One-to-one technology implementations often receive bad press in the media. So it’s been fascinating to be part of a 1:1 iPad implementation at my own school and observe and participate in the process first hand and see the impacts.
My recent article in Internet @ Schools summarizes some of my observations. But I will add that what has transformed is how we work — how students work and learn, how teachers work and learn. And I do think there is something different about using a tablet like the iPad versus a laptop. Maybe it’s because a laptop is a device they’re familiar with, but using a different sort of technology forces some creative problem solving, or maybe it’s because a tablet becomes a camera, notebook, video camera, writing device, textbook, all in one.. Another shift is that the lack of wireless printers at our campus has also really forced a more paperless climate on us, and teachers and students have become savvy at exchanging documents paperlessly.
As I mentioned in the article, I think the most transformative part of the process is how the newness of the device created a climate where all of us were learning together — that created a more democratic learning process for our campus because everyone was thrust into the position of “learner.” It was like starting a new school in that sense.
We have work to do and hurdles to deal with, but it will continue to be a collaborative learning process, and that’s the shift that has been most significant.