Value of the 1:1 Response

I’ve written a few of these over time and space.  It’s essentially a response to a challenge to come up with research supporting our 1:1 technology program.  The requestor mentioned her research indicated technology doesn’t create change.  In any case, I thought this response might be useful to someone else. I will likely take it and increase references, examples etc. in the near future.   RTD Reference I agree completely that technology by itself does not promote student learning.  Technology is a tool which needs competent application within an educational context.  It is not my intent to parse words but this is an essential delineation and one that is evident, although perhaps subtle, in the statement referenced in the Richmond Times Dispatch supplement.  Technology facilitates both visual and collaborative learning which have proven important across a number of studies.  You can read a meta-analysis of over 100 research studies in Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement.1  This work specifically recognizes the importance of non-linguistic and cooperative learning as having direct impact on student achievement.  Technology is an enzyme, a facilitator of these strategies, a tool of amazing flexibility that allows for the application of research proven instructional strategies across our content areas and beyond.  We continue to emphasize and work towards an ideal instructional environment where all teachers and students are fully leveraging […]

If You Give Bieber A Bike . . .

Mostly Nonsense A Bieber flavored over simplication on the fallacy of hardware creating change. Probably useless but it amused me for the presentation and the audience seemed to enjoy it. My 20 minute presentation ended up being a 90 minute conversation. If you give Bieber a bike will he get home more quickly? It seems like a straightforward question, an easy answer. Of course the bike will get him home faster. But we tend to make a number of assumptions. It could be you’re a Bieber fan and you know where Bieber is now and where his home/homes are, maybe you’re a Belieber and you even know which home he’s going to. Most people don’t. They don’t know where Bieber is nor where he’s going despite general agreement on the definition of “home.” Furthermore, I don’t know if Bieber can drive a motorcycle or if he can drive this motorcycle. If he can drive a motorcycle, how well can he do it? Does he have gas? Is a helmet required? Now if we give Bieber a bike and he can drive it, we have to think about the terrain between where he’s starting and where he wants to go. Maybe there’s a forest in between those two points. A forest without roads or gas stations. This street bike will actually […]

Brief Thoughts On Digital Content in K12

I was asked to speak about OER in K12 at the VMI STEM conference a few days ago. The speaker before me gave an accurate definition of OER and listed the normal places you’d expect – OpenCourseWare, MERLOT, Curriki etc. For what it’s worth, I listed those sites as well but when the places where I found digital content to be more interesting tended to be other places. It seems like the bridge that is far enough (but not too far) in K12 may be something that provides a central pillar of approved, vetted, standardized and permanent1 but that provides a access to fairly ephemeral, topical media elements. The image in my mind is something like the vine image below. cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Randy Son Of Robert What becomes interesting is how you might do that. You could create a platform that allows those people with the time/interest in finding and sifting through things to populate content for those that don’t. It wouldn’t be hard using RSS. It seems like it’d be something like SuperPunch where someone who is passionate about a particular topic combs through different sites for things that are interesting. You could do state standard based aggregation but that’s likely to get messy and require an organization that will be onerous […]

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 […]

Come Join The Party

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Thomas Hawk We’re looking to hire a new Director of Operational Technology1. The job description is below in block quotes. It’s fairly boring. I think that’s a legal requirement. Stuff I think you should know is above that. These are interesting times. You are joining a large, well established 1:1. We have a good foundation, solid infrastructure, and plenty of experience. This is not a passing fancy. We’re serious about taking our integration capabilities to the next level. Your focus is on how to support, manage, and improve all our various projects to help make current and future integration goals happen. There are lots of people and projects to manage in addition to working with me on a regular basis. You like Macs? We’ve got those for all of our elementary teachers and 5 per classroom (in addition to a number of carts in each school). We even have 1520 iPads. You like PCs? We have quite a few of those as well. 6-12 has a Dell laptop for every student and teacher. You want to advocate for new devices/platforms/concepts etc.? No problem. The HS device RFP is this coming year and MS and ES RFPs are the year after that. SIS and data warehouse projects are wrapping up but […]

Laptops, Education and Common Sense- Really?

This article on laptops from ArsTechnica came to me last night via my dad. It amuses me how hard people are still making certain aspects of computers and education. I’ll start with the K12 focus- The 1:1 laptop programs do seem to help with the students’ ability to use the technology they’re exposed to, and a variety of studies show what might be an unexpected benefit: improved writing skills. Apparently, the ease of using a word processor, along with the ability to go back and modify things that would otherwise have been committed to paper, helps students learn how to write more coherent and persuasive text. So, even with horrific and near sighted implementation plans students are still getting some benefit from laptops? That doesn’t entirely surprise me but it does point towards the resiliency of students and their ability to learn in spite of structures seemingly designed to impede them. Outside of these areas, however, the benefits of 1:1 laptop availability are mixed. Different studies have found changes in math and science test performance that were inconsistent. In general, the authors argue, the benefits of laptops come in cases where the larger educational program has been redesigned to incorporate their unique capabilities, and the teachers have been trained in order to better integrate laptop use into the wider educational […]


Technology Mistakes

This question on the MACUL Ning space got me thinking (you may be wondering why I’m part of a Michigan edtech group when I live in VA- answer Ben Rimes). As a School Board Trustee in Lapeer Community Schools(6500 students) I am very excited about passing our first Bond in 34 years!!! With the passage were looking at $6,000,000 for technology. The big question now is…where do we spend the money and how do we get the biggest bang for our taxpayers hard earned dollars. Certainly we are involving the teachers, administration, students,etc…but I dont want to just dump computers and white boards in every class only to see them sitting in the corner not being used. Has anyone observed mistakes when purchasing technology, or have any success stories about implementing teachnology in their schools? So here’s my two cents based on my experience in Henrico county with our 1 to 1. It’s not exactly coherent or ordered but I think there’s some truth in there. Am I missing things? Too paranoid? Plain wrong? I think these concepts seem to get left behind or only partially implemented far too often. 1. Staff development– this isn’t just how to use the computer/white board etc. (although that is important) the focus should be on why you’d want to use it, ways to […]