Before Going 1:1
If 1:1 is on the horizon for your grade or school, there are a few things you can try this year in order to get ready and used to working in a 1:1 classroom. The biggest difference between 1:1 and what currently exists at secondary schools is Shakopee is the level of access. Based on my experience teaching 7th grade and coaching high school athletes, a majority of students have a device in their pocket with the ability to do a lot of interactive and engaging activities. Using cell phones, you can makeQR code scavenger hunts, research and find alternative sources, have abackchannel discussion during a debate using Todays Meet, use phones as clickers to respond to quizzes using Socrative or Kahoot, or make stations in your room with links to digital media that kids can work on at their own pace. The possibilities are endless!
While teaching using cell phones, you’ll get first-hand experience with classroom management in a 1:1 classroom. Students will be tempted to toy around with their devices. Students might get off-task. Have a clear plan for when and how devices will be used in your class. Teaching students these procedures for technology usage is essential. While they might be masters of using technology, using it in an educational settings is something that needs to be modeled and explained. So be patient with your students and give it shot!
I will also acknowledge that sometimes we teach in a situation where we do not have enough devices for making the above activities equitable. There are a few options out there for the one device classroom. Plickers is a website and an app that lets you use one iPhone or iPad, hand each student a QR code, and scan their responses to get great formative data. When I taught 7th grade, I formed groups where each group had only one device and then students had to work together to accomplish their goal.
Another strategy you may want to pursue is using the computer lab or chromebook carts, if available. Create a project for a unit of study that would be just as to implement in a 1:1 classroom. Plan a project for a unit where students are in charge of researching the content they need to learn about. Give them the learning objectives and/or a rubric and give them the freedom to teach themselves. Once they are done researching, have them create a product they will present to you, the class, or the Internet at large. When my students were learning about the Middle East and current events going on there, I gave students the option of studying the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, or an Arab Spring Revolution. They then created an interactive timeline using dipity.com to showcase their research.
Utilizing the technology around you will help you and your students adjust to a 1:1 environment. Request a DLC meeting to help plan out a lesson today!