On Friday, February 17, 2006, I had a conversation with Jeff Mao, Coordinator of Educational Technology for the Maine Learning Technology Iniative (MLTI), about 1:1, the stories of the Maine laptop program, and what schools who are thinking of 1:1 should be doing to prepare. I’ve known Jeff for at least six years now through Listservs and the New York State Association for Independent School’s (NYSAIS), Conference for Information Technology Managers. Jeff has always impressed me with his clear thinking and amazing communication skills. The guy is on more listserv’s and manages more email than anyone I know. Jeff balances family and work and loves Maine, as you will hear. He is an amazing leader for the MLTI. I am honored that my first podcast is this conversation with Jeff Mao.
Conversation Notes: During our conversation, we discussed how the laptop program for 38,000 7th and 8th graders in Maine is progressing. Jeff described trying to collect data on laptops and the difficulties finding correlations with high stakes tests. He gave examples of how the laptops were being used as a tool in the classroom. Jeff finished with recommendations for schools thinking about 1:1. His conclusion was that 1:1 should only be implemented where learning goals are the clear reason. Without the Principal and a very well respected teacher in each building on board, the programs may not be successful. Jeff’s equation is simple, but elegant.