After a relaxing summer, it’s been right back into the thick of things at the start of this school year!
As of 3 days ago, our entire Middle School and High School is 1:1! We rolled out tablets to the last two grade levels (grades 6 and 7) on the first day of school and there is no looking back!
A quick recap:
- In August 2007, about half of the teachers received tablets.
- In August 2008, all teachers and students in grades 10 and 11 received tablets.
- In August 2009 all teachers and students in grades 8 – 12 (three new grade levels) received tablets.
- In August 2010 all teachers and all students in the Middle and High School received tablets. (In additions, students in grade 5 will be receiving tablets as well but that is not my area of responsibility.)
This is a process that has been a long time in the making and I am very excited about it! It’s also kept me quite busy, both to end the year in June and to begin this year.
One of the things that we decided we could improve as a school is giving more support and training to students from the get go. We’ve always done a basic training session and then let the students go straight to class. While this maximizes class time, I also found that many teachers were spending a lot of time teaching the same tech skills in their classes. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but it was getting in the way of the learning.
So I came up with a plan. All students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 have been on a modified intensive technology curriculum for the first three days of school. Instead of math, science, english or humanities, they have been learning how to use their tablets, learning how to use OneNote 2010, having lessons on cyberbullying and cybersafety (thanks to the CyberSmart.org curriculum!) and having lessons on using NoodleTools and MLA referencing.
It was a bit of a nightmare trying to coordinate the schedules for 9 homerooms (3 at each grade level) but the middle school teachers have been great. I’ve been alternating between helping to deliver lessons, lending support as other teachers deliver lessons and just watching. By all accounts, the students are doing a great job of adapting. Of course, we always knew they would.
Now comes the harder part: getting the teachers to adapt to and implement a new learning environment!