Magazine article Technology & Learning

Preparing Teachers for One-to-One: Ten Tips to Help Educators Working in Laptop Environments Thrive

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Preparing Teachers for One-to-One: Ten Tips to Help Educators Working in Laptop Environments Thrive

Article excerpt

More districts are turning to one-to-one computing, which puts a laptop in the hands of every student. The ambitious undertaking can bring challenges when it comes to training teachers how to use the technology--and how to teach students to use it.

In 2005 Springfield Public Schools in Springfield, Oregon, provided Apple laptops for 300 middle school students. Tom Lindly, technology services manager for the 11,000-student district, shares his thoughts about readying teachers for one-to-one.

PLOT YOUR STRATEGY.

Don't overwhelm teachers. Plan how to get them used to the idea of one-to-one computing fairly carefully. Start out small with something fun that has broad appeal, Lindly suggests. For Springfield, it was a one-week summer session on digital photos.

GIVE YOURSELF SOME LEAD TIME.

Districts need to give teachers time to get accustomed to the new equipment before it goes to students. Teachers don't need to be experts, but they need to be comfortable. Springfield started its training nine months ahead, but a year to a year and a half would have been ideal, Lindly says.

INVOLVE TEACHERS IN KEY DECISIONS REGARDING SOFTWARE.

Pick what subject you want to zero in on first--for one district, it might be literacy, while for another it might be math. Then get the teachers who will be using the software to be the ones evaluating it for possible purchase. The outcome will be that the software gets more use, Lindly says.

DIFFERENTIATE INSTRUCTION.

It's an education buzz word, but differentiation really does have meaning when it comes to computer training, Lindly says. Teachers come into a one-to-one initiative with a range of skills. Districts should structure training so that it's interesting for all--for example, have a stable of knowledgeable people on hand so they can work individually with those who are struggling, Lindly says.

USE YOUR SKILLED TEACHERS AS TRAINERS.

Teachers will learn better from teachers than from techies, Lindly says. Springfield trained a few teachers first, who in turn taught their peers.

Teachers make training relevant by demonstrating how software is going to affect student achievement. For example, Springfield uses KidBiz3000, a reading and writing program for grades 2-5 by Achieve3000. Teacher-trainers didn't just demonstrate how the application works; they also showed how it could be used effectively in the classroom. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.