Research on 1:1 Failures
The promise of 1:1 computing has captured educational imaginations for over 20 years. Why is attaining that vision so elusive? In 2010, Project RED, the largest such study (997 schools), cited three top reasons:
- Administrators fail to ensure technology integration by all teachers.
- Administrators fail to provide regular professional learning time for teachers.
- Teachers fail to use technology in class for daily student-centered learning.(4)
These failures result in “the 1:1 plateau,” where not enough teachers can and will design and manage effective 1:1 learning environments. Their peers either abandon the attempt, are mired in power struggles (attempting to control what students do on their machines), or plan only low-level applications (substituting computers for other methods, but with no significant improvements).
This is painful for students and teachers, and unacceptable to stakeholders.
Project RED's study clarified the requirements for effective 1:1 professional learning:
- It must succeed with most teachers, even those who are averse to changes in practice.
- It must be designed and resourced for ongoing personal and group learning rather than in-service events alone, and
- It must focus equally on pedagogy and technology, on lesson and unit design as well as on software fluency.
Some schools can afford to hire consultants with the expertise and flexibility to address all of these areas in open-ended contracts. Others must supplement in-service days with home-grown (and buggy) or pre-packaged (and generic) online courses. However, the teachers who most need technology professional development are often unsuccessful with online learning, even when excellently designed and highly relevant. Schools need something in the middle: not so pricey, yet available and adaptable, and informed by what works locally.
Every school has "early technology adopters" who can be positioned to lead the way in a new 1:1. Some of these teachers already play technology integration and coaching roles. However, techies and non-techies do not speak the same language and view their work worlds very differently. This divide is called "the Chasm" and presents a seemingly impenetrable limit to what peer mentors can achieve on their own.
Going 121's Solution
To help manage the paradigm changes required of faculty that Project RED found in successful 1:1 initiatives, G121 invites teachers to choose among different trainer and trainee roles, and commit only to those options that fit their readiness levels, availability, and teaching assignments.
Going 121's a la carte menu includes a full-team course option, self-directed learning paths that build personal portfolios to demonstrate and reflect on achievements, tech mentoring that builds bridges between early technology adopters and teachers who are more reluctant, and principal mentoring to support 1:1 leadership.
Going 121 also provides an activity framework to support greater collaboration and interdependence for the entire faculty, developing a Community of Practice to sustain 1:1 transformation, helping teachers at different stages of fluency and buy-in participate in interdependent roles.
Going121 differentiates by role and readiness, while maintaining an interdependent team focus. This dual approach is designed to prevent the “1:1 Plateau” where an unacceptably large number of faculty opt out or remain ineffective at leading 1:1 learning environments. Shepherding teacher participation from course cohort to community of practice, G121 helps teachers grow past individual barriers to find success in their new 1:1 classrooms. Three segments of teacher participation are considered in the solution design:
- Pre-qualified technology innovators and early adopters volunteer serve in leadership positions as Course Mentors and Tech Coaches, facilitating the course for their peers and providing technical support as needed. Before the course begins, a train-the-trainer course prepares these teachers to support faculty who struggle with new technology.
- Tech-savvy early majority teachers refine their skills and share model lessons and materials with their peers, learning from local success rather than consultant reports. Course tutorials offer performance assessments so that teachers who need less help can skip them if indicated.
- Tech-averse late majority teachers receive ongoing access to eLearning tutorials that train them to use the software to build and manage lessons and activities in all core content areas. Course Coaches provide technical support to these teachers (through Google Hangout desktop conferencing) and instructional coaching and handholding (sharing local models and resources).