Once schools make the commitment to move to one to one, lots of questions arise about how to make that transformation. Within the past week, I have received multiple emails requesting my recommendations about what steps to take when moving to one to one.
First of all, I must say I am extremely excited to receive these requests. Currently, less than ten percent of schools nationwide have one to one, and I think that is a sad statistic. Leaders of one to one schools and those currently making that transition are the trailblazers in education today. Their work has the potential to transform education in a way that hasn't happened in the past 100 years.
My recommendations around implementation of one to one focus around two major themes. The first theme is addressing all of the issues that arise with such a major change. The second theme deals with the infrastructure and policy issues that arise with the move to one to one.
Some educators I have spoken with have made the move to one to one with little input from other stakeholders. They have also failed to recognize all of the issues that arise with major change. This is a major mistake, and I believe it will cause some unnecessary difficulties with the roll out of one to one. The move to one to one is possibly the biggest transition/change a school will ever make. It is imperative that schools recognize this and take steps to address all of the issues surrounding change. The two best resources for leaders dealing with change that I have found are Kotter's Leading Change and the McREL resources on change. Kotter lays out an eight stage process that is a great guide for any organization dealing with change. I recently posted a series in my blog on Kotter's change process in relation to one to one schools. McREL's research has targeted change and the relationship between change and leadership. It will be worth your time to take a look at this research regardless of what the change going on in your organization is.
The second major theme that schools need to address as they make the move to one to one centers around all of the physical changes that are fundamental in this transition process.. Those needs include all of the infrastructure changes that must be in place in order to support one to one. They include contracts with vendors, policy changes, physical building changes, rules, regulations, and procedures to name just a few. Pamela Livingston's book 1-1 Learning is one resource that may be helpful for leaders with the transition. Her book includes cautionary tales, lessons learned, and expert advice from educators who have made the move to one to one.
Leaders need to be sure to address both of these themes as they move to one to one. Most of you will unquestionably address the second theme because it is an absolute necessity. It would be a huge mistake for you not to address the first theme also. Everyone realizes the difficulty and challenges that arise with change, and moving to one to one will certainly be the biggest change any school will face. It will be worth your time to do lots of work up front in order to make this change as smooth as possible.