Our seventh grade class is kicking off a Chromebook 1:1 Program this year. The students on our team, Harmony Team, received their Chromebooks on Friday. Of course, there was all kinds of jubilation and excitement; the kiddos were stoked. Each class spent one period learning how to navigate the school wifi, signing in with their school cloud accounts, and troubleshooting any issues they might have had. Later in the day, we got the kids signed in to, and familiar with, Google Classroom. This coming week, we will work more with the kids, helping them learn Symbaloo, Google Classroom, Khan Academy, BrainPop, and a few other essential "creating" apps that we'll be heavily using this year.
Working in a 1:1 classroom environment is both easier and more difficult for teachers. It is easier because we no longer need to run copies, haul bags of paper assignments back and forth from school to home, chase down missing paper assignments, and spend much of the hour delivering presentations before differentiating for the students. A 1:1 environment is more difficult because the work for the teacher is front-loaded. It takes a lot more preparation up front to run an effective 1:1 classroom. We need to find or create the learning resources that we'll use in class or that kids can use on their laptop at home. Many of us will flip instruction from time to time so not only must we prepare for the classroom instruction but also instruction that occurs beyond classroom walls. Teachers will also spend less time delivering whole-class instruction because that instruction can be created and delivered individually in class or out of class. Instead, we will spend more time differentiating in class, conferencing with kids to make sure they are understanding the concepts we are trying to teach them.
The shift to a 1:1 classroom is ripe with possibilities. We can transform the learning so that students get even more individual help, collaborate with their peers, create, have the learning personalized for them and use the technology to learn at their own pace. Students will have an amazing tool in their hands that will allow them to go as far with the learning as they can, even beyond what the teachers intended for them. Our role as teachers continues to change in the classroom, especially in a 1:1 classroom. We have to take on the role of Lead Learner. We have to stress to the kids that the way that class works nowadays, we don't have all of the answers anymore and that we must be a learning community that will problem-solve, create and learn together. I expect that the most used words in our classroom this year will be, "Let's figure it out!"