The Puzzle

Irving ISD began implementing one-to-one laptops at the high school level six years ago. We began the implementation program at The Academy the first year and then ventured out into the three other high schools the following year. 

The summer before the other high schools in the district distributed laptops to their students, some colleagues and I feverishly conducted training for the teachers in the district. I remember some of the topics I presented – Technology in the ELA Classroom, The Writing Process with Microsoft Word, Movie Maker, PowerPoint, Publishing Student Writing to the Web, and (the dreaded) Classroom Management with Laptops. 

I absolutely abhorred teaching the classroom management class because it was not an area I felt comfortable teaching.  I am not a traditional teacher. My students have never sat in neat little rows and kept their mouths closed. We worked together quite often and students talked. I like that, but to many teachers it may look and/or sound a little chaotic; however, I rarely had discipline problems and can count on one hand the number of students I have had to send to the office. If there was a problem, we usually worked it out together.

I also dreaded teaching the classroom management class because I was a relatively new teacher (who looked 25 at the oldest), and I felt very out of place standing up in front of a room full of veteran teachers (some of whom taught me) and telling them what they needed to do to manage their classes.  I didn’t feel like they took me seriously.

I began reflecting on this time in my life Tuesday when one of my Vice Principals (who used to conduct the classroom management sessions with me) presented a session entitled What Students Have on Their Laptops That You Don’t.  He showed portions of our classroom management session from several years ago, and I began to realize that the teachers I had presented to probably didn’t really care how old I was, or how much teaching experience I had because I was knowledgeable about technology (an area which many of them greatly feared). 

What upset these teachers is that I could not give them a “magic button” to press that would clear up the discipline problems they were having with students (which they felt were related to the laptops).  They wanted an easy answer… not what I had to tell them which made them question the relevancy of their lessons.

In reviewing the presentation, I think it still holds true today.  We determined that there are four major pieces which must be present in order to effectively integrate laptops into the classroom.

  1. Student Perceived Relevance
  2. Student Responsibility
  3. Instructional Design
  4. Teacher Watchfulness

I have linked the PowerPoint presentation so you can find out more about each piece (I wanted to embed a Slideshare presentation but it is Websensed here).

I would love to hear about the journey from others who have implemented one-to-one technology.  We are all in this together, so we might as well help each other out!

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Explore posts in the same categories: 1 to 1, Academy, Classroom Management, IISD, Laptops, Professional Development, reflection, Staff Development

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