As a school leader what you need to do right now to ensure students have secure devices for online learning.
There are a number of schools that have switched to online learning due to the coronavirus. 1 to 1 learning has proved to be amazing tool when implemented appropriately. Some parents are now asking for distance learning or 1 to 1 learning to be a fixture in their school district.
To be ready this fall, school leaders and teachers need to start having conversation today addressing concerns and comments from the past year of learning. As with any type tech initiative or improvement it's important to start talks around your youngest learners and grow from there, as your youngest learners will require the most support.
Here are 5 steps that leaders need to take to become a 1 to 1 school district as soon as possible, or fix issues that you had last year.
1. Start the conversation
School leaders need to discuss the goals of their district’s 1 to 1 program initiative, the tools and subscriptions students will be using, student and teacher training, and the correlation between devices and curricula.
As a leader don't just have a conversation with your internal team but also communicate with parents and students and see what worked well and where you can grow. This is could also be an opportunity to talk about digital citizenship.
2. Can Support be sustained?
Rolling out a successful initiative is just one part of the process. Just as crucial is ensuring all 1 to 1 programs can be maintained. Providing not only instructional & technical support for teachers and students is key to success.
Schools must also identify if their infrastructure can actually support 1 to 1 with a technical assessment or if students have the needed infrastructure at home.
3. Identify and prepare 1:1 devices
If you are needing to add devices you will need to place an order ASAP for devices. Many items have been sold out in recent months and have long lead times. You will also need to give your IT staff time to create the logins, set up security protocols and inventory the equipment.
You can not just hand the devices out to students and say 'Good luck', That is a sure way to have the program end in failure. You must ensure that students use the devices in a safe and proper manure.
4. Conduct professional development
If you are planning on rolling out a 1 to 1 program or improving your current 1 to 1 you should have PD sessions with teachers now. On the first day teachers should know what it means to have a classroom where every student has a device and how classroom routines and procedures will change as a result, with the messaging being similar in every classroom.
It typically takes a teacher five months to prepare for a large change such as 1 to 1, allowing the teachers the summer to have workshops and planning sessions broken down by grade level allows teachers the best chance of success.
If teachers do not have access to tech coaches on staff they can participate in free webinars and digital conferences given by solution provides.
5. Choose the right tools
Even thought many companies are providing free tools and subscriptions, the amount of tools available and options can be overwhelming. Give your team plenty of time to evaluate all the tools on the market. You will need to provide tools for teachers, students and IT staff (shameless plug) so that every one can be successful.