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Sunday, May 26, 2013


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Monday, April 22, 2013

1-to-1 - Now and Then

I’m prepar­ing for a trip to school in South Korea in the process of a robust 1-to-1 pro­gram and reflect­ing on the past 7+ years work­ing with schools tak­ing this jour­ney.  Here are some over­all observations:
1. It’s still about the peo­ple – the edu­ca­tors, the stu­dents, the par­ents, and admin­is­tra­tors – and mak­ing sure voices are heard, stake­hold­ers are brought into all con­ver­sa­tions. Deci­sions should start with these types of ques­tions – How will [stu­dents] ben­e­fit and par­tic­i­pate? How will [teach­ers] lead? How will [par­ents] sup­port? Then ask the ques­tions again but switch the stake­holder name.
2. Every pro­gram is dif­fer­ent – because each school’s mis­sion, cul­ture, and goals are dif­fer­ent. Ensur­ing align­ment to the school or dis­trict is key.
3. Stu­dents need to be empow­ered and should be part of the plan­ning and dis­cus­sions, and not just as the tar­get of the program.
4. There is no such thing as over plan­ning or over com­mu­ni­cat­ing. Plans will change and be fluid. Every­one will fill in the silence with their own inter­pre­ta­tion if there is not enough communication.
5. Hard­ware and soft­ware keeps get­ting bet­ter, more flex­i­ble, and eas­ier to use.
6. An online learn­ing com­mu­nity is vital  — one that every­one can access – to elim­i­nate unin­ten­tional silos of learn­ing, clut­tered email and frac­tured stu­dent experiences.
7. Fur­ni­ture is improv­ing – check this out:
8.  Wifi is bet­ter but a net­work audit is still de rigeur. Most hard­ware ven­dors will help out with this at a low price in hopes of get­ting the contract.
9. Learner-centricity and per­son­al­ized learn­ing is what 1-to-1 is all about. What a plea­sure to see it writ­ten into so many school 1-to-1 plans.
10. Logis­tics still count; lap­tops still break; insur­ance is still needed; elec­tric­ity is a fact of 1-to-1 life.
11. Par­ents are our best part­ners; when they embrace 1-to-1 in their home prac­tices much of the bat­tle is won.
12. Relat­ing 1-to-1 to pre­vi­ous fac­ulty work can be a smart move. One school mod­eled their pend­ing 1-to-1 in part on dis­cus­sions with their fac­ulty sev­eral years back on “what is a 21st cen­tury class­room.” The ideas of their fac­ulty then became the impor­tant frame­work for pro­vid­ing lap­tops to students.
It’s so great to see that 1-to-1 con­tin­ues to flourish.
- Pamela Livingston
(Also posted on

Saturday, February 23, 2013

1-to-1, Flipped Learning, and Online Communities

When I was first speaking with schools about 1-to-1 not long after edition 1 of my book (now in its 2nd edition) was published, two big questions were – Is your school/district wireless? Are you providing students with email accounts?  Back then, not every school could respond to both questions in the affirmative.

Now we are seeing more ubiquitous devices including tablets, laptops, smart phones and the complexity that ensues. This previous post went into some of the issues faced by schools when introducing BYOD, the comments provide more depth and ideas as well. Any 1-to-1 or BYOD school is wired now as it would make so sense otherwise.

There’s also the concept of flipped learning – an idea even more feasible when students all possess some type of device that is as mobile as they are and which is used to learn, review and synthesize content away from the classroom followed by more indepth social, hands-on learning when back in the classroom. To me, it’s all about learner centricity – if done right. This is a great thing and what we have always wanted – the learner has the resources at his/her fingertips, learning is continously available – and the user-created artifacts of learning are organized and available to the learner at any time.

However, the piece that is also needed is some type of online learning community. Rather than email, which we all know has become a boondoggle in our lives and which students are moving away from in droves, an online learning community can offer a safe, contained space for teachers and students.  

I’ll be presenting at NCCE on Friday, March 1 at 2:30 a session entitled “A ‘Cloud’ for Flipped Classrooms” which is all about how implementing flipped classrooms, or really most technology integration projects, ought to have the cornerstone of an online learning community. The benefits of a learning community include:

  •   Providing a central space for learning that extends the classroom
  •    Eliminating “Web 2.0 site of the week” syndrome which results in
    •   login fatigue (trying to remember which ID and password to use)
    •   fractured student experiences (having multiple interfaces to know and navigate)
  •      Preventing email clutter
    •   Rather than the teacher maintaining lists of internal or external emails, the community uses its own internal messaging
    •  Messaging can include sending student documents, marking them up, and returning to the student via attachments – trackable and centralized
  •     Threaded discussions
    •   Real discussions can occur and be followed
  •      Promotes collaboration
    • Students can work as a whole class or in smaller groups with teacher oversight
  •    Increased student accountability
    • No lost paper – the Internet is everywhere – even at McDonald’s!
    •   Date and time is stamped with work turned in
  •       Shared resources
    •  Everyone sees the links, the resources, the photos, podcasts, etc.
  •      Assignment posting, turning in
    • The assignments and the work are centralized
  •     Class calendar
    •    A calendar for the class is available

Full disclosure: I manage a great (IMHO!) product that does all this. But this list applies in general as well. 1-to-1 needs an online learning community to unleash its true potential.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome!

-        Pamela Livingston
    (This was also posted at