If I Taught at a 1-to-1 Laptop School

As more schools move to a 1-to-1 model, I’ve been thinking about how I’d operate in such an environment. My current computing opportunities are limited to a laptop cart I can take at 8am and must return at 3pm.

But what would my practice look like if I had a 1-to-1 environment?

First, there’s the tech that everyone would have on hand, every day. We could use Google Spreadsheets for massive laboratory data collection, Tracker Video Analysis software to analyze superhero movies (wait, there are other films out there?), and Evernote for online interactive notebooks. Oh, snap, then there are the PhET simulations!

Could I figure out a useful way to bring Twitter into the classroom? Would a class blog, maintained by the students, be helpful? I wonder how I could encourage the kids to experiment more.

Of course, it’s not about any particular tool on the laptops as much as it is general capabilities of laptops. Spreadsheets, videos, interactivity…

My norm could look more like this.

Second, there’s the chance to share with colleagues. I’ve already shared the love that is ExamView and Planbook with my colleagues. The entire math department at Clarkston is currently using one or the other. I can only imagine how much more sharing I would do if there were laptops in the kids’ hands every day.

I’d develop my pilot-then-share model of sharing. One of the biggest challenges with new tech in the classroom is that busy teachers often see it as adding work to their already busy schedules. That is a problem when the implementation is top-down and mandated. Pilot-then-share is different, it’s grassroots: 1) I learn about a new tool, 2) I implement it in my class and collect data, 3) mention it to a colleague using a hook I know they’ll appreciate, 4) share only when interest is indicated. This model works because it hits an individual teacher’s needs.

Now, when do the laptops arrive?

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2 thoughts on “If I Taught at a 1-to-1 Laptop School

  1. I love that you don’t say “If I taught at a 1-to-1 __(insert device here)___ Laptop School”! Fun post, thanks for sharing!

    • That’s because I’m pretty device-agnostic. Most of what I do is either available on Mac, PC, and increasingly, Linux. I’ve been playing with Evernote, which kicks my agnosticism (is that even a word?) up a few notches. Can’t wait to share what I’ve learned there.

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