This year, YIS rolled out the 1:1 MacBook program, officially called the Connected Learning Community. This is my second 1:1 experience and I thought I’d jot down a few of my thoughts about the whole thing.
- The term Connected Learning Community means something at YIS. To be honest, when we first started calling the 1:1 program the “Connected Learning Community” I thought we were being a little pretentious. But this name summarizes our mission at our school and directs what we actually do with the computers. Blogs are open, because we want our kids to connect to the world. We invite parents, grandparents, and strangers to see what we are doing in our classes. We are building a global community. And the focus is always about the learning.
- I’m intrigued to see if because of computers, the artificial construct of class periods will start to disappear. Kids are working on what they need to work on when they have a chance. The problem is they are often doing math in Humanities class and French in science class. Right now we’re regulating it and saying they are off-task. I wonder if we always will.
- Alex brought this up, but this is really a 2:1 program. Between the computers and the smartphones the kids are manipulating lots of different tools, without me telling me what to do.
- I am still struggling with the idea that “balance” means getting off the computer. We limit their computer usage at breaks and I wonder if they could use this time to “play” with technology (create an app, edit a movie for fun, blog, etc) and still be balanced.
- If kids are smiling and laughing at a screen a lot, they are probably off-task. My classes are fun, but probably not that fun.
- I really can’t wait to see how my middle school kids are able to use technology in advanced ways. We have some awesome teachers in YIS Middle School who have transformed their teaching because of the presence of computers. Technology and the ever changing list of tools is something my students are used to in an educational setting. They love to share their stuff (helps when they create cool stuff worth sharing) and they know how to investigate, plan and design. Perhaps because there is no pressure of time and exams, my kids are willing to experiment. And I really hope my wonderful middle schoolers kick butt and take names when they arrive in high school.
- Kids don’t know how to make a new row in a table in googledocs. They also don’t know the CMD+F function. They think I’m a genius when I teach it to them. I let them think that.
- Kids don’t use technology in isolation. If anything my students talk more because they have computers. They gather around each others’ computers. They chat in googledocs. They may be in different spaces, but collaboration is key to what they do.
- Do kids really want to use pencil and paper? Several of the kids over the course of the year have said they don’t always want to use tech, but want to use “old-school” ways. I know in high school using a notebook might be more prevalent. In my classes (grade 7-9) I don’t care if they take notes in a notebook and they can use a paper calendar if they want. And we may storyboard or do some brainstorming on paper. We’ve even done a couple of assignments where they have to draw. But for the most part I want them to use their computers. They won’t lose their work, it’s easier to save, it’s easier to manipulate, and it’s easier to share. Honestly, I probably don’t give them a lot of opportunity to write using pen or paper. I hope I’m striking the right balance.
- I don’t think I could teach in a school that doesn’t have 1:1 computers. I truly believe my teaching is better because every student has a computer. I also think my students are better able to demonstrate their learning because of the access to technology. And I bet if you ask the teachers who had the biggest concerns about rolling out computers, they wouldn’t go back to laptop carts either. To teach in a school without 1:1 would be like going back in time. I don’t think I could do it. And thank goodness, I won’t have to.
Photos: All photos taken by me in the 2011-2012 school year