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Why One-to-One Programs Stagnate Despite Heavy Investment

Why One-to-One Programs Stagnate Despite Heavy Investment

Tom Daccord, director of EdTech Teacher, spoke to eSchoolNews about his experiences working with schools that have invested into one-to-one technology initiatives without tangible success and provides tips on how schools can avoid this kind of stagnation.

Daccord said in many of his conversations with schools implementing one-to-one initiatives, where all students and teacher have their own device for use, "school administrators have categorized their one-to-one program as 'stagnating' and that they face continued resistance from a significant number of teachers. Yet, at first glance, the administrators haveinitiatives provided everything the faculty needs for success."

Certainly, Daccord says these schools are not facing the typical initial problems that come with implementing one-to-one initiatives.

Every student and teacher has access to a device, the first challenge to such a program because of the cost and also the lengthy process of selecting what device to go with. The school has a stable wi-fi network capable of hosting all of the devices and most even have instructional technology specialists there to help facilitate integration for teachers.

So what's missing?

"At the outset, I typically ask a series of questions: 'Why did you decide to go one-to-one?' 'How does technology integration align with the school’s vision of meaningful and purposeful learning?' 'How is learning supposed to be different as a result of a one-to-one program?'" Daccord said.

And despite all of the investment and preparation, administrators in schools with these stalling programs cannot easily answer these questions. In other words, there was never a purpose or a goal to work towards.

"From the outside, it often seems crazy that schools make major technology purchases with no clear plans for how learning should change. We’ve found, however, that there are so many details in technology planning—acquisition, security, sustainability, teacher training, parent education, and so on—that many schools lose track of the most important issues. To paraphrase educator/speaker Dan Meyer: 'If iPads/Chromebooks/laptops are the answer, what was the question?'"

When teachers realize there has been no defining purpose or instructional goals for the increase in tech, they often start to question the initiative altogether and toss it the wayside.

"One interesting paradox is that faculty at one-to-one schools often praise administrators for the autonomy teachers enjoy in designing and implementing tech-infused lessons, yet at the same time criticize administrators for a lack of direction and leadership," Daccord said, according to the article.

The first step in avoiding stagnation, then, is to work technology initiatives around "a focused pedagogical vision, such as project-based learning, differentiated instruction, and digital citizenship," Daccord said.

"It’s hard to move a faculty along if teachers are left to their own devices (pardon the pun) and there is no broad consensus on the purpose and implementation of a program. A 'let’s try this' or 'it’s all up to the teachers' environment is not a recipe for success. As one teacher recently opined: 'Let’s try this’ is not leadership.'"

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

08/11/2015

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