Now That I have Some Experience At This 1:1 Thing…

Looking more and more like I’m going to lose 1:1 in my classroom next year because 19 of our laptops are just too old to deal with the new wireless network and security system that is being put in this summer. Many of the laptops are showing they’re age too. Keys are missing, some do “funky” things at times. Some won’t save reliably.

The great news is my school is being “stimulated.” It is over 50 years old and the electrical and plumbing systems are more than obsolete. I’ve done some really great math lessons over the years (really!) having my students figure out how much water drips down the drain in our class sink each minute, hour, day and year. Well all that is being replaced and fixed and renewed.

Just when I’ve learned so much, and IT really improved our wireless with fast connectivity this fall, it looks like I’ll be an 11 to 28 classroom instead.

I know, some of you are yelling at me right now about how you wish you had my problem of being 11 to 28.

1:1 is all that it is cracked up to be ….  and so it will be hard to adjust. Yes there are still things we can do, and do well, but blogging constantly and consistently, which was really key to how my students progressed, will be impossible to make up. Going into a 1:1 program I never foresaw just how it would be so language intense and engaging.  I wish I had seen that from the beginning, because I think my students would be even further along than they are now. I have to remember though that we had to wait until almost December of our first year before the funding came in to purchase the new batteries for, at the time, our 6 year old laptops. So we didn’t charge “out of the gate” into 1:1 … and about the time we got started we were on winter break.

Honestly one of the reasons it has worked as well as it has, was all the feedback and learning I got from my learning network. As we blogged and Skyped and wiki-ed and researched, I slowly figured out that for my almost entirely second language class, that one of the huge benefits was that ALL those things we were doing were  written or spoken or about analyzing text and reading, AND that melded together they were extremely powerful at building the language skills and schema my students so lacked. One area I did “get” was the power of field trips and classroom guests and project based experiences to build students understanding of their world. Now I get how having 1:1 capability leverages that so powerfully.

So yes, we will survive, but I’m afraid our days of 1:1 are numbered (3 to be exact – that’s how many days of school are left this year). Nevada is taking as big a hit as any state to its education budget, and we were already close to last in the country in funding education, so help from there is improbable. I’m looking where I can for funding, but if you know anyone with 19 Macbooks with nothing to do … send them our way! : )

Learning is messy!

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5 Responses to Now That I have Some Experience At This 1:1 Thing…

  1. Doug Noon says:

    The pendulum is swinging in the other direction for me at the moment. It looks like we’re going to be more-equipped for the next couple of years if current trends continue.

    It won’t be 1:1 for my class, though. We’ve got enough laptop carts in the building so teachers can share them, with each class having a cart for a few half-days each week. It’s not a great system, though, because there’s a lot of times when we don’t need a whole cart-load. The best arrangement would be to have two teachers share a single class-set. Sometimes you don’t need them at all. Other times, just a few would be enough. And there are also times when you’d like everyone to have a computer. Making the best use of a limited resource might not require a 1:1 allocation, but I’m not sure what the most efficient system would actually require.

  2. AllanahK says:

    We all do what we have always done- turn water into wine on a daily basis. Our initial pod of 12 laptops for the whole school are showing their age as well. Trying to craft our writing so it doesn’t include a ‘g’ on a ‘g-less’ laptop keyboard is always a challenge. We are still sharing our one data projector. If that claps out we will have to gather round my laptop and bunch up. But we WILL keep on doing what we do.

  3. JenWagner says:

    Hmmm — won’t you still be a 28 computer classroom??
    With flash drives — and collaboration — everyone one does NOT have to be tied into the network. A lot can still be done…..

    And I think you could set another good example (adding to the ones you have already had) of working with the equipment you have — regardless of the restrictions.

    :)
    Jen

  4. Ryan Collins says:

    How you can still use your current laptops to supplement:

    – grab a network switch and go wired.
    – install the Linux Terminal Server Project on an old PC (try to finagle a refurbished server for under $400) and use the laptops as thin-clients. I’ve got some beige G3 desktops and All-in-ones (turning 11 years old this year) as clients to my Linux server and able to run the latest Firefox and Openoffice.org.

    If you have any questions, just send me an email!

  5. Rachel Hughett says:

    I don’t know if this will help you or not, but it’s something that the teachers in my school are all trying.

    -Go to http://www.donorschoice.com
    -Register
    -Set up a request for the items that you need. The website will walk you through this.
    -Wait to get funded

    We have had several teachers receive the items that the need for the upcoming year. We’ve had everything from books to IPODS on there. I hope this helps in some small way.

    Good luck next year.

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