The 1:1 Transition: What to Read Before You Implement

Capitalize on the wisdom, experience, and recommendations of those who have blazed the 1:1 trail.

By Nicole Schon


We've all seen the movie—a harrowed hero squints at the faded remains of a tattered map, straining to interpret the cryptic symbols. Fortunately, the path toward 1:1 implementation is far less enigmatic, and those who have gone before have worked to create a credible and useful map.

Take time out to read the wisdom of those who have gone before. Taking this step will give a broader perspective on the landscape of 1:1. More importantly, it will allow you to anticipate and deftly maneuver around the pitfalls, booby traps, and villains that others have encountered, greatly increasing your odds of snagging (and holding onto) the holy grail of a successful 1:1 program.

Here are four resource-rich sources you don't want to miss:

Project RED

This seminal project is well-known in 1:1 circles. Through in depth, carefully conducted research and case studies, Project Red set out to champion technology integration in the classroom. The result? A huge compendium of research-based resources for integration. Read the research and implementation guides, attend webinars, and soak up all this site has to offer.

Decatur Implementation Recommendations

As Decatur County Schools in Indiana transitioned to 1:1, they documented key steps along their journey, as well as publishing the broad themes of what they learned in the process. While there are several useful tidbits here, including a map of their plan for educating teachers, preparing infrastructure, and distributing to students, what caught my eye was their infographic (see photo above), which serves as a useful reminder for keeping learning at the heart of the 1:1 discussion.

Common Sense Media

For a no-nonsense, teacher-friendly guide to 1:1, go here. They outline a three-phase plan—Envision, Communicate, Implement—and provide a whole curriculum to move you through each phase. They have it all: videos, printable handouts, and filters to select whether you’re looking to learn about 1:1 from a teacher, administrator, or principal’s point of view. Action plans, leadership charts, checklists, and recommended apps give you the structure and support you need to build out the plans and implement.

Anytime, Anywhere Learning

An organization dedicated to bringing 21st century learning possibilities into the here-and-now of education, this website is a wellspring of fascinating information, including a variety of research and reports. A unique element is the 1:1 Directory and Global Storybook, which compiles tales from 1:1 sites across the globe, mostly centering on how schools or districts got started and themes that they have observed.

When you're a school administrator, or a teacher faced with a school-wide implementation, the amount of choices to make can feel like a tidal wave about to thunder down on your head. However, it may be helpful and comforting to know that others have ridden the wave and lived to tell the tale. Use the wisdom of those who have gone before, to help you stay on (mostly) on top of the wave. This compilation of useful materials pulled from schools and districts that have gone 1:1 will help. Since each implementation plan varies greatly, use only the parts of these tools and recommendations that make sense for your situation. And above all else, enjoy the ride.

For those who just can’t get enough, here’s a few more resources you’ll want to dive into: