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Building 1-to-1 Learning Communities

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On February 25, 2013 I had the opportunity to present our 1-to-1 technology initiative journey thus far at Muir Lake School at the Google Apps For Education Alberta Summit. It was great to present alongside Kelly Arnold and Charlene Daub and share our learning with others. I considered it a great privilege to present and share our work with the educators who attended and as expected thoroughly enjoyed the experience; however, what I didn’t expect was how much learning I would get out of it. In preparing this presentation I am convinced more than ever that schools need to become 1-to-1 learning environments. It is not about having technology for the sake of technology, it is about the opportunities it provides when used properly. If you are teaching in a school that is not 1-to-1, you should change that. Here are 11 reasons why:

  1. Our world is 1-to-1. Our schools should be too. If they are not, they are in danger of becoming irrelevant. 
  2. Literacy is changing. When students leave our school, they should not be illiterate
  3. Learning should not be about the technology. The technology is merely a tool. In order to keep “learning objectives first” the technology must be invisible. Taking students into a lab twice a week for 45 minute blocks is not adequate. Put the technology at students’ fingertips to use whenever it is the best tool for the job. Watch what happens.
  4. Students should produce content, not just consume it. If you think that the internet is just a place to “look stuff up”, you are missing the best part. Give the students the time with tools to create and watch them innovate.
  5. It opens the door for students to collaborate within a learning community from all over the world. Let them collaborate and learn from others.
  6. It will improve their reading and writing. It provides the students with a voice to an authentic audience. If they are writing for only the teacher they want it to be “good enough”. If they are writing for an audience, they want it to be good. Use Google Apps and blog.
  7. It makes learning transparent for parents. Technology removes the barriers of time and space and invites parents to transcend the 4 walls of the classroom and be involved in their child’s learning in a way that fits their schedule. Parents shouldn’t wait until parent/teacher interviews for an update. They should be part of their child’s learning journey. This video changed my conversation with my daughter about her learning.
  8. It helps us guide students to creating a positive digital identity. This will open up doors of opportunity in their future and prevent doors from being closed. Have you googled yourself?
  9. It saves time for teachers. It is not about doing more. It is about doing things differently.
  10. It makes assessment authentic. There are so many different tools for students to demonstrate their learning (e-portfolio, blogging, audio, video, pictures, graphics etc.). Give them the time to access them.
  11. It motivates and engages students. What would you rather do, write a multiple choice test or create a video?


  1. Diane Lander says:

    Travis, thank you for providing this overview of Muir Lake’s 1-to-1 project. The blog posts and videos you’ve embedded have really helped articulate your story. I particularly enjoyed listening to your students talking about how their learning is enhanced when technology is readily accessible to them. They clearly see that learning is still the number 1 goal, and that technology is a tool that helps them to do it more effectively.

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