I’ve written several posts about the process of getting back to 1:1 after having to “retire” the 9 year old iBooks my class had been using. Very unexpectedly my school district decided to replace the ones that our new wireless system rendered moot even though they were not obligated to do so – thank you, thank you, thank you!!! And that has taken longer than we all would have liked, but beggars can’t be “demanders” … and … well … hey when all is up and going I’ll have 20 brand new and 10 one year old MacBooks on a new wireless system, stored and charged in a new, safe, stronger laptop cart … we are truly blessed!!!
Having gone through 3 years of 1:1 with “sort of” the same class (I roll a 4th grade class to 5th and 6th, then return to 4th – and my students are very at risk so our school has a high turnover rate – students of poverty tend to move a lot, I’ve already lost 2 students this year - and our boundaries were redrawn and that lost a third of my students one year), you would think I’d consider myself somewhat of an expert at this … and I’m sure in some ways I might have insight, but I’m telling you I feel more challenged than ever. Using at the time 6 year old iBooks that we bought new batteries for and were a bit beat up (but still humming along), made that experience sort of “quaint” and cool and lowered expectations somewhat. But now everything is new and shiny (including the students) and the “quaintness” is gone. Now we really need to get things done. People have stepped up to provide this fantastic opportunity and I’d better produce. Other teachers would love to have what we have, so make this such a valuable learning piece that the powers-at-be are driven to fund it for others.
I do have some complications, (Hey! I’ve got to lower expectations somewhat), My school did not make Adequate Yearly Progress this past year and so we have had a few layers more of assessment, more special programs, and overall less “flexibilty” (less say over what we do), and that takes time and energy (and adds frustration) away from doing things differently. My new class has very little experience with tech, despite having visited our school’s computer lab once a week since first grade …. they’ve tended to run software apps like Sticky Bear Math and the like for 30 minutes once a week, so we have a huge learning curve to overcome too. I will remind my 2 regular readers of this survey I took the first week of school, … well their expertise with tech and knowing enough to be interested in finding out about things is at that kind of level too.
If there is an “up” side to having to wait to get going though, it is the anticipation of being able to think about learning / doing things differently again – it really gets me geared up. Among many other things I’ve really missed being able to have students do on the spot research to build schema … “Class … We are going to read a story in our reader today where the main characters make their first ride ever on the new fangled steam train coming through town. Follow the links on our class wiki page to find out a bit about steam trains, how they worked, and see a short video of one in action. Note how people are dressed, what the buildings look like, and other things that have changed. Then write a short paragraph or be ready to discuss or …. “
Learning is messy!