Going From 1:1 To Not 1:1 … Temporarily Even Is Tough … More Thoughts

We have 30 laptops charged and ready that are still not on the school district network after 15 weeks of school … should be put on soon … fingers crossed! For the last 3 years my class has been a 1:1 laptop class … but for various reasons we are not right now … and dealing with that has been difficult for me for several reasons (not for my current students so much because this will be new to them).

For one, being an elementary teacher I’m used to acquiring support and supplemental resources, materials and lessons for Reading, math, social studies, science, art, and so on that in the past have provided me with loads of schema building …  much more than we could ever cover. At one point I had 4 – four drawer file cabinets full of great stuff in my classroom and more in our garage. Everything from volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount St. Helens, to newspaper clippings of the first moon landing, various brochures from NASA on anything you wanted to know about space or space travel, to art projects based on the masters.

Several events conspired to limit those resources. First, we’ve been 1:1 for three years and the internet is a tremendous resource all by itself … those NASA brochures were 5 years old and older … very out of date, so chuck those … and likewise happened with other old resources until I was down to 2 file cabinets of “stuff” (but I still have the ash and newspapers) … on the web everything, well to a point, is updated and new … so much of your old stuff becomes obsolete. Then my school was refurbished and we literally had to strip our rooms down to the bare walls AND we were encouraged to get rid of stuff … so I’m down to one file cabinet … and from 2 large storage cabinets to one … and nothing (almost) in the garage.

Now we are not 1:1 … and have been so longer than expected … and I yearn for all those resources. I’m prepping for a half day sub tomorrow and keep thinking about something for the sub to use that would be perfect … but I don’t have it anymore. The internet and writing and numerous other online productivity and math and reading, science and other learning activities more than took the place of 3 file cabinets, one large metal cabinet, and 200 square feet of garage space (and more).

The great news is that at some point here my students will have all those resources back … whew … it will be a good thing.

Learning is messy!

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3 Responses to Going From 1:1 To Not 1:1 … Temporarily Even Is Tough … More Thoughts

  1. Dave says:

    Just a thought exercise:
    If laptops last a max of five years, that’d be about 180 weeks of normal school year. They’ve been off the network for over 8% of that. If they cost…$500 each? That’s $1250 worth of of laptop lifespan. That’s best case numbers, probably.

    If the total expenses for each laptop, including cost of software, setup, delivery, time spent getting approval and ordering, using up space in your building, etc is closer to $750, and if laptops actually last about 4 years, and if you make it all the way to December break, then you’re closing in on $3000 worth of laptop lifespan.

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Dave – Most of the laptops have been here 3 weeks + (not all year), they cost about $850 each … the laptops they replaced cost $1,750 each new, they lasted 9 years (and were still working until the new wifi wouldn’t let them on) … but I get your point.

    I also have a class set of 4th grade social studies books that are 2 years old that cost close to $100 each that have never been used because they don’t match 4th grade standards at all (other grade levels are closer match – Nevada has a small population so textbook companies don’t make a “Nevada” version of their 4th grade SS texts, but state law mandates we buy them anyhow). Also have science books that are rarely used but cost the same … both sets of books and all the accompanying materials take up shelves of room in my classroom. Textbook publishers really bleed the educational system dry and most states require their schools to buy a state approved textbook program even if none of them are very good … what a great deal for the textbook companies. What a disaster for our schools.

  3. Joseph says:

    My dad was a military man who always taught us to “travel light!” So, I understand you having to ‘tighten up’ with your filing system. Not always easy, though! I’m glad you still kept the ash from the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption! Learning is indeed messy, but so is ash! I was just wondering if you actually let your students feel the ash? I’m sure the kids would definitely get a kick out of touching the ash from Mt. St. Helen’s!

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