“We wanted to be able to offer our students and teachers a tablet device that would do all of the computing they were used to with a laptop, then take that further.” – Kimberly Evelti, USA
In the seven years Kim Evelti has been at the Williston Northampton School, a Microsoft Innovative School, she’s witnessed a revolution in the way technology is applied in – and outside of – the classroom. But the school’s recent move to 1:1 computing, using Surface tablets with Windows 8, has been the boldest step on that journey to date. Daily Edventures spoke to Williston Northampton CIO Andrew Shelffo just last month about the experience, and recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Evelti about the careful planning and implementation that has made this transformative change possible.
Adopting a 1:1 approach to technology can be extremely rewarding, but it does require some work, and Evelti has some great insights on making the process as smooth as possible. “Because it’s not really possible for one person to teach 550 students how to use a piece of technology,” Evelti says, “our strategy was to mobilize the teachers with the resources they needed in the classroom.”
That process began at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Teachers were given the devices along with some preliminary training to learn a few simple tasks. Over the summer, teachers were able to experiment and play with the tablets in a low-pressure environment. Notes Evelti, “When they came back in the fall, they were ready.”
At the start of the new school year, teachers received three to four hours of additional training, and were asked to create content for the online learning management system (LMS) as a starting point. Evelti’s job was to work with the faculty, and she did that by checking in with each department on a regular basis to answer questions, troubleshoot issues and identify best practices that could be shared both within the department and with others.
A few early learnings? Classroom management in a 1:1 environment has proven to be less of a challenge than expected, Evelti says, “as long as you’re vigilant and aware of what is possible with the devices.” And OneNote has proven to be an invaluable tool, made even better with the help of pen-based functionality. This is especially true for math, the sciences and the arts, all disciplines that aren’t served as well by keyboard-based functionality.
In terms of overcoming resistance from teachers, Evelti says that it starts with a really great tool. And once their colleagues are on board and experiencing the benefits of 1:1 classrooms, most educators are quick to adapt.
Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Kimberly Evelti.