Friday, 23 March 2012

All the fun of 1 to 1

We are now two and a half weeks from the end of a trying term 1. Time for a little reflective thought about where we as a school have come from, and where we are heading.
I work at a decile 1 (very low economic status) secondary school in urban Auckland, New Zealand, with mostly Polynesian and Maori students. They are wonderful to work with by the way, very cool.
So, why the trying term? We are part of a group of schools that are part of the Manaiakalani 1:1 initiative (see, where we aim to have a personal electronic device (netbooks) in front of each and every student from y1 to y13. The programme also will deliver FREE wireless internet available at home as well as at school, so learning can take place anywhere.
Getting the devices in front of the kids has been a challenge. The parents or guardians must first pay a deposit, after which their name is placed on the distribution list. It is then my job, and that of Karen, my colleague, to find where that particular student is, whether they are in school etc. and then we go and place the device in their eager (and occasionally sweaty/ sticky) hands.
Then there is connecting them to their Google accounts, which requires them to remember passwords, and ensuring all machines are working as best as possible. And training our staff to use this technology... a completely different set of challenges, which they have risen to really well, embracing huge amounts of challenges and taking on some really new technologies.
It has been a toughie, I am also in the final stages of writing up my Masters and the stresses this has caused have been immense. However, we are 90% there. The rest of the year will be hopefully a little easier, although there will always be challenges to face; part of the fun though!