Want to predict the future?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by a_whisper_of_unremitting_demand

I grew up in Huntsville, AL. So my dad still sends me news from the area. It turns out Huntsville City Schools1 are going 1:1 with HP laptops in 4-12th grades and tablets in lower grades.

I don’t know details beyond this article2, but based on these Onion worthy quotes, I predict a disaster of epic proportions.

King3 said the district is on track to have wi-fi in all facilities sometime in the first semester.

We’ll have the computers but the Internet, well, it’ll get there sometime first semester.

“Holy smokes, that’s incredible,” board member Jennie Robinson said of the time frame. Initially, the district’s one-to-one computer program was anticipated to take several years to establish.

Holy. Smokes. Beware of timelines that magically change from years to a summer.

“(Information Technology) has a heck of a job ahead of them,” King said.

We’re rushing stuff. Expect very bad things to happen.

The comments on the article don’t seem to indicate a very prepared, friendly community either.

I wish HCS good luck and I hope I’m wrong but this has the feel of something done quickly without proper infrastructure in a hostile community who did not participate in the planning process. If those things aren’t done, you can be sure that the really hard work of figuring out how to use these computers effectively in the classroom is missing as well. That’s going to be bad news for everyone.

1 This website from 2000 is not a good sign.

2 The fact that there’s no PR on their website doesn’t bode well. Getting ahead in the PR battle is pretty key to doing this kind of thing right.

3 director of support operations

Comments on this post

  1. Ben said on May 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

    First rule of 1:1: Don’t talk about 1:1

    Second Rule of 1:1: DON’T TALK about 1:1

    Third Rule of 1:1: What the FRAK, no wireless before the computers in place? You don’t need more rules for 1:1, you need to re-examine your timeline.

  2. Mike said on May 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Just wait until someone figures out they can do online testing!

  3. Travis said on June 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I know that it’s not funny, but I love reading stories like this one simply because of the irony behind them. Why do we insist on doing so many things in public education that are so contrary to common sense? I am currently taking a course online about using technology in the classroom. As a part of it, I had to implement a plan that used several Web 2.0 tools to increase communication and collaboration with my students. Honestly, it was a very rewarding experience, but I think that a big part of it is because I chose the right class to try it with. Every single one of the students enrolled in this class has online computer access at home (or on their phones), and already uses the Internet on a regular basis. Had this not been the case (as it wouldn’t be in some of my other classes), I can’t even imagine the time and resources I would have needed to use in order to use a similar plan. You simply have to have a foundation before you can build a roof! Good luck, Huntsville!

  4. Brandon said on June 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Yeah it seems that that is the way things go sometimes….always the cart before the horse?

  5. Tom said on September 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Yep. Not going well.