How to dispute one-to-one, mobile learning criticisms

And focusing on those learning goals will help define other components of a one-to-one or BYOD initiative.

District leaders should frame their actions around “the tool or device needed to do the job or task.”

“It’s not about the device,” Schad said. “It’s about curriculum, access, and resources. When you talk about the device first, you’ve lost. Students should use their devices to access content, and the goal is accessing content online.”

Dependable resources

Partnering with other districts that have had success with one-to-one initiatives, and learning how to take a marketing approach to making district plans and successes public, can help.

A North Carolina State MOOC on how to lead digital learning is another good step, Moran said, as is using data and research to inform action.

An open mindset is also crucial, Moran continued. “Be open to lots of different models…there is no one-size-fits-all, and don’t try to replicate 100 percent what someone else has done.”

“Allow, as a district, the ability to personalize and customize an initiative for schools,” Ryan said. “You need to know what has been done, but you need to focus on what your kids and community need.”

“Think about how technology empowers your curriculum, your instruction, and more,” Moran said.

Innovative approaches to professional development can help empower teachers and buoy a one-to-one initiative’s success.

“I give professional development credit for teachers on Twitter–I see that as a professional learning network to help them as teachers,” Moran said. “What is it that helps a teacher move to innovative practice? Enforce that.”

In fact, putting the initial focus on early adopters can help ensure a one-to-one initiative’s success.

“Focusing on early adopters takes the focus off of everyone all at once,” Schad said. “When the pressure is off, you see a lot of really great collaboration. How do early adopters use this tool to teach their subject?”

Once early adopters have embraced the initiative, enthusiasm and implementation will trickle down to other educators.

While one-to-one initiatives encompass a vast number of considerations and “to-dos,” planning first for goals, and then identifying a device or devices to help students and teachers achieve the transformational learning, should be the focus of a technology initiative.

[Editor’s note: Managing Editor Laura Devaney moderated this panel discussion.]

Laura Ascione

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