Five Unexpected Results of Going 1:1
Written by Shawn McCusker, Social Studies teacher at Fremd High School
Identity Crisis- You will become a student too. The moment you have devices in your classroom, you are no longer THE resource for answers in the classroom. Students will be finding sources with much greater insight on your subject area than you can offer. I (as a history teacher) was presented with ideas and facts that were completely new to me on a daily basis. Class was more about interpreting new ideas and evaluating their credibility. I was thinking more. They were thinking more. My place in the classroom changed. Even though I liked it overall, it was very stressful because it forced me to redefine who I was in the classroom.
Remodeling- The physical space of my classroom made no sense. We worked in groups a lot. I was constantly moving students around and they were sitting on the floor and in the hallway. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they were out of the desks more than in them. The collaboration and groups were now more common than not. I had to change my class space to reflect that. Why couldn’t they do group work in desks? Why didn’t I reorganize the presentation space around their presentations rather than mine? My classroom had always been staged to focus their attention on me and my answers. That organization flew in the face of my new classroom objectives. So I asked my students to redesign my room and I am in the process of making the change.
Fear (Freedom is Scary)- Devices gave my students options and presented then with choices. Some of them were completely freaked out by this. Worksheets are boring but they are safe. One answer per answer blank is intellectually easy but also emotionally easy. When you tell students “It’s up to you, you decide.” It will cause some of them anxiety, a lot of anxiety. This is especially true of the “pleaser” who just wants to make you happy and do what you ask. I am learning that I can help them through this but you better be ready. Their anxiety is real.
Invalidation- Much of what you used to do was based upon an “Economy of Information” with scarcity at its core. Devices revealed to me that this model is dead. So I moved quickly to change it. But then I realized that the model was invalid in my non 1:1 classes as well. So how could I restructure lessons to make them more appropriate for an information abundant world? How do I do that without the devices? When is lecture appropriate in this model? How do I move my focus to the big ideas? #facepalm
Massive Overhaul- I began my dive into 1:1 technology by making some processes tech friendly. I made class resources electronic. I poured myself into workflow and how I could give and receive materials. Then I moved to integrating technology projects to replace certain lessons. Now I find myself evaluating bigger ideas such as:
- If my class is no longer based upon a text book, and my units were organized around that units, should I completely reorder my units too?
- How can a multiple choice test be effective to assess learning when learning is individualized.
- How can our classes be moving to the values of individual creativity and creation when our institutions are being evaluated by standardized assessment.
The change goes beyond lessons, beyond my classroom to much bigger things. My advice to anyone about to dive into this would be to prepare yourself to take a good look at what you do on every level. Do not just walk into this casually. You will not find the rewards you a looking for. But with the right planning and consideration you can find rewards beyond your expectations.
To view McCusker’s blog, click here.