Getting to One to One

by Jean Tower


I recently invited Matt Brooks and Rick Hampson of Apple Computer to the school district to present and lead a discussion about successful one to one implementations and what factors they see as influencing success. We had a very nice turnout (on a Monday night awaiting a snowstorm) of about 50 people, and there was a mix of teachers, parents, and school committee (school board) members. Matt and Rick did a really good job and met my expectations of talking about general guidelines, while also answering questions that were raised that were more specific to Apple and their products and services.

They began their presentation by advising us to think about our vision of student expectations – what did we hope to see as results of a one to one implementation?
They suggested we might want to see an increase in:

Personalized Learning
Enriching experiences
Authentic tasks
Assignments with Global Impact (see for examples)

They shared the following list of characteristics of successful one to one implementations. I’m sure it is not an exhaustive list, but represents factors that they have observed. The description after each item is my own interpretation, and is not meant to represent Apple corporate advice.

Success Factors
Proper Planning of the Deployment
Planning covers a wide variety of topics, from infrastructure, bandwidth, density and connectivity to purchasing, insurance, policies, processes, guidelines, and

Community Involvement with a Shared Vision
Community involvement includes getting stakeholder buy-in early and working together on a shared vision.

Networking with other Schools
It is important to follow the trials of schools in your area and to learn from their implementation projects. Our Technology Advisory Committee is committed to reaching out to other schools to interview them about their implementations to inform our own planning.

Professional Development
Matt Brooks shared that he has read that teachers need 40 hours of quality professional development every year in order to make substantive change.

Developing an Active Internal Professional Learning Community (PLCs)
Professional Development is a critical component, and building and supporting PLCs is a particularly effective way to seed change.

Focusing on Student Capacity and Engagement
Challenge Based Learning
These items on the list return back to Matt and Rick’s opening comments about maintaining a focus on student engagement. From my perspective, this has to drive our planning and how we define success.

Constant Reflection and Assessment
As with all technology projects and initiatives, it is never “one and done.” Deploying one to one will be no different, and will require tweaking and adjusting as we go.

If you are planning a one-to-one deployment, I recommend bringing in several of your technology vendors to speak to the community. We are going to follow this up with asking teachers to present how they are currently using tablets and mobile computing with their students.

Are there other characteristics of successful deployments we should be paying attention to?

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