February 14, 2013
What is 1:1?
Simple question, right? Basically it just means 1 computer (technology device) for every student. Well I guess, but I see it as much more than that. It is a complete change of thought. It should be about opening the world up to our kids and letting them enjoy learning. I was reminded of this last night as my 2 year old, Daisy, was playing a game on my wife's Kindle. It was a game where she had to put the pieces of a puzzle onto a picture to form the picture. She was in heaven. Every time she got a puzzle right she clapped and cheered, pure joy. The game covered not just simple shapes, but multiple shaped pieces, colors, hand eye coordination, letter recognition, and words. There is no way any worksheet could have exposed her to all those things and motivated her in such a way.
One of the things I have learned in our year and a half of 1:1 with our kids is that kids learn better when they are interested and they can see their successes. I know that is kind of a no brainer, but it is amazing when you actually see it in action. I have two girls in my class that, let's say, are not the greatest mathematicians and their confidence was bottom of the barrel. This year I have seen an amazing transition. Their confidence is growing at an amazing rate. We just did a round of group projects and their projects were amazing, especially compared to where they started on the first day when they walked into my class. They were so excited when they graded out with me that they jokingly said, "Maybe we should teach the class?" I smiled and said, "Maybe you should." So we decided in a couple of weeks that they could create an activity where they lead the class. They were ecstatic. They both told me the next day they went home and told their parents.
Those two girls are just two stories of many that now happen in my class. Things like that didn't happen when I did worksheets and gave tests every two weeks. It is the growing experience that changes in your kids when they are 1:1. We don't all have to be in lock step with each other like a chain gang.
I love teaching in a 1:1 school. Could I go back to not every kid having a computer? Yeah, I could still make it work, but there is no way it could be as effective. When kids get computers, too many teachers find a digital way to use their textbooks. Sorry, to me that is not truly a 1:1 environment. Maybe technically it is, but the essence of the concept is missing. The learning, laughing, and smiling on Daisy's face reminded me of that.