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.
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
What has been good?
Emailing criteria means the excuse; 'I lost it'
We have access to resources which supports
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
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
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
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?
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
fast it is to find information (instant) when we are discussing things in class
much having google images supports our ability to “see” what we are learning
many options exist/how many things we can DO with technology to show what we
know or find things out
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.
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
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
the right sources / websites to use for gathering information
is not always reliable
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.
I want to do more with the children than time allows! So many opportunities to
learn and explore, so little time.