One to One Laptop Implementation

Let me preface this post by saying that I have no formal focused training on technology integration in the classroom, but consider myself to be somewhat on the cutting edge, especially in our little slice of the world.  We (our 7th and 8th graders) have the fortunate task of piloting a one to one laptop program in our small little school.

Anyway, I have started this blog to discuss what works, and what doesn’t.  Also, it was part of a professional development project…anyway…

Our school, a 3 room school, which serves as it’s own district, has 21 students, 3 full-time certified teachers, and other support staff.  Yes, we are small.  Our students traditionally perform quite well on state assessments, and we are in the 90% or higher each year in our AYP.

So why are we looking to change what is working?  I don’t think that we are looking to change what is working, but to continue to provide our students with the best possible education that we can.  We are led by a county superintendent, Jules Waber, who has always invited us to be leaders in what we do in the classroom, rather than followers.  For example, in 1999, he came into my classroom with a neat little tool, a Palm m130, and challenged me to find ways to integrate the technology into the classroom.  The students took to them like they were born with them in their hands, using them for daily planners, beaming notes to and fro collaborating on assignments, finding apps that they could use, and even convincing their teacher that they needed the keyboards so they could do their daily writing assignments on them.  They were not so “native” to me and I struggle with the clunkiness of the devices.  I sought out resources, talked to others who were using them with success, but I didn’t buy into the value vs. effort of these little devices.

Fast forward ahead ten years, and many professional development workshops, and now I have convinced the school board or our little school to implement a one to one laptop program (I know, small bananas compared to many, but still one to one).  So far, (5 weeks) I think the program is going quite well.  As I said, our school is small, so I am also the tech department in our school, as well as the teacher of all subjects.  My time is limited, so I need something that works without too much fixing.  We purchased the Dell mini notebooks, and have been very happy with them.  We chose the XP operating system, and have been using open source software for our implementation needs.

We have also adopted a new “pilot” Math curriculum, Aleks Math.  I have been very impressed with student progress thus far in the new Math curriculum.  It is truly individualized instruction which is data driven.  After all, isn’t that the big push in education, use all the data that we are collecting to influence our teaching?

I am also looking for other web hosted dynamic curriculum for other subject areas if any of you have any suggestions.  I have also been dabbling with games in education but feel a bit overwhelmed: http://edurealms.com/ , http://edugamesblog.wordpress.com/ ,  http://epistemicgames.com/eg/ , http://www.educationarcade.org/ , just to list a few.  My class is also involved in a pilot program with PBS called “Mission US”.  Sorry, no formal info out yet as the launch date is 10/05/09.  More to come!

So what do you think, am I in over my head?  Nothing like trial by fire, eh!

D. Phillips

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~ by Dean Phillips on October 2, 2009.

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