Implementing a 1:1 classroom? Here are some baby steps as you begin this endeavor.
You’ve either been hired at a 1:1 school, or your school is moving toward 1:1 status. I am finishing my second year at a 1:1 school, and I’ve been the new person to the crowd. Read on for my best tips.
Be open to experimentation and look for the benefits.
Google Classroom is a wonderful communication tool. When students are absent, they automatically check for work. If I am absent, I can leave students detailed notes in addition to the notes the sub receives. If I am home with a sick child, I can jump on Google Classroom for a few minutes and answer questions. Basically, technology increases communication, provides timestamps, and organizes classes.
Plus? Teachers don’t need to use technology exactly as I do. One of the benefits is that teachers can make technology fit their (and their students’) needs.
With this discovery of needs, you will make mistakes. I have spent time beautifully designing note taking sheets only for students to tell me that the pages don’t work for them. I have not provided enough guidance when I ask students to create projects. My expectations have been too high. I’m still learning how to manage digital learning, but it is all improving.
I guess… know that things will go wrong and be prepared to adjust because the benefits to learning digitally are there.
Steadily create digital activities.
When I learned that I would be implementing a 1:1 classroom, I wanted to jump in. I wanted to create and develop new lessons.
This thinking was impractical because I don’t have unlimited time. I like to think that I can do everything, but I’ve suffered teacher burn-out before, and I want to prevent that again. Another reason immediately developing digital activities would be impractical is that I don’t know what my students will need. Sure, after I create the basics, I can switch the goals and processes for all classes. However, my initial creations should have my students in mind.
For my sanity and for better teaching, I am steadily creating digital activities rather them batching them all at once.
Give yourself grace.
One day, a group of teachers stopped by my room to observe me. (My school takes turns observing teachers and reflecting.) Great. I have a digital activity. Students will be creating. I’m ready.
Only I’m not. I forgot the simplest of steps in the digital lesson – one step. I had to backtrack and eventually let one of the observing teachers help me. I thought about crying, but I realized that I was still new to this. Everything else worked! I missed one step, and I’ve never done it since.
We remember our teachers handing out papers, taking attendance, dividing students into groups, and on. Implementing a 1:1 classroom is new territory for most of us. Know that you will make mistakes, but remember that you are modeling for your students how to overcome a frustrating situation. Keep going, and don’t beat yourself up.
When I started at my current school, students already had iPads. The concept of a 1:1 school school was only new to me! I decided that I would experiment and be open to new ideas. I was not, however, going to criticize myself for not being completely digital on day one.
We teachers do that – have expectations and get down on ourselves. I feel that I am happier and optimistic about being 1:1 since I gave myself a break. This peace would be one my biggest piece of advice for teachers implementing a 1:1 classroom. All of my advice? Here:
- be open to experimentation and acknowledge the benefits
- steadily create digital activities
- give yourself grace
What advice would you add for readers who are implementing a 1:1 classroom? Do you have suggestions?