablets and handing them to kids. Use our tried and true tips to ensure that your 1:1 initiative succeeds.
1) Find out if your school is set up for Google Classroom
One of the best tools for 1:1 education is Google Classroom. It has all the wonders of Google Docs and Google Forms integrated into the program, but it’s specifically meant to simplify teaching! You can assign individual assignments, see who has viewed or completed the assignments, grade projects, and submit feedback - all in one platform.
2) Gradually release your tech tools
Don’t bite off more than you can chew! It takes 4-6 weeks of consistent use of a new tech tool for students to be able to self-direct their use of the device. Post clear procedures and rules and make sure to take the time to train your students on proper use of the device in the first semester of the initiative.
From the types of computers to the software tools you use in your lesson, there are millions of options for 1:1 implementation. Maybe you are trying to reframe your teaching around technology, or maybe your want to plug technology into your existing lessons; either way, there are some great tools out there that can help you get started:
- Schoology (Learning Management System)
- Mastery Connect (Assessment resource and tracking system)
- Socrative (Formative assessment tool)
- Front Row (Individualize Math and ELA resources)
- Remind (School communication tool)
- Slack (Messaging tool)
- Kahoot (Formative assessment tool)
- Canva (Visual design tool-- great for making infographics and visuals!)
- Seesaw (Digital portfolio tool)
- Haiku Learning (Learning Management System)
- Classcraft (Make your class into a game-- literally!)
- Trello (Project management tool)
- Evernote (file storage and organization)
- Screenflow (screencasting tool-- works for all Apple devices!)
- MobyMax (ELA and Math CCSS curriculum and activities)
- Class Dojo (Classroom management system)
- Class Flow (Interactive lesson tool)
- Educreations (Interactive whiteboard and recording tool)
- Prezi (Online presentation tool)
As we all do, your students will forget their username and passwords. We suggest creating a system to hold students’ log-in information in a secure place. This can be as simple as a binder with all the usernames and passwords for each program or a student record page that they are in charge of keeping track of and updating.
Parents are a tremendous asset for supporting 1:1 projects! Host a parent night to explain the 1:1 initiative and let them experience a 1:1 class period. By hosting an event like this, many parents will be more supportive of technology initiatives and will be able to help students at home with class projects using tech tools. By building parent digital literacy and understanding of technology, student understanding will be reinforced in and out of the classroom.
Using software like Educreation, Google Hangouts, or video screencast software on your PC or Mac, we suggest recording instructions with voice overs. This way if a student misses a day, or if they are just in need of additional support, they can review the directions on their own. This also teaches students to be more self-sufficient and look for resources if they are housed on your LMS or classroom website/blog.
Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to handle all the tech issues by yourself. Use your best resource - your students! They are digital natives and can often pick up on tech solutions much more quickly than we can. Create your own classroom or grade level tech team to help classmates, troubleshoot, and lead small groups.
You should check in and reassess technology at least once a semester. Screens crack, devices get lost or are plagued with viruses. Consistent maintenance plans ensure that all students have working devices while building in accountability structures for your students.
Device management systems are key to successfully implementing a 1:1 program; these programs reduce issues with updates and devices going missing. Chromebooks certainly have the edge here, since you can use a Google Administrative account to manage your devices and set restrictions. Other PCs and Macs require the purchase of additional software, such as AirWatch.
Educational technology is constantly evolving and there is no “right” answer as to which tools are best for each school. Having a network (virtual or in-person) is a great way to keep you up to date. We suggest creating a structured time every month to come together with your colleagues to share best practices and troubleshoot.
We hope these tips help you get started on your 1:1 initiative. For more information on how we can help get your students started coding on their devices, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.