“[The most exciting innovation happening in education today] is transforming to a student- centered ecosystem and realigning teachers’ pedagogy to completely support the personalized approach.” – USA

The next Microsoft Partners in Learning Virtual University webinar takes place on November 7th from 7-8 a.m. PST and 5-6 p.m. This session focuses on 1-to-1 Learning: The Next Wave, and features global experts including Leslie Wilson, Lord Knight, Neus Lorenzo and Pamela Livingston. The dynamic discussion will cover some of the most exciting innovations in 1:1 education today. For more details on this important dialogue, and to register, click here.

One-to-one education isn’t new. The first program calling itself “one-to-one” started in Australia in 1990, and the practice has been evolving – under many names — around the globe ever since. For Leslie Wilson, who spent over three decades as a teacher, principal and administrator, 1:1 learning is key to unleashing the potential of every student. And it was the inspiration behind the organization she founded, the One-to-One Institute.

The Institute is a national non-profit committed to bring 1:1 technology to K-12 classrooms. They offer professional training, consultation and a set of best practices to ensure that leadership, infrastructure and instruction are aligned to make 1:1 implementation not only successful, but also sustainable.

The mission of Wilson’s organization – to transform education – is undoubtedly ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of big thinking that is moving the needle when it comes to education reform. Wilson believes that educators must be, “regaining a deep commitment and practice for students’ creativity and production, instead of regurgitation and consumerism.”

Wilson has a unique understanding of what’s working – and what isn’t – when it comes to education technology. She is part of the team of experts who started Project Red, a wide-ranging research initiative designed to examine the effectiveness of current efforts to integrate technology into the classroom. The results inspired the Project Red team to form a transformational learning community to help accelerate the progress in this key area of learning.

Today, Wilson shares her thoughts on the advantages of a 1:1 approach, and how her broad and deep experience as an educator has informed her work today. You can hear more from Leslie and other 1:1 experts, and also have a chance to win a copy of Amazing Grades, a worldwide goodwill book with 101 authors from 13 countries, including a special bonus chapter by our own Nasha Fitter. Be sure to register here, and join us for what promises to be an engaging and information-packed session.

What drew you to the field of education? Why is it important to you?

In 2nd grade I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be part of young peoples’ learning and
growing.  Helping every individual child is the ticket to our future on all fronts.

Can you tell us about a favorite teacher, or someone who made a difference in your education?

Sister Margaret Mary encouraged me to go to college, realize, understand my personal being.  Her guidance changed my course of life.

Please describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education.  What has changed as a result of your work? 

For 31 years in public education as teacher, high school principal and central office administrator, I served as a change agent – transforming learning and teaching to a personalized, student-centered ecosystem on all fronts including designing and building new bricks and mortar around learners and 21st century attributes.  As a result of my work, I reformed a high school 25 years forward in 7 years – resulting in many recognitions but most of all having created an environment of rigor and personal efficacy for every learner.  I have led a state-wide 1:1 program and co-founded the One-to-One Institute – providing professional learning, services and consultancies to districts, schools, states and emerging markets – in best practices for moving to 21st century learning environments where each learner has personal, portable technologies to power up personalized learning. We have moved the needle forward in our mission in great ways. 

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?

We are paperless.  We use online resources across the board – and sometimes, flash drives.  Resources are stored and retrieved in the cloud or via website.  Some are unique to organizations and others, like our forum, is live for anyone who is a member.  We have around 3,000 participants.  We engage a blended model of services – face-to-face,
virtual, online collaborations/networks, webex, webinar, telepresence, Skype, etc. 

In your opinion, how has the use of apps, cellphones, and mobile devices changed education? And your work? 

More expeditious, efficient, productive. More just-in-time information, services, sharing across the board.  Immediate feedback and interactions with others.  Access to global experts, knowledge bases, ability to solve real life problems with real life solutions.

In your view, what is the most exciting innovation happening in education today? 

Transforming to a student centered ecosystem and realigning teachers’ pedagogy to completely support the personalized approach. The engagement of real life problems and needs for student research, discovery and solutions. The focus on deep thinking, sharing, collaboration, and analysis that fosters learners’ creativity and productivity.

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why? 

Regaining a deep commitment and practice for students’ creativity and production instead of regurgitation and consumerism.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?

A personal, portable device with robust functionality for multi-tasking, multi-media, discovery, exploration, research and collaboration.  The power of that tool can facilitate a learner’s personal progress and advancement while developing all universal skills.

What is your region doing well currently to support education?

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is focused on making hard decisions to restore our economy by increasing education standards, eliminating road blocks (like seat time), and taking a non-partisan approach to his work.

How must education change in your country to ensure that students are equipped to thrive in the 21st century? 

Regions and districts must consolidate and collaborate to recapture funds to reallocate to ed tech and teacher re-tool priorities.  Those funds and new priorities require acquisition and effective implementation of ed tech, teacher professional learning, and establishing rigorous expectations for each learner to excel.

 About Leslie Wilson, CEO, One-to-One Institute, Author of Project RED

Michigan, USA


  • Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
  • Current residence:  West Bloomfield, Michigan
  • Education: University of Michigan; Wayne State University; Eastern Michigan University
  • Website I check every day: Too many to list.
  • Person who inspires me most: My Mom; Bob Lentz; Martin Luther King; Barack Obama.
  • Favorite childhood memory:  Visiting my grandparents in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula every August.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Phoenix, Arizona – Hosting Southwest 1:1 Leadership Summit.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? With friends last Sunday telling stories about our adult childrenand their comments on life.
  • Favorite book: Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
  • Favorite music: Justin Timberlake; Motown; R&B; Jazz.
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? To go to college; to become a high school principal.
  • Your favorite quote or motto: Be present; give more than you expect to receive; to whom much is given – much is expected.


Interested in 1-to-1 learning?

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report, analyses, insights and commentary from qualified experts on today’s
most relevant topics for teachers, professors, and anyone interested in
following hot topics on education. Educators will be encouraged to contribute
their ideas and help build the growing Hot Topic community with insightful

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