One to One Computing--Lessons Learned
After teaching in a 1 to 1 school for three years there are a few very basic things that I have learned that you can learn from.
- Edmodo is a very efficient and simple way to manage the assignments in a paperless setting. Email just is too overwhelming! The best thing is that Edmodo is free and simple to use. It takes under an hour to set things up and after that is is super simple to maintain. The only problem is transferring grades to my online grade book--however it prints out so it just takes a few minutes a week. The students like it and I wish I knew about it right from the start! Ning has more bells and whistles however is has a small fee attached--you may apply for a free account. My first year I needed simple.
- We have a Google domain so it handles all email and we use Google docs which has made collaboration easy for students. You need to get "Googleized" it makes life easy. I even now have a good website for my classroom that is easy to maintain.
- Make sure all your old equipment is compatible before school starts. Even if your tech person says it will work--check yourself or you can have a complete unit fall apart around you--especially video equipment.
- TWITTER is your best resource! Get a program like Tweet Deck or Twitter falls and find experts in your field to follow. You do not have to tweet but following a hashtag like "#1to1" will give you unlimited resources to check out. I'm in Iowa so I follow "#iowa1to1 You can find sources to follow at http://www.hashdictionary.com/ I spend 10 minutes a day catching up on new tweets and getting inspired.
- Don't try to do everything at once! Pick a few classes or units to start with and then add as you go. It is easy to be overwhelmed at first. You need to push yourself but not bury yourself. The computer is only a tool--not a teacher.
- I have embedded links to atomic learning and You Tube videos on my site to supplement my lectures and demonstrations. The students who miss my lectures can catch up at home.
- Be flexible--sometimes things just don't work! I have learned to laugh with the students and my motto is "It won't matter in ten years so don't worry about it."
- Find a group of teachers that you can meet with and share ideas--we have PLCs and my group is constantly working together to better incorporate new ideas into our curriculum.
- Don't feel like you have to be a pro to assign a program. The students will figure it out faster than you so learn from them.
- Don't forget to assign project that don't use the computer--my students love to cut and paste to create posters.
- Most things can be done on the internet for free with Web 2.0 tools--ton's of resources.
- You have to unplug sometimes and so do the students. Soft skills will always be important so don't forget to teach them.
- You have to teach them research skills and discuss plagerism
Good luck and welcome to the 21st Century!
Anyone have any more suggestions?