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Digital Literacy > Posts > 1:1 Action Research - Initial Observations
April 16
1:1 Action Research - Initial Observations

At the beginning of April a number of classrooms in West Vancouver began  “1:1 Digital Access Action Research.”  The intent of the research was to learn how learning and teaching was impacted when every student had pervasive, just in time access to a digital device.  In our current reality many of our classrooms have some access some of the time. We think this scenario is actually more difficult in which to learn and teach. 

In addition,  what is unique about this research is that we are recognizing that students have personal devices.  There is very little consistency between student’s personal devices except they can all access the Internet. The devices in the classroom are ranging from old laptops to new laptops, Macbooks, iPads, Surface tablets to Android tablets. As long as they can connect, the students seem quite fearless in their approach to problem solve and find ways to engage in their learning.

I’ve asked teachers to report out on what they are seeing in the early days – we hope to share and discover more as time goes on.

What has been good?

·      Emailing criteria means the excuse; 'I lost it' doesn't work. 

·      We have access to resources which supports inquiry

·      Using Dashboard means the students have a powerful tool to help them organize their work in one place and transport if from school to home and back.  This is especially helpful for the children who find maintaining their organizational skills difficult. Can't get dropped in a mud puddle or eaten by a dog.

·      In my classroom there has been no fuss over using the computers, the technology is being used, as needed almost seamlessly in my room. The iPad users sometimes use the schools' keyboards when typing a lot of material. Most can find a companion app to do what the computer users are doing. . Kids take ownership and figure it out on their own. "Look Mrs. R I found a Prezie app!" and off they go. Love it! The world of technology does not frighten children the way it seems to stress adults.

·      Encourages and fosters independent and focused work. Especially for boys and also for those students with learning / behavior challenges. So nice to see them focusing and working positively alongside their peers.

·      Students email questions, to teacher, to buddies, to the world. Instant feedback is efficient and gratifying. Nice to feel heard. Much better than red ink.

·      When blogging, or sharing presentations the children realize that their work is more public and this helps to 'raise the bar' in regards to self-evaluation and reflection. 

·      Somehow, when the children are working in collaborative groups and they are using technology, the children seem more focused. I wonder if the technology gives students a center or grounding from which to work?

·      I must admit work that is word-processed is tidier and this makes it quicker and easier to mark.

·      Being able to include images, videos and songs to help support and explain their thinking is a powerful new tool. For those who find expressing themselves in words challenging this can open up new vistas for communicating their thinking and learning. For instance, a boy in my class who has severe written output issues completed an entire presentation on Lamborghinis. It was mostly images, but his oral presentation demonstrated a depth of knowledge about his topic that was surprising.

·      Student’s spelling and word choice improves when you teach them how to effectively use the tools available on MSWord or Pages on ipads

·      Students are learning to use a variety of tools simultaneously. For instance, I looked over at a grade 6 girl. She had the criteria for her assignment on half of her screen, she had Word open on the other half, she was reading her SS text on her lap and note taking on Word while she was waiting for Prezi to load. Efficient. And, she was one of my more technologically challenged students at the beginning of the year

·      The projector is a powerful tool! Meaningful, timely Youtube videos are watched, powerful images displayed, criteria shared, student work shared, and lots of discussion created and responded to...and emailed to me for marking and responding to students. The projector has had the most impact on my teaching in years. The projector provides a quick no mess, instant, no time wasted vehicle to share with children. Because it is so quick, it can be used often for quick demonstrations. It can provide images to investigate ideas and instigate discussion, the projector can instantly provide alternate points of view with a power that words alone don't have. A bonus, because we often turn the lights down it softens the room and the children seems to snuggle into exploring their ideas...

What has surprised me?

·      It surprises me that people feel that students having 1:1 access to technological devices at any time at school is anything but to be expected. Many have their own iPads, or iPods in their backpacks. At home, although they often must share devices with other family members, all of my students have access to technology almost anytime. 

·      How fast it is to find information (instant) when we are discussing things in class

·      How much having google images supports our ability to “see” what we are learning

·      How many options exist/how many things we can DO with technology to show what we know or find things out

·      For educators too, tech opens up endless teaching and learning opportunities that far outweigh the frustration of slow Internet, missing chargers, and access denied messages!

·      I was surprised when a teacher said, how can the students take notes from my lesson if they are 'playing' with their devices.  I figure the students take snaps and vids when they need to. A paradigm shift needs to be made here.

·      It surprises me that children think that computers are smarter than they are. When they figure out that they are in fact in the driviers seat of these powerful tools and that the sky is the limit, they begin to see and think over the rainbow!


What has been difficult

·      The Internet is slow, loading time is boring. We usually turn on the computers, begin downloading and then move on to another task while waiting. Read alouds, reading novels, related texts, articles, discussion around images or related videos.

·      Finding the right sources / websites to use for gathering information

·      Technology is not always reliable

·      iMovie’s are fun and very effective presentation tools. The children’s' world is full of videos and the kids cannot get enough of making them. Sadly, I cannot hog the iPad cart all day. I've tried though.

·      Time! I want to do more with the children than time allows! So many opportunities to learn and explore, so little time.


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