Today I had the good fortune to attend the Vermont 1:1 School Conference hosted by Vita-Learn (https://sites.google.com/a/vita-learn.org/one2one/home). The day's work was broken into three main strands:
Before I forget to mention, tweets for the conference can be found at #vt1to1. A colleague and I chose to stay with planning, as our school is just beginning what is almost certainly a loooooooong journey! As the morning progressed and we discussed ideas, challenges and questions with educators from other schools, several main ideas/points/questions arose for me that I'll be wrestling with through this process:
- Where do we start? A great resource was shared with us during the conference. It can be found at http://education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms/documents/strategy/pdf/scbyte-21steps.pdf This 21 step guide looks like a great template for teams to at least start the work of establishing a 1:1 initiative in their school. We made plans to begin with this when we share our experience with the rest of the team.
- What have other schools done? Several schools in Vermont have started or are established in their 1:1 initiatives and have shared their work online. Burlington School District (VT) shared resources at https://sites.google.com/a/bsdvt.org/one-to-one/home and Enosburg Falls High School also created a site for their 1:1 iPad work at https://sites.google.com/a/ehornets.org/efhs/ipad-info. I apologize for the written out links…my technology is ironically challenging me this evening!
- How do we successfully involve stakeholders in the conversation(s)? At one of our groups in the morning we had a very insightful conversation about how the venues for community connections is shifting. Forums and coffee chats aren't drawing in as many families and community members. People are working, busy or not sure how to engage at that level. We talked a lot about how to find different ways to reach folks…such as video sharing, speaking before class events, etc. Research and information provided to community members can be helpful as well. For example, the information provided at http://schoolmodernizationinitiative.wordpress.com/the_initiative/statistics/ is helpful in showing relevant information to Vermonters about technology work in the state.
- How do we create confidence in all as we move forward? I lost count of how many times the words professional development were used around the tables. Not only do teachers need the devices well ahead of students, professional development opportunities need to be increased and be substantially improved for 1:1 initiatives to flourish. But it's not only the teachers, parents will need education on the devices, their purpose and care. It's a hugely communal effort that will require investment and rock star planning. That's both exciting and intimidating.
This conference raised a lot of questions for me, but also heightened my awareness to the depth and scope of a 1:1 initiative. I'm excited to share what we've learned with our local tech team, teachers and community. It was appreciated by many when schools that were doing this work shared their research, resources and experiences. That will definitely be a key part of the conversation with our team as we move forward, making sure that we share each step and fall as we move forward.