These are my notes from Shawn Massey and Wynn Draper-Bryant’s presentation, “Classroom Basics for 1:1 Computing” at the One to One Institute‘s conference on November 10, 2009 conference in Chicago, Illinois. MY THOUGHTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. I am recording this session and hope to share it as a podcast later. Shawn and Wynn are with Flint Community Schools in Michigan.

We have been implementing 1:1 for almost eight years now

Wynn has been teaching for 36 years

Shawn was project director for the Flint Community Schools “Freedom to Learn Project”
– certified 1:1 digital coach
– instructional tech coordinator
– MACUL board of directors
– classroom teacher

What is 1:1 Computing (according to the 1:1 Institute website)
– 1:1 learning provides every student and teacher accessed to his…

What does the research show? (Deborah Lowther and others at the Univ of Memphis)
– increase of teacher as facilitator
– increase of student use of laptops as a learning tool
– increase in high academically focused class time
– increase in student independent inquiry and research

S. Lowthian: “Curriculum is driving the 1:1 initiative. It’s not about the computers. It’s about what, how, and how well the students are learning.”

Plan with the “big picture” in mind
– curriculum
– district policies and rules (Internet access, take home policy)
– parent permission
– student acceptance of responsibility
– classroom configurations
– rules for operation and reasonable consequences

Curriculum first and foremost
– teachers must know the curriculum
– lesson planning changes over time
— paper assignments done on computers
— collaborative, creative deep knowledge

Computers are learning tools
– games must be educational and associated with curriculum
– networking needs to be curriculum centered

Story of a student who was asked to find a picture of a “marsh” to go along with the definition and asked, “Is this really what a marsh looks like?”
– students were definitely making connections and learning things they would have been able to lear

Get laptops out, get the students using them
If you keep moving forward, you will get to the place you want to be with the students collaborating and seeking creative, deep knowledge

At the start, many teachers were fearful saying “the kids know so much about these computers, more than I do”
– they do know a lot, but it is not necessarily natural for students to think of the computer as a learning tool

If my kids do have free time, I make sure the games they play are curriculum focused, the networking they do relates to classroom tasks

quotation from student, Precious: “Using laptops helps me pay more attention.”

Classroom culture certainly changed
– rules need to be specific to laptops
– getting
– using
– storing
– battery changes
– classwork: where to save, how to turn in, how to get feedback, what software to use, etc.

I have found I need to start out with these rules, if I am picky with these we can go further and students can get more creative with their assignments

Our buildings are REALLY old, very limited electricity outlets, etc
– you really need to think about your culture, your community, what norms you need to set

battery changes: had to come up with an on the fly solution for students to go over to a battery cart, get a new one, swap out their battery without disrupting the rest of the class, etc.

These foundations and norms are essential to help your students learn to function independently and functionally in the classroom
– without these norms the classroom doesn’t just LOOK chaotic, it IS chaotic

Teaching students WHERE to save their work WHERE they want it to be is really key
– issues with students accidentally moving folders into other folders is a real problem


I don’t teach the kids ALL the skills they need and use
– I may do a demonstration as we do the activity together
– then students are on their own, but they know they can get help from each other or from me once the lesson begins

It really depends on your classroom and your school
– we’ve had a lot of schools close in our district
– many of our students haven’t quite “felt at home” in school
– so for us, structuring the learning environment has been very important

classroom configurations
– teacher centered
– see all screens
– teach computer skills and programs as needed
– more student centered
– students working in groups, collaborating

There is no set time when this happens as a shift to more student-centered work
– depends on the group of kids in the room as well

Student quotation from Jonathan: “My laptop helps me work faster and store my work. I’m more organized.”

Policies are dynamic and change as needed
– allow everyone to be successful
– celebrate creative problem solving
– ISD controls our internet access
– how to get access
– just in case: hardware accidents, accidental inappropriate Internet sites

Think of these policies actually more as practices (policies are adapted by the board – the fewer policies that come from the board, the better we can implement our project flexibility as we need)

You don’t necessarily have to tell everyone far and wide when a problem is encountered and solved, but celebrate together when problems are overcome

When you get to a website where you shouldn’t be, put your screen down partway so others cannot see where you’ve gone, and ask for teacher assistance
– that way the teacher can let our tech people know about the site (to block it)

think about how you want information to flow
– how you want to address the issues which will come up
– the more you can plan before you start the better, but realize no matter how well you plan you’ll need to make changes and be flexible as you progress

Student quotation from Bonnie: “You can find more information, so you can learn much better”

At the time this photo was taken we had textbooks that were over 10 years old
– I didn’t have resources for the students for a lot of what I was expected to teach
– with the laptops the students had much greater access to the information they needed, students could choose access means

What can you expect?
– ignite interest: authentic assignments, providing choices
– collaboration: no boundaries
– cooperative learning: important jobs

technology allows expertise in so many ways for those cooperative learning assignments (no more: “I’m the pencil collector” jobs)

kids love the opportunity to have choices about how they demonstrate their knowledge and learning

Student quotation from Thomas: “Using the laptops helps me because it’s fun and I don’t like to write a lot. It doesn’t seem like writing.”
– that student hated to write in the traditional language arts classroom, but become prolific in the laptop classroom

– Resources: for assignments, for educational fun
– Ideas
– new found knowledge: off topic questions
– teaching: other students and the teacher

With laptops we make a list of off topic questions as we go along with our work, and when students get done with a particular assignment they can go tackle one of those questions
– then they go and find the answer to that question, come back and share that with the class later

truth be told: the students REALLY like it when I don’t know something and they can

Another student quotation: “My laptop helps me concentrate more on work and makes learning fun.”

What’s next
– allow yourself to succeed
– support problem solving
– keep policies simple and flexible
– keep moving forward and evolving from traditional teacher-centered learning to dynamic student-centered learning

Take home issues and procedures crafted with parents
– we came up with orientation sessions with parents and flexible times, day and night, so all parents were aware (3.5 hour training)
– we had another 3.5 hour training that parents had to attend to bring the laptop home for their children
– lots of care and feeding” help with laptops
– lots of our students are being raised by single parents, guardians, others
– we had to let parents identify an authorized person who was authorized to take a laptop home
– right now we do NOT have a lot of parents taking laptops home
– that has to do with many things: more computers and access at home, lots of school closings
– we initially had lots of parents come to these meetings, come take these laptops home

7.5 years ago we didn’t have content filtering on the laptops, but parents DID have to sign a waiver because they had to be the filter at home, an active participant in their child’s learning

the power of learning with parents and kids
– not a lot of damage on laptops in the initial years
– had celebrations with students, ribbon cutting, community involved: children and parents knew
– once we had 1 laptop stolen, it was as if the world crashed on us
– one of our para-professionals was so committed, she canvassed the community, talked about “how dare someone” take this from our children
– that person found the laptop and brought it back to the school
– the community “owned” these laptops and were stakeholders
– we are now making this work on 6-7 year old devices/laptops
– very old building infrastructure
– our lead teachers have become troubleshooters and technicians in many respects

We did “dine and dialog” meetings with our partner universities and our art institutes
– at the heart of this was networking, table-toppers and parents could discuss issues

always we celebrate: I start with a party and I end with a party
– we had a dialog, and we showcased student and teacher work

For a lot of teachers, if there is some incentive to taking the time to pull a showcase together, all the better
– it involves extra time
– there was always some fun incentive to it
– I received my presentation mouse several years ago when I was willing to go the extra mile to share ideas
– it was even exciting to have my name drawn for a big prizes: we had drawings for data projectors, electronic white boards, and also small nuggets: flash drives, tshirts, and more
– people
– we all know that food motivates teachers: “dine and dialog” was a good incentive

Our program started with grades 4-6, then 7-8, now we also have 9-12 program
– this is in 13 buildings, not across the entire district
– we have a couple middle schools that have specific teams, and one 9-12 academy
– since we’ve had to close buildings, move teachers and students, we’ve been flexible

We are looking for every grant we can get
– thus far we have been financed from outside grants, not significant funding from TitleIID (TitileIID has paid for things like batteries, smaller expense needs)

Once we get through our financial difficulties, I expect the district to find ways to help us continue to grow this program

We certainly don’t have all of the answers but are willing to share!

be willing to put yourself out as a demonstration site or a model

Mrs. D.B. – “If you take away my laptops, I’ll have to retire. I can’t imagine going back to the ‘old way’ of teaching and learning.”

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