Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Students reflect on 1:1 in 2012 Part 1

"It makes my brain be brave" 
(Catherine, SPX)

In December 2012 we asked the students across our nine Manaiakalani Schools to write a reflection on their year of using a personal digital device as their basic learning tool.
About 250 students chose to post these reflections online via their blogs. These posts came from seven schools and children aged 9-13 years.  The students ranged from having had 2 terms experience to 2 years experience in 1:1 classrooms.

Between them they posted 51,000+ words - pretty much a Master’s Thesis!  So my challenge over the past two weeks has been to collate the main themes that have come through, whilst retaining some of the ‘Gems’ individuals have shared.

All 250 blog posts have been copied and pasted into this public Google Doc and anyone interested is welcome to trawl through the raw data with links to each source.

A quick visual impression of what was significant to the children was obtained by pasting the content of all their posts into Tagxedo . One example is embedded below.

A clear message from all of the children was the connection between their personal device (netbook in most cases in 2012) and learning, particularly improved learning outcomes.

  • Enjoyment, motivation, fun, engagement and success came through consistently.
  • Writing as a subject and the mechanics of writing were commented on favourably by most.  
  • Many more mentioned Maths this year as a subject they now enjoyed.
  • The empowerment of digital technologies to strengthen collaboration and connection with peers, teachers and home was another strong theme.
  • A significant number talked positively about the ability to learn anywhere, at anytime and with anyone and at any pace.
  • And most students linked their reflection to the pedagogical underpinning of  ‘Learn, Create, Share”.

The consistent negative concern was internet connectivity, or the impact on them when internet was erratic. A few children wrote of how they problem solved but a significant cry of frustration emerged.  It will be interesting to see how the arrival of Fibre (UFB) in their schools and the Tamaki Learning Network providing wireless connections to their homes early in 2013 impacts their user experience.

Following is a collection of ‘sound bites’ with links to the original post of the child quoted.
This is the kind of anecdotal evidence that does not come through in standardised testing but some of these snippets reflect deep impact on learning.

Here are a couple of ‘Gems’ to get started:

Britney GIS

The netbooks have made our school days interesting because now I talk more because there is a lot more to talk about.
Catherine SPX
Now I can use my learning tool and I can type fast and it is so amazing. I am so exciting because I can do anything on my netbook. My learning tool helps me find the answers and it helps me do my worked and get it finished and it’s make my brain be brave.

There are hundreds more of these in the next post.



  1. It is wonderful how the next generation of students is learning in a whole new way. It seems like you are very organized in your work with the use of personal devices as a tool for learning. I will be sure to use this as a reference to my classroom methods. Thank you.

  2. Hi Jared, Thanks for taking the time to let me know you've been here. Interesting that you should use the word organised because that was the recurring word from out high school kids in 2012 when they reflected on their learning. They said that they were really enjoying working in this way when they were in the classes of organised teachers and not impressed when their teachers were NOT organised. That was the word they chose to use repeatedly, but I suspect they meant a little more than just organisation.

  3. Very inspirational Dorothy, thanks for leading the way in this important work! Understand the children's frustrations re connectivity. That is currently holding back. UFB due to arrive this month but still haven't found. An affordable package to effectively utilise it in a primary school of 700 children. Any ideas? Carolyn

  4. Thanks Carolyn. Connectivity is always going to be an issue with young people I suspect because we will never be able to deliver internet quite fast enough to meet their ever increasing demands! The next new thing, which they always want to do/ use, will require another increase in speed or bandwidth.
    We were pleased to note the kids who talked about problem solving and finding workarounds for themselves. We need to encourage more of this kind of problem solving.
    To answer your question, we are very happy with Fusion Networks who have designed an affordable package for the Manaiakalani schools.
    Best wishes for 2013

  5. Love to hear that 1:1 is being implemented at your school! There are always snags - the internet connectivity especially - but I think in the end, the process is well worth some of the trouble. If you're interested to hear more about how to use iPads in an educational setting, take a look at the article below!