I have supported a number of 1:1 classes with different types of devices: iPads, laptops, Chromebooks. I am passionate about 1:1 learning. I understand the challenges (read: funding) to making that happen in many schools, but if a teacher is going to REALLY integrate technology into their instruction, then technology needs to be ubiquitous...like paper.
Do people think twice about a classroom having paper? Of course not- that's just something that you 'have' to have in order to teach/learn, just like students. Back in the day, paper was a hot commodity (truth be told, at some schools is still is now). Students would write on any scrap they could find and many times, practice was done on slates or other reusable-type surface. Over time, paper became less expensive, readily available and in most classes (ubiquitous) and now, most people can't image a classroom without it.
Shouldn't technology be the same? If you wheel a cart of devices in once a week or have 2 computers set up in the back (that take 20 minutes to login), is that really integrating technology into instruction?
I think there is really only one way for teachers (and students) to fully embrace technology and to truly integrate it into teaching and learning...by having a 1:1 classroom. One device for one student, every day, all day. When considering expanding 1:1 programs, my guiding idea is that students should reach for that device like they would any other tool...it should be the paper, the pencil in the classroom. When that happens, you're integrated.
Aside from the money issues (ugh, money), a 1:1 program is scary for teachers (and for IT support if we're being honest). When you ask teachers to make a shift from what they've been taught and what they've been doing, it's a cause for apprehension. There are some things you can do as the coach to ensure (hopefully?) a positive outcome.
1. Make time. You might not know it now, but that teacher is going to need a lot of your time. Plan with them before the students get their devices. Spend some time in the classroom, especially when kids first get their devices. Set aside some on-going planning time with the teacher (this is SO valuable). This is your ambassador, your baby bird...eventually they will fly from the nest and share the wonders of 1:1 at your site, but they're going to need support to get there.
2. Build a student support network. I take a two-tiered approach on this. First: ask the teacher to identify a handful-ish (2-6) of students that are capable, kind, and trustworthy to be your student support team. These students should be the first place that classmates go for support (train the teacher to refer kids to colleagues first). I love this because it shows that students can fix problems too AND it saves the teachers' time, which is key. Second: get self-serve resources together for kids. Make a link for password resets, support guides, and other helpful information all in one place so that students can be self-sufficient. Most of them don't want to ask for help, so give them the tools to be a problem-solver.
3. Get an extra device. I can't think of how many times one device would go down and the teacher would be desperate for another, because they had their whole lesson based on needing that device (YAY...that's just what I wanted!). Rather than disrupting the lesson or having them share, have an extra device (if you can). It doesn't have to be the newest or the best- just something that they can use to do the same work.
I won't lie. Starting, expanding, and maintaining 1:1 programs is a lot of work, but in my experience, it is the best way to support teachers in shifting their instruction and supporting students in learning how to learn for the future. Could I have saved a whole mess of aggravation by not pushing them with my school? Sure. But the benefits and fantastic changes coming out of those classes make me want to transform the whole school into a 1:1 learning zone. A Tech Coach can dream...
I'm a Technology Coach and IT Support for a school. I'm passionate about 1:1 classrooms technology in instruction.