An Excellent New Year – Going 1:1

ENJOY 2012! – Excellent New Journey Of the Year!

It’s enough for you to do it once for a few men to remember you. But if you do it year after year, then many people remember you and they tell it to their children, and their children and grandchildren remember and, if it concerns books, they can read them. And if it’s good enough, it will last as long as there are human beings.  ~Ernest Hemingway

Week 19 – Let’s Get this Party Started!


In my mind, this is the week of fireworks, balloons, confetti and noisemakers!  We’ve waited a long time for this week to come to Benton High School.  This is the week our staff and students have been talking about for years – we are going ONE to ONE.  One laptop for each student changes learning.  It changes what we learn, how we learn, and why we learn.  We have had to deal with so many changes that I don’t know where to start to remind you of how far we’ve come.

We know preparing to go one to one has changed us…think back to where we were five years ago.  Wireless Internet throughout our building?  And now you are frustrated when you can’t get access wherever and whenever you want it!  Who would have guessed?  Using blogs and twitter to communicate to your students?  Did you ever think you would expect to use social media to reach your classes?   I know you have all been battling for years now as our laptop usage increased.  Giving each student a device will make that so much better. But it will also introduce a myriad of other issues we must not be ready to tackle.

We have a few MAJOR considerations and decisions to make in this first semester.  I realize that one of them has been made for us by default – printers.  Students will no longer print to our printers.  How does this change your teaching?  How does this change what you have turned in to you?  How does this change what and how you grade?  Have you thought through the glory and dark side of Air Drop? How about Google Collections?  If you haven’t thought much about that since our JEPD a few weeks ago, check out Ryan J’s screencast showing benefits and tips to getting that going in your classes (it’s one amazing tool if you didn’t know that already).

Another consideration is going to have to be class accountability.  If a student has a laptop and can do all the work you do at home, why does he need to come to see you in class?  That will be the great debate of the semester.  We must seriously consider the implications of this situation.  Attendance is not only required by our district but also by DESE.  We must make it not only necessary for a grade, but when it come to face to face learning, we must make that experience invaluable – one that can not be “made up” on a worksheet.  The thinking and conversation that comes from being together with other learners must be rich and rewarding.  How will this new challenge change what you do pedagogically?

One final consideration is classroom management.  With every student now having access to a computer all day, every minute – it will change what you do in your class as well as what you AND the student think you can do.  Are you ready for that?  Do you have a plan in mind when you want students to put away their laptops?  How about when you want to pause and have them pay strict attention to what you share?  How about when the kids are just working on a project?  How do you monitor where they are on-line?  Are they safe?  Are YOU safe?  Hopefully, you have already worked through all these issues.  It’s not like we haven’t been working with laptops in classrooms for five years already – we have!  But more than ever, we must be vigilant to what students are accessing.  We must teach them to be safe.  Don’t skip this part in every lesson you give in your classroom.  Remind students of the implications of a digital footprint.  Show them your footprint so they can follow a good role model.  And make it a joyful step into 2012!

~ Excellence is a journey not a destination. ~

Photos available under Creative Commons on Flikr: Parade Balloons Salt Lake City, Utah by Pink Sherbet Photography; Fireworks in Taipei…by Fishtail@Taipei’s photostream; Confetti by smcgee; 1/365 Happy 2009! by foreverdigital.  Project Connect by Melissa Corey for SJSD.