Saturday, November 14, 2015

10 Questions That Must Be Answered When Going 1:1

1.  What types of mobile learning initiatives have other school districts

While planning a mobile initiative, start by looking at what has already been done.  Talk to neighboring school districts.  Find out what has worked well and what has not.  Reaching out on twitter is another possibility.  Following hashtags such as #mlearning, #slide2learn, #iOSedApp, #edtech and #edchat can be beneficial.  Educators on twitter are always willing to share their ideas and experiences.  Here is a list of educators on twitter that share their expertise on twitter: @web20classroom@tonyvincent, @iPodsibilities, @lkolb, @SNewco, @Ignatia@kylepace and @elemenous.

2.  Where is the funding coming from?
Many districts give up on mobile learning initiatives before they even gets started due to lack of funds.  It is important to be creative when thinking about funding.  School districts can look into E-Rate funding, local and national grants, local company contributions and help from their PTO. Sometimes starting small is the most important aspect.  Starting out with a pilot program can be very valuable for not only teachers but the students as well. 

3.  Is the initiative sustainable?
Everyday in the news you hear about a school district buying a ridiculous amount of devices.  Was this plan really thought out?  Will it last more than two years?  It is also important to think about upgrades and broken devices.  What is the cost of repairs, replacements and upgrades?

4.  How does the district plan on using the devices?
Are the students just using these devices for testing purposes in class, or are they going to be able to bring the devices home for personal use?  All teachers need to be onboard and be willing to make use of them on a daily basis.  Students need to know the importance of the device and the many ways this resource can be used. Will these devices follow the students throughout their educational career?  In many districts, students will use the same device throughout the entirety of their education. 

5.  What device is right for your student population?
Many schools go to device is the iPad, but it is important to look at all options and functionality. Some schools feel that Chrome Books are the better route for their students.  How will the students be using the devices?  Will a keyboard be needed?

6.  Is an Acceptable Use Policy set in place?
An acceptable use policy, also called a responsible use policy, must be set in place before the roll out of the program.  Students, teachers and parents need to have an understanding of what is expected in and outside of the classroom when using devices.  Acceptable Use Policy Resources via @cybraryman1

7.  Have the teachers bought into the idea of the initiative?
This is the fastest way to kill a mobile learning initiative.  All of the teachers need to be on board.  The students will follow the lead of the teachers.  If the teachers are positive, the students will enturn be more likely to have a positive outlook regarding the use of these devices. Once again, it is important to get a group of positive teachers involved in a pilot program.  These teachers can then help out the teachers that are more apprehensive about introducing mobile devices into their classroom.

8.  Where is the professional development going to come from?
I have found that the best professional development comes from teachers teaching teachers.  Before I began using mobile devices in my classroom, I had the opportunity watch it in action in a different classroom.  Visit other school districts that have had success!

9.  Are there technology leaders in each building that will keep the initiative   
going in a positive direction?
It is always important to have a go to technology leader that is willing to take the time to work with teachers that are not as tech savvy.

10.  What apps will the students benefit from using?
Resources for Apps in the classroom.
12 of the Best Math Apps for Kids via @TeachThought
50 of the Best Free Apps for Teachers via @TeachThought
APPitic: App Lists for Education via @APPitic