How to set up a secondary 1:1 programme….a one page guide

So, we launched our programme last week with our current year 7 students and to date, touch wood, there have been no major hitches. I thought it would be a good moment to review the process in the form of a one -stop “how to” guide, for those of you who maybe considering embarking on the journey in your own high school/secondary school.


Research into device and uses of the devices in your own context.

Budgetary allocation: whole school, departmental considerations and training

Establishing a ICT support dept and an ICT pedagogy whole school coordinator position

Subject research in departments on which devices to use and how best to use them as part of teaching and learning.

Establishing relationships with distributors/manufacturers 

Trial of potential devices

Devices should be available for staff and students alike to trial at home and in class. Centralised feedback / comments book.

Decision on devices made by the slt after consultation with staff and students.

Policy developments

Writing the whole school uses policy

Writing the day to day expectations for students in school, when using the devices 

Clarifying insurance status for students coming into school with chosen devices.

Pedagogic developments

Each departments appoint a 1:1 subject coordinator to look at adapting the existing curriculum for 1:1 use for the year the programme starts. These coordinators to have access to the chosen devices and a “sacred” time to meet with the ICT whole school pedagogical coordinator, in order to receive training and to cascade this training to their depts.

Heads of depts to look at updating assessment policy and academic expectation/ homework policies in the light of the use of chosen devices.

Whole school PD on teaching with devices, 21 C learning and student centered pedagogy.


Classrooms equipped with lockers and charging facilities for the chosen devices.

Security cameras.

Building or establishing of a specific ICT support center for students using the devices for 1:1.

Testing and improving the wifi

Communication with the community

Share the long term and short term plan with the year groups concerned, with an opportunity for Q & A. Review policies and day-to-day expectations with parents and build in a review meeting for the mid-point of the first year of the programme.

Picking up the devices

Specific dates and places prior to the start of the school year.

Clarity on procedures for loss/damages/ replacements

Parents to sign a waver of responsibility for devices whilst in use at school.

Day before the start of term

PD overview for all staff.

Regular meeting with 1:1 coordinators established.

1:1 coordinators feedback a part of dept meetings.

1:1 best practice a built in part of ” best practice” sessions of weekly staff meetings.

Whole year group induction workshop: How to use the tablet, what are the key platforms and apps, subject by subject, reminder of expectations, checking EVERYTHING is labeled. 

Mid term review

Create a means of students, staff and parents reviewing the process so far.

Working with 1:1 coordinators on planning for next years new cohort and the move of the current cohort up to the next year of the curriculum. 


Budgeting for next year.



Who are you calling a glasshole ???

Google Glass advice: how to avoid being a glasshole

(From today’s Guardian Newspaper)

Google’s smartglass guidelines for early adopters: stop being creepy, don’t be rude, and don’t try to read War and Peace

Google Glass wearing advice
Google explains how to not be a ‘glasshole’ wearing the company’s pioneering smart glasses. Photograph: Pawel Supernak/EPA

Google has given some official advice on what to do and perhaps more importantly, what not to do, while wearing the company’s Google Glass smartglasses to avoid being a “glasshole”.

Early adopters of Glass, derogatorily called “glassholes”, have come under fire for using it in socially unacceptable conditions where mobile phones aren’t allowed, for being creepy filming people without their permission and for being rude, staring off into the distance for long periods of time.

Glass has gone far beyond the confines of Google employees with its extended “Explorer” early adopter programme. As Google states, it is definitely in the company’s best interest to get its first smartglass customers to behave, as “breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers”.

To try and help Explorers avoid being glassholes and breaking social codes, Google has compiled a list of solid suggestions pulled from the experiences of early Glass adopters, and some of them are really quite funny.

Stop looking like a tech zombie

Glass was designed to avoid the need to stare down at a smartphone or device to get information, placing snippets of text just outside your field of vision, but that can have some pretty creepy consequences.

If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods of time you’re probably looking pretty weird to the people around you.

Google helpfully suggests that reading things like Tolstoy’s 1,225 pages of War and Peace probably isn’t the best idea, suggesting that “things like that are better done on bigger screens”.

Use some common sense

Google encourages Explorers to try Glass in all kinds of situations, but it would probably be best to avoid activities that could see wearers land on their faces.

Glass is a piece of technology, so use common sense. Water-skiing, bull-riding or cage-fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas.

At $1,500 (£900) a piece, Glass might be hi-tech but it is not exactly robust when it comes to high-impact sports.

Glass probably doesn’t contribute to a romantic meal

The idea of smartglasses being worn in public is new, and people are curious. Passersby will stop and stare, ask questions or maybe even react badly if you turn to face them, so Google helpfully suggests that taking Glass off might be the best idea.

If you’re worried about someone interrupting that romantic dinner at a nice restaurant with a question about Glass, just take it off and put it around the back of your neck or in your bag.

Of course, you also have the fact that your date might be creeped out that you have a head-mounted camera pointed at them all night, regardless of whether or not you are recording their every move.

Stop standing in the corner of the room being creepy

Apparently the temptation to record the every move of people going about their day is insatiable for some Glass Explorers. Google suggests that Glass wearers should treat the camera function like they would a mobile phone camera – ask permission and stop being creepy.

“Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends.”

Some people are pretty tetchy when it comes to being caught on camera, just ask the paparazzi.

We have it now, but are we allowed to use it properly ?

Notwithstanding tormentas electricas and the peso devaluing faster than a Kardashian exclusive, the first year of the 1:1 programme has officially begun at my school in South America. In the midst of much bronca and constantly changing importations restrictions, we have our infrastructure in place, the wi-fi has been bolstered and there are swarming clouds of teachers and students gathering near classrooms, all eager to start the 21 century !!!! 

Of course there will be problemitas, both seen and unseen, and complaints from various sides of the “triangle of learning”, (Parents, Teachers, Students), but i am mostly positive about how we have prepared for this fresh new start. My positive feeling has been reinforced by the recent trip to the US where digital technology and 1:1 teaching, although not quite out of diapers, is closer to potty training than we are and it seems to me that there are various different opinions on how to effectively to use this new technology.

It was refreshing to hear Technology and Education scholars such as Yong Zhao, arguing that teachers still aren’t using the technology effectively as a part of the learning experience. For me this shadow of the common core, combined with our own tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb specters of the IB and IG exams still limits the freedom we have as teachers to experiment and actually fully engage with the learning opportunities these devices provide. In short, we are not being allowed the freedom to try and fail, and try again, by a system that still measures and values “learning” through exam results and test scores. It is good to see that, with slug-like speed and efficiency, certain organisations  are at last realizing that this is a pillar of salt that they should perhaps avoid.

On the other, much more positive (perhaps manicured a little longer) hand, it is good to see the emergence of research and literature on whole school technology leadership. There has been a twattering of tweets on twitter over the Eric Sheninger book on Digital leadership (and i genuinely look forward to reading it in 25 years time once it gets through customs and the law changes on the purchase of goods through amazon eventually changes) and i am hoping that this will spark a new wave of thought on monitoring, evaluation and review of pedagogy as well as digital assessment.

We shall see how well we walk the fine line between teaching traditional exams and using the technology in order to instill a love of learning and create innovative, independent, inquisitive learners and teachers alike !

Mid-Year review of paperless learning

Reflections on 1:1 Tablets and Paperless living


For me, the school year has drawn to a close. With the exodus of pupils,  the paperless experiment  must be put on hold for a couple of months until staff and students return refreshed and rested to do it all again next year. I thought this would be a good point to review my attempts to grasp the 1:1 nettle and go paperless.




I have found it very difficult to get my students to embrace this move from paper to pc. Within the context of the school, real work has always been synonymous with writing endless essays in  silence…or at least, the South American version of silence. The virtual banning of paper and all things print in my class was initially interpreted as, “because we don’t have to write anything, there will be no work taking place in this class whatsoever”. Consequently it has been a struggle to get the students to accept that computers can be used for serious work and also, (obvio) what we are doing with the computers, is in fact serious work !!!!!


I also think that by approaching this idea of substituting pcs for paper in isolation, hasn’t really been that successful in creating a paperless culture amongst my students. If other teachers and classes were doing the same, then perhaps students would perceive this methodology as somehow “legitimate”. At the moment, i think that they think that i am some sort of tree hugger who got the teaching job when i came in to sweep up leaves and the real teacher was off sick.


Anyway, i digress. As well as the battle to fight over the perception of computers as tools for entertainment not education…(i am sort of getting towards a halfway house compromise of computers in school as a type of “edutainment”), i am fighting a perception that learning is in fact achievement, qualified through a very specific number grade. This perception manifests itself in students not really bothering about the process of learning, but being more interested in the final grade. Consequently i have tried to remove end of unit summative tests and go full-on-super-turbo-charged-assessment for learning with them….but i have found that their interpretation of this is….”if it isn’t a formal exam at the end of a unit, how can you justify the marks that you give us in the report…?” Furthermore, they also seemed to say, “those silly projects, presentations and bake-a-cake-in-the-style-of-the-person-you-think-influenced-the- development-of-neo-realism-in-Danish-cinema-in-the-1990’s practicals mean nothing, you fool. Give us paper and pens so we can write stuff and actually learn !”


Another factor to consider, is that i am trying to take on this cultural change in a regular classroom. I think that the students would be more open to the notion of breaking traditional working methods if we were working on a gleaming, bleeping space ship type bridge. This would immediately ground the notion of working with computers in an appropriate context.

Until students integrate school with non-school, within their own technology and we persist with providing a physical classroom context, there will still be a paper vrs technology divide as there will be a technological vrs physical division of learning and school and social / not school.The next stage, which i call “teaching from my couch/ the beach/a hammock or “ virtual classrooms”, as people doing educational research chose to call it, will have to wait for the foreseeable future.


Finally, after trying to do everything to peel my students away from Facebook, (i have used edmodo, dropbox, school email, personal email…) i have given up and started to use Facebook groups as a means of obtaining immediate virtual, and more often than not, effective communication.




In relation to teaching using this new technology and paradigm of learning….in short, Old dogs can learn new tricks ! Anyone can learn new skills if there is motivation, support, time and the room to experiment, fail and try again….

The bigger battle is the narrow minded, content based curriculum that is followed …even the interdisciplinary IB becomes suspiciously single-subject and formal summative test based at times. A brave move would be for schools to dump the IG and IB and create their own curriculum linked to society’s needs: languages, interpersonal skills, media literacy, technology savvy, experimental sciences….How many of these skills are add-ons in our current curriculum, or pushed half-heartedly because they don’t contribute to a grade or a way  to measure student success…or…dare i say it, teacher performance…….?




You have a role to play in this….school is not 7:45 – 4:25…it is now 24 hours and teacher responsibility and teaching technology habits can only stretch so far….the great thing about raising independent learners, who use ubiquitous technology, is that you have a grandstand seat in the process and can be present during the new, equally ubiquitous school day. There is no excuse not to know or play a part in technology and education as more often than ever before, “school” is taking place under your very own roof ! With more and more schools utilizing online monitoring and assessment tools such as engrade and ManageBac, to name but 2, parents are getting close to a 24/7 account of what their kids get up to whilst physically located at school and with this greater knowledge, there must be an increased, active role for them to play.


Finally, buying your kid a tablet/laptop/ipad is a way of investing in skills that will not be the education that your kid forgets when they leave school and have to deal with the “real” world.


What do i want to do next year ?


Ok, so that was my ramble around some of the bigger issues and ideas that have become apparent to me so far. Here are some specific goals that i am setting down for myself for next year !!!!


  1. Effective integration of tablets into the curriculum….not a point at which you “get out your tablets”….may them a part of the uniform of the classroom.


  1. Establish a virtual structure and clear processes for my students and the classes i teach. I think i have assumed that they know more than they actually do and that they know, automatically how to navigate around platforms…Was it wrong for me to enjoy telling the cool kid, with the latest gizmos, how to find the documents he had filed in dropbox and how to share documents ?


  1. I am going to try to give out grades and written feedback through google docs and engrade, so that my students are always aware of their grades and gpa, as well as  aware of this very process of sharing information….extending the classroom hours and teacher-student information contact time to boot !


With these three targets i hope that i can also slide subtly from the center of things and sit more comfortably in my facilitator chair to allow the students to find short cuts, better platforms and more efficient and effective ways of working with the technology.


That’s it !

See you in 2014

Angry Birds and the Kardashians will be part of my syllabus next year !


Here is something interesting from today’s papers…..

“In a recent personal blogpost – she also blogs for the Guardian – Kelleher cited her own experience as a 13-year-old, when a BBC mini-series of War and Peace inspired her to read Tolstoy’s epic work, awakening a life-long love of history. “I am sure Gove would approve of such cultural aspiration from a working-class daughter of Irish immigrants, yet I should never have even considered reading such a vast tome without the stimulus of the TV series,” she wrote. “Just as the medium of television opened up the world of Tolstoy to me, today television is just one of a multitude of possibilities for engaging the young.”

Gove’s dismissal of “low-brow” cultural references missed the point, she argued. “The digital world is a game-changer, and we must change with it. If Angry Birds, the staple digital game of many youngsters, inspires a young person to learn coding, surely that is a desirable outcome?

“If the GarageBand app provides a creative platform for an aspiring young musician, isn’t this to be applauded? We are on the nursery slopes of digital learning. The potential for transformation of the conventional educational paradigm is extraordinary. Yet none of this registers in the world of the secretary of state for education. It strikes me that Gove’s well-meaning attempt to promote excellence for all young people is being enacted in a parallel universe.”

Angry Birds had not featured on her curriculum, Kelleher said, though pupils were queuing up to learn computer coding in other ways. But music teaching included the use of GarageBand to enable non-musicians to arrange music. The school also encouraged pupils to submit some homework as films, and teachers gave some feedback via audio rather than writing, while geography course materials were all screen-based.

Handwriting would be maintained while exam boards continued to require it, but its use would be reassessed if that changed.”