5 Ideas Essential to #1to1Tech Learning Success

This article originally appeared at Partners in Learning – 1:1 Hot Topics.
It’s no secret that successful 1:1 learning goes beyond simply getting devices into the hands of students and teachers. Many schools have had 1:1 programs long enough that challenges have been identified. However, valuable solutions exist that can be put into place to help ensure such challenges don’t get in the way of a successful 1:1 learning implementation.
Here are five ideas essential to 1:1 learning success
1) Student, not device, driven
  • Start with students and learning, Put them front and center. Then determine what devices and resources will best meet the need. By doing this we alleviate challenges that teachers may encounter later on around not having the proper tools for learning goals. For example, a math teacher may find it important to have a tablet and Geometer’s Sketchpad for her class, while an English teacher who supports students in creating videos and PSAs might want a device and software that have heavy movie-making functionality.
2) Plan with (not for) educators
  • Teachers are an essential part of the deployment and implementation of 1:1 laptop programs. They should be part of the conversation from the start. Rather than having a one-to-one environment imposed upon them, have teachers apply for your technology budget dollars, share their plan, align it to goals and/or standards, and explain how they will measure success. When you do this you are empowering teachers to design instruction and use the tools and resources they feel will best meet the needs of their students.
3) Provide clear measurements and support for success
  • Often when technology is deployed in schools, success is measured simply by seeing that the devices are used. In some cases, the devices do not even enrich teaching and learning. Use an existing framework for optimal technology use, such as Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge (TPACK), The Tech Integration Matrix, or come up with your own.
4) Focus on teachers who want to soar
  • Provide devices for all teachers, but don’t force a teacher to use technology with their students. They’ll resent it. Instead, start with the teachers who are enthusiastic about using technology, provide them with opportunities to conduct and attend professional development, and give them a platform and opportunities to celebrate and shine.
5) See students as partners
  • Teachers often fear using technology because their students know more about its use than they do. That is a feature, not a bug! Educators are masters of pedagogy and we need to accept and embrace that we have students who are experts in using technology. Have an expert chart in your room indicating which students are expert in using various apps, software, and technology. Bring them into the conversation about ways students can meet learning goals in life, at school, and at home. Learning is always improved when students see that teachers respect their knowledge.
What has your experience been? Have you had to confront such challenges? Would these ideas be useful in your place of work? Do you have additional ideas for addressing challenges?

Fancier graphics, safer downloads, and more privacy controls

Today’s beta channel release includes a number of additions, as well as one subtraction!

First, we’ve made Chrome’s graphics snazzier. We’ve finished implementing support for hardware-accelerated 3D CSS, which allows web developers to apply slick 3D effects to web page content using CSS.

Second, we’ve taken Safe Browsing a step further. In addition to protecting you against malware and phishing websites, Chrome now warns you before downloading some types of malicious files. As mentioned on the Chromium blog in April, Chrome uses the same fancy algorithms for checking downloads as it does for checking websites, so Google can help protect you without ever needing to know the URLs you visit or the files you download.

Third, you now have more control over your online privacy. Many websites store information on your computer using forms of local data storage such as Flash Local Shared Objects (LSOs). In the past, you could only delete Flash LSOs using an online settings application on Adobe’s website, but we’ve worked closely with Adobe to allow you to delete Flash LSOs directly from Chrome’s settings. You can learn more in our post on the Chromium blog.

Fourth, we’ve improved screen reader support in Chrome. Many people who are blind or visually impaired use a screen reader, a special type of software that describes the contents of the screen using synthesized speech or braille. It’s a very important technology for people who would otherwise be unable to use a computer, so we’ve added preliminary support for many popular screen readers including JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver.

Finally, the subtraction: In this beta release, we’ve removed the Google Gears plug-in, as promised on the Google Gears blog in March. We’re excited about the potential of HTML5 to enable powerful web applications, and we hope that Google Gears rests in peace.

Why innovative educators should look down upon “Look Up”

If you know and love the power of social media, then someone who doesn't get it may have sent you the "Look Up" video below.

Video creator Gary Turk is a privileged white guy who features his privileged circle of buddies using the social media platform YouTube to whine that social media is making them feel lonely.

Boohoo Gary and friends.  Could it be you just picked the wrong friends?

You see unlike the physical world where you happen to be grouped by geography that often does not cut through barriers of poverty, race, or religion, social media breaks down those barriers and provides opportunities to connect with others regardless of where you happen to have been born. Innovative educators know that social media gives our children opportunities and experiences never before possible. Young people who can't afford to visit other countries can connect and learn with people around the world. Social media gives teachers like Courtney Woods the opportunity to bring experts into the lives of her students.

Gary ends his video telling viewers to stop watching YouTube, but our students have discovered that they can teach and learn anything they can imagine on the resource that Turk and friends waste their time on. Innovative educators support and empower their students to use social media for social action like social media based and founded groups such as Student Voice are doing.

The problem with Gary Turk, and those like him who share videos like this, is that they simply don't appreciate the vast opportunities and connections afforded to social media savvy students. Perhaps Gary Turk was born with these connections, but not everyone was born into Gary Turk's world. Innovative educators have students who are living in the real world, A world where we recognize that if you want to run for office, run a business, or change how things are run where you live, work, or play then it is necessary to be savvy users of social media.

The Gary Turks of the world don't understand the value of having friends and followers whose minds may have connected even though they have not shared the same physical space. They don't get that you don't need to see someone face-to-face to admire and share ideas.

And really Gary and friends…Is it social media's fault you're disconnected or is technology the scapegoat for how you'd be regardless?

Whatever the answer, the most important thing Gary Turk is missing is this:
I want more »