Since moving to 1:1 learning environments for Burlington students in grades 1 and 4-12 we have had some amazing opportunities for both students and staff that likely would not have been possible without the 1:1 initiatives. We often refer to these opportunities as unintended benefits. These unintended benefits vary from product testing by students and teachers, to presenting at major educational conferences, and to having Burlington High School earn recognition as an Apple Distinguished School.
We decided to build 1:1 classrooms because we believed that would provide our students with the best possible learning environment – one in which they would benefit from having consistent access to a web enabled content creation and content delivery device. Along the way, students have had many experiences that will probably not immediately be reflected in their standardized test scores or growth percentiles. However, there is no question that these life experiences will better prepare these students for college and their careers.
Here are some of our student opportunities:
Another incredible opportunity has come from the visitors to our 1:1 schools. Burlington has now hosted over 3000 guests during our 1:1 iPad programs. While many of these visitors are from local school districts and nearly every state in our nation, more and more are coming to see our 1:1 classrooms from international locations. We have hosted educators from around the world to discuss educational best practices, educational technology, and what a 1:1 learning environment should represent.
I have truly enjoyed meeting these educators from across the globe. We have now had guests from Holland, Russia, England, Ireland, Scotland, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Australia, Canada, India, and Spain.
These experiences have provided us with the chance to learn about other cultures and their educational systems. The discussions that have emerged during these meetings have shown us that while some aspects are certainly different – the ultimate goals are the same = Prepare our students for their own existence. Prepare them for the life they will lead when they leave our schools.
I’m so thankful for these meetings and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop our worldwide learning network.