As more schools become focused on creating 21st–century learning environments, more schools are beginning to shift to digital teaching models such as 1:1 classrooms. 1:1 refers to one computer per one student. The classroom model applies to schools or districts that provide all students with their own tablet, laptop or other mobile devices.
There are many reasons why 1:1 can be an effective classroom model for teaching. Some reasons include, ease of differentiating lessons, collaboration and increased student engagement.
However, implementing new technology into a classroom doesn’t guarantee improved learning results.
Some of the biggest challenges that schools face when shifting to 1:1 include unprepared teachers due lack of exposure to ideas that surround the educational technology space, and an inadequate amount of professional development in effective teaching strategies using technology.
Experts suggest that for a 1:1 program to be successful there must be an understanding that it is not just about the newly adapted technology. It’s about the methods that are to be practiced, modeled and collaborated to ensure technology is properly applied by having and following a set plan in place to implement.
Darryl Vidal, author of Next Practices: An Executive Guide for Education Decision Makers stated, “We like to think of 1:1 as one teacher to one student – which places the focus on using the technology to facilitate real-time, or close to real-time, interaction between teacher and student.”
If you’re shifting from a traditional classroom to 1:1, it is important to know that this new format is not always easy and could prove more challenging than the traditional setting you’re used to. But not to worry! Here are 5 tips for effective teaching when shifting from traditional to 1:1
1. Create a professional learning network (PLN)
Twitter Cheat Sheet for Educators is a great place to start. Connect with educators around the world via educator chat groups, where educators share their knowledge and resources using hashtags for different topics.
2. Make Learning Student Owned
Give students choice as they create projects and artifacts to “showcase what they know” as it relates to your curriculum and standards. It’s is a great way to make learning relevant and engaging.
3. Compile a List of “Go-To” Apps
Compile a list of go-to Apps that support your curriculum. Here are a few to get you started.
4. Implement Workflow for learning
Find some tools to create accountability and workflow as you shift to a 1:1 classroom. A good tool to consider is gClass folders to set up a Google workflow on an iPad. It allows you to create class folders with permissions and sharing settings. Google workflow with gClass folders automatically does the following:
- Creates and distributes student work assignment folders with share settings
- Create and share class resource folders
- Organizes student work in Google Drive
- Create framework for paperless workflow
- Core apps share either to Google Drive or publish to YouTube
See this YouTube video on how to set up gClass folders.
5. Let Your Students Be Teachers
Your students may know more about an iPad or mobile device than you. They can sometimes be the best teachers. Allow for students to share with the class tips on how to use apps and share their work and standard based projects. Here are some other ideas for allowing your students to teach and own their learning:
- Take an app you use frequently in the classroom, have your students show the class one feature that they like the most.
- Have an app party where students share their favorite apps.
- Produce an iBook where your current students give advice and create tutorials for incoming students.
- If you catch a student doing something cool with mobile technology in class, allow the student to get up and teach the class a lesson.
Remember, when shifting from a traditional classroom to a 1:1 model be creative and continue to develop professionally. You’re bound to run into challenges along the way, but with the right methods and strategies it can provide an even greater reward for your students. So don’t just focus on learning the new technology, but learn to teach effectively using technology.