One-to-one integration the continued journey
Following my attendance at the ASB Unplugged 2012 conference in Mumbai I have started to reflect on how my own school’s one-to-one program needs to continue to work towards true integration of technology.
Dr. Damien Bebell in his hands-on learning institute session, which I attended on the morning of Friday 24th February considered the importance of educational measurement and evaluation in the development and sustainability of any educational technology initiative or school reform. At my school it is still unclear to me as to what are underlying motivations for our one-to-one program. I myself can eulogise over the impact of greater connectivity and the provision for a wide range of teaching and learning opportunities. Yet I also know that this one-to-one program is so tantalising because it reflects an expected future for the students we have. Yet that still does not clearly identify the core objectives, and in turn allow us to measure our success in the development of our students against these objectives. So moving forward the identification of such objectives and the development of an annual school survey system which allows the school to measure progression is vital. The techniques/ styles presented by Dr. Bebell reflected the need to really consider what your needs are from such surveys and to carefully consider the needs of the audience to guarantee a high percentage of involved responses.
Within the above mentioned measurement session a back channel conversation developed with two staff members from UWC in Singapore about effective ways to share best practice. My school has two full-time staff members whose job is to support the teaching and learning in a one-to-one environment. They provide additional support to teachers in the classroom and also run sessions sharing useful tools. However, beyond these two members of staff there is not a true forum for sharing best (or unsuccessful) practice. For that reason teachers are not learning from their peers and students are not exposed to being set up to transfer skills from subject to subject. Now UWC have a digital literacy blog which empowers teachers to share their experiences. The structure allows teachers to easily follow blog posts from all or just from a specific teaching section, for instance middle school. In reviewing examples it is apparent that this has become not only a forum for best practice or an honest reflection on less than successful attempts. The site also provides teachers with a starting point for considered dialogue on related issues – for example the post on the association between violence and video games. So I believe that the construction of such a blog for teachers at my school would better integrate effective digital teaching and learning.
Although the above mentioned blog would produce an interesting conversation starting point it would not provide the opportunity for teachers to consider issues in a more in depth but collaborative manner. For this reason process modeled by the ASB research and development teams in the “Power of the journey” sessions held throughout the morning of Thursday 23rd February would appear to be another element which I would like to introduce at my school. Teams formed around a number of topics had the opportunity to complete in depth research with the goal of presenting an informed opinion on future use. Without a required implementation outcome it appeared to provide an opportunity for honest discussion. Whilst the need to present findings provided a motivational timeline as did an influential audience that the teams felt would respond to the suggestions made. Having seen a number of research and development team members presenting in more detail about how they are already using elements of their research in their classes it would also seem that the process also accelerates implementation if taken on.
So in conclusion, to improve the integration of the one-to-one program in my school I would like to see:
- The identification of the key objectives of our one-to-one program
- An annual questionnaire designed to measure how well the objectives are being achieved
- A digital literacy blog to share best practice between teachers
- The construction of research and development team which can look into selected aspects of educational development
- The R&D process to have a clear influential audience that are required to act on the findings
I hope my own continued conversations at school will allow the implementation of these ideas.