Thursday, April 23, 2015

How To Tell Your 1:1 Program is Going to Fail

I saw this question on Facebook.

My schools going to all iPad next year for the students. Can we do the coding that we need to for AP Computer Science on an iPad?

laptopsMy first reaction, and second reaction, and third reaction was – why is that question even being asked AFTER the decision has been made? Shouldn’t questions like “is their software for my subject available for the device?” be answered BEFORE a decision is made on what devices to adopt? So that is one clue things are not likely to work well.

Another clue is to ask what professional development is going to take place? And will it be subject specific or just tool specific? What do I mean by that? Well a session on “how to use Google Docs” is tool specific. “How to use Google Docs to teach {specific subject}” is more specific to pedagogy. One is generic and unlikely to have any impact on the way something is taught (in which case ask why are we doing it at all?) while the second is geared towards making a difference in how a teacher teaches and students learn.

I’ve been seeing this for 30 years now. When will it end?


Mike Zamansky said...

It will end when teachers are actually part of the education conversation -- that is, probably never :-(

Garth said...

Schools have been doing the cart before the horse ever since technology hit the schools. My school did the exact same thing with the iPads. As the tech guy I tried to put the brakes on but the administration was more the "Field of Dreams" philosophy, "Build it and they will come". That approach does work, it is just so slow and so expensive. Teachers do not buy in to the tech so it sits. The few that do buy in spend an excessive number of hours integrating from scratch. We did have iPad in-service but it consisted of "isn't this cool!" instead of "here is how to improve what you are doing now". The teachers saw it as more work instead of a way to do more easier. The person giving the in-service loved her iPad, but had never taught. My biggest battle when buying tech is "pedagogy before purchase".

Laura Blankenship said...

I'm proud to say we didn't do it this way, and ended up with a fantastic program. It was teacher led and that is absolutely the key.