Whether you are starting 1:1 program or it is well-established at your school, Back-To-School-Night is the perfect time to make your technology related expectations clear to parents. In a 1:1 environment the learning looks very different from the environment they were taught in. It is highly likely that your students’ parents never took anything more valuable than a calculator to school. I recommend that teachers educate the parents (& students) on the following topics:
Responsible Use Policy – Remind parents what the school’s expectations are regarding the student use of technology, and the consequences for violations of the policy.
Device Protection – Show the parents examples of the types of protective cases students should have on their devices, and the appropriate of bags for transporting the devices to and from school. You may also wish to discuss insurance for the device in case of damage, malfunction, or loss.
How devices are managed in class – Explain where the devices are stored, your strategies for keeping students on task while using the device, and any other student requirements, such as keeping the device clean, or having it fully charged in the morning.
Backing up information – Insist that all devices are backed up regularly. (I recommend weekly, and even setting aside some class time to do this.) Remind parents how devastating the loss of files can be.
What learning looks like – Show them samples of student work that is similar to what their children will be doing. Better yet, prepare a short video or have students demonstrate what they are already doing in class with their devices.
Although you may not have time to discuss all of these topics, it is important to get this information to parents. Communicate through your class web site, parent email list, or by sending home newsletters. Make sure to help your parents understand that your 1:1 program is not about the device their child is carrying around, but about utilizing the device when it can maximize their child’s learning.