Handing a golf club to someone doesn’t automatically make them a professional golfer, giving students their own devices in class won’t automatically make them better learners. With the implementation of any new program to ensure effectiveness, practices and procedures need to be put into place.
These practices and procedures should begin at the district level. While administrators are the ones purchasing the devices for every student in their district, they often fail to roll these programs out beyond just paying the bill.
Teachers report a lack of communication when it comes to what technology is available to them, little to no training on new technology, and conflicting messages after distributing devices to all students they often say that all students should not be using the technology at the same time.
It’s no wonder that while more devices are being put into the hands of students each year, technology implementation isn’t always successful at improving student learning.
To improve student results after a 1:1 device integration, several important steps need to be taken.
First, school districts need to be intentional about the devices and the software programs they purchase, making sure that they’ll meet the needs of teachers and students. Second, it’s imperative that districts set up timely and relevant training for the entire education team so they become proficient with the technologies. Third, districts need to invest in building infrastructure, fixing broken devices, supporting teachers when the technology fails, and making upgrades to wireless networks. Lastly, administrators need to communicate a clear and concise message on technology procedures to teachers, parents, and students so everyone understands the expected role that technology plays in and out of the classroom.
District administrators aren’t the only ones who can work to improve student results after 1:1 technology integration. Teachers also play a role in the successful integration.
Teachers need to determine which devices and programs work best in their classroom and with students. They should also set up classroom routines and expectations when it comes to the proper use of technology during class and review these throughout the school year. Teaching their students on the devices and programs they use in class is critical. While many students have the intuitiveness to grasp this information, you can’t assume every student does. And finally, teachers need to differentiate digital lessons to draw student attention to the curriculum and let students work at their own pace and at their own levels.
Technology integration is pivotal when it comes to building skills and preparing students for the future. As technology continues to play a greater role in education and the work environment, knowledge, confidence and skills built in school will transfer to our students being well prepared when they graduate.