Roll ’em Out!

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 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!

6 thoughts on “Roll ’em Out!

  • August 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Hey mate,

    Glad to here the implementation is going well. Missing our well organised portal (I mean it!). Remember the days of shared, networked folders? Oh dear!

  • August 20, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I do remember those days. Oh dear, indeed! But don’t worry too much. You’ve got the experience and the vision to lead your new school into the light! Maybe you should try to make yourself into the Moodle expert on campus: you can run your classes that way and hope that others want to join you…

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  • August 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I think that it’s a great idea to front load some of the skills and avoid repetition between classes that way. I’ve found that it helps to have times along the way to do a refresher on some of the responsibilities and expectations for using technology.

  • August 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

    @Damianne R. President Thanks for stopping by! We’re only a week into school but I think (hope?) that all teachers will see the dividends of our work later in the year. One of the things I always try to stress is that sometimes things may be slow to start out but by taking the time to do and teach it right, that time (and more!) should be made up in the end.

    I’m in total agreement about the need for some refreshers. When I pitched this week to the middle school teachers, I was adamant that we would need to continue to visit topics such as cyberbullying and cybersafety both in advisory lessons and in their classrooms as teachers design learning experiences that require it.

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