Backpacks and Pencils and Tablets? Oh My!

Everything families and teachers need to make 1-to-1 programs a success.
Darri Stephens Director, Digital Learning Categories: Common Sense News, Digital Media and School
Director, Digital Learning

The beginning of the school year is a flurry of activity for kids, teachers, and parents alike. At schools that are implementing 1-to-1 device programs, teachers are scrambling to change how they manage new behaviors and teach to new opportunities. And it's not just teachers who have to adjust. Parents have additional -– and unfamiliar –- responsibilities as well. (Watch the Engaging Families video to learn how the program eases parents' concerns.)

Gone are the days when you can dump out a backpack or flip through a folder to see your kids' work. The answers to "What did you do today?" are locked inside a password-protected device. Often kids have the upper hand in understanding how the device works -- and those 10-inch screens make it difficult to look over kids' shoulders.

That's why the Common Sense Media Education team created the 1-to-1 Essentials Program. It's a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive, and free offering that covers everything that administrators, teachers, and parents need to know to maximize the benefits of schools' technology programs. With a three-phased approach, it helps families every step of the way –- from envisioning the effects on kids' learning to using the device for academics (quite different than for entertainment!) to teaching proper device care.

At the core of the 1-to-1 Essentials Program is Common Sense Media's unique perspective on responsible, respectful, and safe communication –- what we call digital citizenship. The Family Media Agreements and the Customizable Device Contract help you guide your kids in responsible and respectful behavior before they press the tablet's wake button at school or at home.

While no one wants to experiment with kids' education, we do know that the education landscape is evolving as technology is ever-changing. The 1-to-1 Essentials Program highights best practices and facilitates constant communication, laying the groundwork to transform learning. I know from experience that kids learn best when their families and schools are on the same page. It's not just vital -- it's essential.

Has your school started a 1-to-1 program? Share your experiences, concerns, and questions below.

More Stuff You'll like Powered by PubExchange (i)


About Darri Stephens

Darri Stephens is a former member of Teach for America and a seasoned educator, with more than 10 years' experience in Los Angeles and New York City public schools. She has also worked for education-focused media... Read more

Add comment

Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

Comments (1)

Educator and Parent written by JulietJuliet

Has Common Sense Media identified any model schools or best practices case studies? If so, could you point me toward them?


Common Sense Media is working with PubExchange to share content from a select group of publishers. These are not ads. We receive no payment, and our editors have vetted each partner and hand-select articles we think you'll like. By clicking and leaving this site, you may view additional content that has not been approved by our editors.