This post is part of an ongoing series of chapters from the book CHOICE. Please view this post for an introduction and table of contents. To keep up with each new chapter published, please subscribe.
“It's the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.”
Students make up 85% of your district's population. Ignore such a large part of your user base at your own peril.
Students need to be included in the process. Their feedback and perspective is incredibly powerful. Talk with them, send out surveys, observe how they use the technology, and ask them what they would want to use.
In an earlier section, we talked about 1:1 is for everyone. That goes beyond just the device. You work with teachers and administrators to get them the tools they needs. The hardware they are comfortable with, and the software that helps them get the job done. The same needs to be done for students. Don’t use the assumption, “we know what's best for the students.”
It can be as simple as sending out a survey. Get a better understanding of what the students' perspective on technology and and how they will use it. Know how the students already use technology in their lives.
Some example survey questions:
Do you have a computer in your home? What type?
Do you have a smartphone? iOS or Android?
Do you have internet access at home?
What app do you use the most for school work?
What can't you do with a school computer now that you want to?
What software or app do you want to use in school but can't?
You'll get some requests for games and inappropriate websites, but you'll also get a lot of honest feedback.
My experience is, most of the changes I have made to systems, policies, and purchasing have been from student led requests. They are using this technology every day for the purpose we want it used for. We'd be crazy not to listen to 85% of our user base.
In any other scenario, ignoring 85% of your user base would be a recipe for failure. But in education, it can often be the case.
Providing a peak behind the curtain of the thought and writing process.
When I first started writing this book, I saw the chapters separated into 4 clear sections: Technology, Students, Teachers, Administrator. As I’ve written more, I don’t think these categories will hold true. More may be added or they might just be removed entirely.
The previous chapters have all been about the technology. This is the first chapter entering the student side of a 1:1 program.
What are some good ideas students have given you? I am curious to hear any student led initiatives you’ve seen having success in schools. Let me know in the comments.