Schools and classrooms are moving towards 1:1 learning as districts invest in web-based learning platforms and devices.

As this move happens, the shift towards personalized, digital learning and 1:1 classrooms—where each student uses a digital technology device such as a laptop or tablet—is a major topic of discussion in K-12 education. Teachers are challenged to find effective ways to integrate new devices and software into their curriculum.

Whether you’re feeling excited or completely unprepared (or both) for your first 1:1 classroom experience, rest assured there are many resources available to help you better understand and use available technologies. Here are four steps you can take, and related free online professional development courses through Capella University, to help with this challenge.

1. Determine the role of the device in your classroom.

While it may seem like the shift towards 1:1 learning means devices will be the sole focus in your classroom, it’s often not the case. Your classroom’s device should give your students better resources to share, connect, and find new information, but you must determine methods for making sure these tools don’t become distractions.

1:1 classrooms can be heavily focused on devices, but technology does not always have to be front and center. Students should understand that their device is a channel for learning, but it cannot replace their own critical thinking skills and ability to ask questions.

Related professional development courses:

2. Take time to play with technology.

Once the new technologies have been set in place for your classroom, spend time experimenting and learning the devices on your own. Teachers who are already comfortable with new technology will have an easier time with implementation and answering students’ questions.

With preparation and a certain comfort level, you can model proper device usage for your students. Many schools are now hiring instructional technology coaches who can help you better understand your classroom technology.

Related professional development courses:

3. Restructure your room.

1:1 classrooms require rethinking the physical classroom layout. Depending on your learning goals, you may arrange your classroom differently. Your structure should be flexible, allowing for different settings such as students working independently, students working in groups, and students working with the teacher.

Many schools are also investing in screen sharing programs that allow the teacher to view every student’s screen from one location.

Related professional development courses:

  • Flipping the Classroom teaches you how to use the flipped classroom model to develop a lesson plan.
  • 21st Century Instructional Practices investigates the latest instructional frameworks in K–12 classrooms.
  • Digital Citizenship evaluates the ways you and your students can become responsible digital citizens as framed by the Children’s Internet Safety Act, Children’s Online Protection Act and ISTE standards.

4. Research and understand digital standards.

As you develop lessons and outcomes, consider aligning them with International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards and subject area standards, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

These standards for both students and teachers define the skills and knowledge necessary to teach, work, and learn in a digital world.

Related professional development course:

  • Standards-Based Digital Instruction teaches you how to implement best practices in digital instruction and evaluation aligned with ISTE and subject area standards. Capella’s professional development courses have received the ISTE Seal of Alignment.

This post is part of a three-part series focusing on Capella’s free, self-paced, EdTech-focused professional development courses for teachers.