The journey can be exciting and scary at the same time.

Flickr by Edge of Space

In December 2009, I used this photo in my Leadership and 1:1 Bus post and last year I used it with the Graded faculty to describe our journey to provide students with a relevant education for today and the future. This journey includes going 1:1 in August 2012. For me the photo conjures up excitement and fear. And while some people are adventurous enough to sit on top or hang on the side, others feel more comfortable inside. It doesn’t matter where one sits, the important thing is that we’re all together on the journey.

When is it exciting and often magical?  When our students are using technology for learning, creative and original thinking, communication and collaboration, research and information literacy and critical thinking and problem solving.

When is it a bit scary?  When we are uncertain of what is coming next or when we have to step outside our comfort zone to try something new.

We have so much to be proud because we have traveled so far in such a short amount of time. This year we have done the following to prepare for a full 1:1 rollout in August.

  • Support professional development at conferences by providing faculty with the opportunity to attend the Laptop Institute at Lausanne Collegiate and Unplugged at the American School of Bombay.
  • Provided all of our teachers and administrators with laptops so that we all get used to working anytime, anywhere.
  • Using digital tools to help us with our work and our learning. The idea is that we will experiment and figure out what works as we do the same in our classrooms.
  • Created PLCs around assessment in today’s digital environment.
  • Reviewed and redesigned our curriculum in science and English with a 21st century lens.
  • Encouraged students to bring in laptops to ease the transition for August.
  • Defined our Information Communication and Technology standards that will be integrated schoolwide next year.
  • Provided teachers with a full-time academic technology coordinator to support them with integrating technology and professional development.
  • Developed our acceptable use policy and LARK guidelines so that our community members can be responsible digital citizens.
  • Developed a digital toolkit that will provide us with some software standardization in our bring your own laptop environment.
  • Upgraded facilities so that we have electrical power throughout the campus.

We realize that the journey is not over yet. In reality, we’ve really only traveled a short distance. The key is that we are well on our way to transforming the learning experiences for our students.

Assessing your 1:1 Initiative: Sharing Teacher and Student Surveys from Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is cross posted at 1to1SchoolsNet

In November, I wrote about “Periodic Dipsticking” to assess a 1:1 initiative. Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is doing just that as they pilot a one to one laptop program in their sixth grade. The team used a variety of sources to develop teacher and student surveys to meet their needs and the data from these surveys will help them assess how the initiative is going and drive future planning. Hopefully these examples will provide you with ideas on how to assess your program.


Bebell, Damian. “Technology Promoting Student Excellence: An Investigation of the First Year of 1:1 Computing in New Hampshire Middle Schools.” Thesis. Boston College, 2005

Dalgarno, Nancy Jane. “Compulsory Laptop Programs: Teacher’s Responses to the Adoption and Implementation Process.” Thesis. Ontario, Canada, Queen’s University, 2009.
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina 1:1 Learning Collaborative

Grimes, Douglas, and Mark Warschauer. “Learning with Laptop: A Multi-Method Case Study.” J. Educational Computing Research 38.3 (2008): 305-32.

Bebell, Damian. “Technology Promoting Student Excellence: An Investigation of the First Year of 1:1 Computing in New Hampshire Middle Schools.” Thesis. Boston College, 2005

Grimes, Douglas, and Mark Warschauer. “Learning with Laptop: A Multi-Method Case Study.” J. Educational Computing Research 38.3 (2008): 305-32.

Lee, Talisha H., Dewey G. Cornell, and Joanna C. M. Cole. “Concurrent Validity of the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire.” Virginia Youth Violence Project 2001. March 2010 <>

Livingstone, Pamela. “One-to-One: The Student View”. March 2010. <>

Visioning and Monitoring Student Success

Check out this new post on the 1-to-1 Schools Net on creating a vision for student success in a 1-t0-1 laptop environment. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m working on it. It’s actually a very exciting project!

Prepare for the Opposition

Cross posted on 1 to 1 Schools

As someone who is passionate about providing students and teachers with ubiquitous access to technological tools for teaching and learning I am shocked when 1:1 initiatives fail or when critics block progress. Yes, there are actually schools that have dropped the program. I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be a student who turns in his/her laptop when the pilot fails.

When planning for a 1:1 laptop initiative I suggest that the leadership team be prepared for the critics, cynics, killjoys and prophets of doom. Seymour Papert in Pamela Livingston’s book 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs that Work states, “expect opposition and know that it can be beaten”.

What can we learn from the failures?

  • Lack of a shared vision throughout the community
  • Laptops frequently breaking down (either through accident or student misuse)
  • Students not using the technology appropriately
  • Disconnect between the curriculum and 21st century learning
  • Network speed did not meet the needs of the users
  • Laptops were viewed as a distraction
  • No evidence of improved student achievement

Don’t get caught saying, “That was 2007. Things are different now.” Take a look at the November 9, 2009 article from the Asheville Citizens-Times, entitled “A laptop for every student: Asheville High makes technology push” . While the article highlights the excellent work that the leaders of the Asheville City Schools are doing to raise funds and plan for a 1-to-1 initiative, the best information comes from the reader comments that follow the article.

These three unedited quotes will give you an idea of the tone of the dialogue.

KeithOberman wrote:
“It would be a total waste of money to give every student atAHS a computer and allow them to take them home. AHShas some outstanding teachers and students but they alsohave some students and I use that term liberally that are not at AHS to learn. Take for instance the studentthat had a gun in his locker last week. I heard he is stilla freshman academically but much older than a typicalfreshman. What do you think would happen to a computerif he was allowed to take it home. I can tell you this muchit would never make it back to the school. Come on AshevilleAdministrators this idea you have is admirable butnot practical. This policy should be scraped or alteredbefore it is put in place.”

manx911 wrote:

“It is NOT the responsibility of the school system to provide the tools that are needed to satisfy the curosity of learning. It is the PARENTS!! Be it homeschool, private school or whatever it is the responsiblity of the parents.”

MrsGerber wrote:

“Looks to me like this generous offer using my tax $,will end up causing more harm than goodFirst off if you give a kid a $2000,00 computer what will prevent him/her from selling it for drugs?It will be a magnet for bullies to steal from other kids, taking someones lunch money will be a thing of the past, now just stael their computerCan parents be held accountable ?Next after this, why not give each student a car, that way they can get to school easier?”

The good news is that this is excellent data for leaders to use when planning and implementing a successful laptop initiative. Those who are successful address these issues and tackle them head on. I recently spoke to a technology director who is involved with a very successful 1:1 laptop program and he shared with me that his first experience in a public school district in Canada failed. No one ever said that it was going to be easy, but we do “know that it can be beaten.”

ISTE’s Essential Conditions: Maybe the Guide that You Need

ISTE’s – National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators packet includes Essential Conditions: Necessary conditions to effectively leverage technology for learning. This type of document can serve as a guide for school leaders who want to move their school(s) forward.

  • Shared Vision
  • Empowered Leaders
  • Implementation Planning
  • Consistent and Adequate Funding
  • Equitable Access
  • Skilled Personnel
  • Ongoing Professional Learning
  • Technical Support
  • Curriculum Framework
  • Student-Centered Learning
  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Engaged Communities
  • Support Policies
  • Supportive External Context

Have your team break down each item and define what it means. Then look at where your school currently stands, where you need to go and how you’re going to get there.

Why not use this to develop your school’s action plan and/or technology plan. We’re always looking for simplifying the complex.