Saturday, July 5, 2014

What makes a good 1:1 wireless device program

So the goal of the BigTime Literacy Blogger Challenge (#BTBC14) is to write everyday. This is truly a challenge for me. It is the 5th day of The Challenge and only my 2nd time writing. I have good intentions of writing on a daily basis. Being a mother of 2, who works 2 jobs is a challenge everyday. I have never seen myself as a strong writer. I was a strong speller but not very good with grammar when I was in school. But I'm thankful to +Michelle Brezek for The Challenge!

I was honored this past week to be asked to tell District 100's story of our 1:1 journey to a district in Springfield, Ohio. I spoke with them for about 55 minutes over the phone, but I could have gone on for at least another hour. I started the conversation with visionary leadership. Which is necessary for any successful 1:1 program. Ours started, in part, with a definable, measurable goal crafted by our Superintendent Dr.  +Stan Fields and endorsed by our school board. Berwyn South School District 100 will rank within the top 25% of districts in the State of Illinois as evidenced by state testing. It is posted all over the district and every staff member can tell you our vision statement. When we started the 1:1 program we also saw it as a chance to improve and redefine teaching and learning for all of our students. At about the same time we also implemented full day kindergarten, use of the co-teaching model for instruction, got rid or all of our desks and bought tables for more collaboration and group work, overhauled our lunch program, started a fitness based PE program in the middle schools using Fitnessgram, invested in eChalk as our LMS, hosted parent universities to get more parent involvement, just to name a few. 

The biggest change was bringing in the laptops for instruction. Infrastructure is huge when starting a 1:1 program. We had some growing pains, but due to the quick work of our tech department this was easily rectified. To me the second most important part of a successful 1:1 program is good professional development. In District 100 we have made a very conscious effort to have targeted, differentiated professional development sessions. We started at our spring 2012 institute day and have been doing it ever since. We went 100% 1:1 in fall of 2012. If you are interested here is a look at our District Professional Development Page.  Check out the Summer 2014 Brochure. There is a little something for everyone, reading, math, science, social studies, PE, tech, art, music. This year in our summer PD we have even gone farther by differentiating within the session as well. Some of our sessions this summer follow the flipped model so that all the attendees get the most out of their experience and the teacher leader(s) can facilitate the sessions better. On the call I also discussed how we rolled out the program. We started with 1 elementary teacher +Shannon Soger and a team at the middle school. Others who wanted to have 1:1 in their classrooms either had to meet with or write up a proposal telling their building principal why 1:1 would work in their classroom. Those who spoke the loudest were rewarded with computers in their classroom. These were just a few of the things I talked about on the conference call. 

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