1:1?

Typically, I wake up early in the morning with my mind already working on ideas. I don’t really know when the focus on what I’m going to blog this morning clamps off that mushy thought flow that is my dream state, but the ideas start to emerge. It usually begins small, “So what exactly does a classroom look like, where ‘finding’ digital information has been integrated as a basic literacy skill?” But then they start getting bigger, and more ominous, “Is this country going to be able to afford the retirements that my wife and I hope to enjoy?”

Anyway, the real challenge is for any of these ideas to survive my first round of e-mail, the tasks that must be addressed immediately. Today it has…

I hate when I feel that I have not sufficiently answered a question. Part of it is being a teacher. Teachers must have good answers to questions. It’s part of how we define ourselves. But a few days ago, I was asked, “Should we be going to a 1:1 arrangement in our schools?”

Children with a TabletMy initial (and too glib) answer was, “It isn’t a matter of ‘if’. It’s ‘when’.” That being said, it’s a task I wouldn’t wish on a friend. First of all, it won’t work in a 20th century classroom. The formula is much more complex and the questions are too deep to think that simply putting laptop or tablet PCs in the hands of your students will make them smarter, and better prepare them for their future — and these very smart people knew that already.

The issue is, “What does tech support for a 1:1 environment look like?” It should be at the same time, completely reliable and completely invisible. But what does that look like. Also, the staff development is the real iceberg that will sink the ship, but what does the professional development look like. Do we teach teachers to integrate laptops into the teaching and learning, or do we help them to become so thoroughly literate in contemporary information skills, that they become inventors of their own integration strategies.

Perhaps one of the most important questions is, “What stories do you go out and tell your community to convince them that being ready for their future requires that children have convenient access to networked digital information?” This is the part that I most hope I sufficiently addressed for them?

The main bugaboo is the responsibility. I have no doubt that we will be going to 1:1. We have no choice. The alternative is to be so lacking in vision and dedication to our children and our future, that it would borderline on the criminal. I would rather it happen sooner than later, and there are certainly those loathsome among us who would latch on to any excuse to quash the expenditures that I believe are essential to our future.

But that’s just me and the 2¢ in my pocket.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.