One-to-One on Day One - First Day of a 1:1 Device Environment for Elementary Kids

“We finally get to have a computer or device for ourselves” is what one of our third grade students said when interviewed by our school system’s TV station. It was not only the first day of school for students at Chase Elementary, it was also the first day of a 1:1 device environment for all students in grades 1-3.

At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, our school was one of ten Lighthouse Schools selected to “pilot interactive and blended instruction as a model demonstration site” as part of the Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) initiative ( While our primary foci in this initiative are curriculum and pedagogy, on day one, all eyes were on 6-8 year old children and the HP Revolves that each of them received a few hours after summer break came to an end.  Despite the TV cameras, boom mics, and temps over 90 degrees in classrooms, our first day in a 1:1 environment was quite successful.  Success, in this case, was demonstrated by students’ ability to log on to and manipulate their devices to participate in meaningful learning activities.  This initial positive and rewarding experience was important as it propelled us forward in our effort to provide learner-centered instructional environments for ALL students in our schoolhouse.  We attribute our success to three essential factors.

Teachers understood WHY we are doing this – We have laid the groundwork and explored the “why” behind this initiative before it was ever introduced.  At Chase, teachers understand that we aren’t going to help students prepare for jobs of tomorrow by teaching with methods of yesterday.

High quality technical assistance was available – The school district’s leadership had the foresight to make sure high quality technical experts were in place to troubleshoot device concerns, when they came about, in a manner that was quick, effective and built the capacity of our staff to troubleshoot their own issues in the future.

Our parents and community partners “get it” – Monthly “Coffee & Conversation” meetings with parents, ongoing communication via social media outlets, newsletters, and face-to-face meetings have helped parents to understand the “why” behind this initiative, much like our teachers have as described in #1. 

The following video, produced by BCPS-TV, shows how all of our stakeholders embraced this essential move forward in providing our students with the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century.

Here are some of the glimpses.

1:1 Learning

1:1 Learning

1:1 Learning

1:1 Learning

About the Author
Author: Douglas
Douglas Elmendorf is the principal at Hillcrest Elementary School in Baltimore County, Maryland. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Elmendorf received his doctorate in instructional technology in 2012 from Towson University. He has been married to the love of his life since July 2002, and has four wonderful children, including a set of twins.

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