The Balancing Act

Acrobatics Travis via Compfight

If you’ve followed my social media world, you know that I district has just realized it’s 1:1 dream. *Cue the “Oh Happy Day” music*  And as I sang earlier (in my Daveed Diggs voice), “Now the work at home begins…”

With this huge initiative, our team feels a strong sense of urgency.  South Carolina has decided to move to online testing and it is imperative that children have numerous experiences with the technology that they will be interacting with throughout the year. We stand by our belief that the 4C’s is what will assist us in doing that.  And we are constantly afraid that there just aren’t enough hours in the day right now with the limited human resources that we have to provide the support that is needed.  I think I can accurately say that we all are a little panicky.

Although we’ve become 100% 1:1 this year, it’s been a four year process (we did a 1:1 classroom pilot, then we were 3:1, 2:1 and now 1:1), so we have a huge variety of comfortability with successful technology integration and getting to where we need to be will definitely be a balancing act.

South Carolina also has a technology proficiency requirement for all certified staff.  They have allowed districts to determine what that should look like which I appreciate, but it’s also difficult to know the right balance of giving teachers the push they really need while not overwhelming them and providing them the support they need.

We’ve decided to require 6 hours of professional development that focuses on technology integration with students with them submitting a “portfolio” which is really just a spotlight of their favorite lesson with students.  Easy Peasy, right? Wrong!  Our teachers are already overwhelmed with other mandates, I’m afraid that this took them right over the edge.  And if you’re a teacher in my district, “I’m sorry.”  Again, we juggle getting them the information in a timely fashion – but without the answer of the questions there, it has the potential to cause panic.  And panicked they did.

So to prepare for my upcoming visits, I created two sites (hindsight, I should’ve just done one) for my 3-5 and 6-8 teachers that provided teachers with lessons and examples.  And then came the fun part!  I got a chance to be the teacher while my teachers were my students executing the activities that I created.

Check them out here!

3-5 Portfolio                                          6-8 Portfolio

I had an amazing time “teaching” again.  My students were scientists….famous people from the Renaissance, bloggers, and researchers. And for the most part, the feedback was extremely positive, my middle school math lesson definitely needs work, and the reflection that we ask teachers to do during the activity helped me to reflect on my practices with them.

What I learned (or I say – what was reinforced), was that when there is a fear of the technology, the learner is more likely to feel overwhelmed with a new task.  For the most part, teacher’s were quickly calmed once we went through the lesson and I demonstrated how simple it was to gather the required artifacts.  Those who were overwhelmed with how the tech works will definitely need additional support.

The best part….they got it!  When asked for feedback, here’s the quote that made me smile:

I liked the lesson. Even though the piece on Chatterkid really wasn’t the point or focus of the lesson, that was the positive take away. I see that as a new tool I will use class.

I’ve made arrangements with one principal (and plan to share the plan with all my schools) to offer continued support and I have a few more schools to visit, so I’ll keep you updated.

Until the next time,



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One Comment
  1. Hi Carla,

    Wow, exciting times ahead with your 1:1 program but it sounds like this is certainly introducing new challenges too. Great idea with your site examples. It sounds like it’s really helping.

    Helping teachers push through the daunting perceived learning curve can be a big challenge. Hopefully some of them are okay with opening up to the students about the fact that they are learning too!

    Keep up your great work and reflections.

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