Today I attended Elizabeth Helfant’s “1:1 for Everyone” session at the Lausanne Laptop Institute 2012 #li12. We talked a great deal about the content, pedagogy, and technology needs that may be addressed alongside a school’s decision to go 1:1. A common (or not-s0-common) practice is to create a “canon of technology” for the whole school. It’s a great idea! However, I suspect that the messaging often comes across as “The powers-that-be have deemed permissible the following applications:….”
What if, rather than a “list of sanctioned and supported technology,” we created a tiered technology toolkit?
- Tier 1: “In order to be employed here, you must know these.”–This would include your classroom management software, email platform, and grade reporting mechanism. This should include VERY few applications (those that you need in order get done the bare minimum with and for your students). These need to be few in number because you want the emphasis not to be on what they must learn; rather on what they may learn.
- Tier 2: “Try to learn two of these applications…”–We want to encourage exploration, experimentation among our faculty. So rather than mandate and limit opportunities, present them as…opportunities!
- Tier 3: “We (the school) lift you up as a leader-learner if you integrate some of the following into your teaching practice.”–We need to celebrate those who venture into the unknown, who’s choice of technology leans toward the surrender of “sit n’ get” learning, an emphasis on student content creation. Put those wonderful web 2.0 tools in this category that put students in the driver’s seat.
Creating a tiered technology toolkit makes sense for many reasons:
- It limits the firehose of websites, software and apps.
- It allows the school to benchmark technology literacy for faculty and students.
- It gives faculty an idea of how and to what extent they can stretch their own learning.
- It allows interest-driven networks to grow organically among faculty.