iPad Roll Out Scenario

We’re writing a iPad roll out simulation right now and as we go, we’re coming upon lots of interesting questions.

Here’s the scenario:

* Rolling out 50 iPads in the Fall of 2011 with the goal:  To use the iPad for as many textbooks and for note taking while exploring educational apps

I’m posted our questions and the answers that I just ran through in the document below.  Please add/edit as you wish.  Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

iPad Roll Out Scenario



1:1 — Time to start the discussion again…

During the past few months, I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about Information and Media Literacy — I believe that this is one of the most concrete reasons to implement a laptop or 1 to 1 program in a school. To be responsible citizens in the 21st Century, students need to be ethical, life-long learners. To do so, they need to be information and media literate. The need to be fluent in digital and print.

David Warlick was visiting a laptop school and hit the nail on the head in this post :

Bottom line? 1:1 does not provide all the answers. In fact, it provokes lots of new questions, which is the approach of the school’s chief administrator, Stuart McCathie. He believes in, promotes quite eloquently, and offers lots of examples for, facilitating more powerful learning by asking a different kind of question. What occurred to me, as he was talking, was that most of our questions ask for answers. McCathie is suggesting questions that ask for conversations. Engaged in conversation, students become responsible to a community for what they find and learn. Answering a question is merely between the student and the teacher.

I am ever more impressed by the almost overwhelming challenges of working in a 1:1 teaching/learning environment. It requires so many shifts, most of them subtle, but no less difficult for a teacher — even young teachers. Even a first year teacher has 12+ years of experience in traditional classrooms. The challenges are enormous — but we simply have no choice!

I left even more convinced that contemporary literacy can be a potent
angle to make these shifts from, that it isn’t about the new tools on
students desks, but the new access to information and the new abilities
to produce information. The answer, I believe, can be as simple as The Beacon School’s
approach of simply saying, “At this point, no student work will be
turned in on paper. Everything will be done digitally.” It’s a focus on
the nature of the information, not the shape of the pencil.

2 Cents Worth » Another Missed Opportunity

He’s right — we have no choice — and we need to focus on contemporary literacy. And what better way to teach our students to be 21st Century Learners than to model this type of learning ourselves in a 1 to 1 program. Cheers to David for putting this so well.

Blogged with Flock

Tablet PCs and Teaching

At my school, we purchased five Tablet PCs this fall and have been exploring how they work as an educational tool. We have passed them around to faculty and students to get their thoughts and ideas on how to use them. After we had a few faculty test them out, they asked, “How do I get one!” and stated “The Tablet can really make my life easier!”. Our student testers didn’t want to give them back. Next year, we will distribute between 25 and 30 tablets to faculty. The year after that, we plan to experiment with a student 1:1 program. All faculty who are part of next year’s program will have 1-3 days of summer training and a mentor in the Technology Department who will meet with them on a regular basis to discuss how to best use the technology in their classes.

What’s really exciting about the Tablet PCs and the convergence of the Read/Write web is that I feel like we have a whole new toolbox to use in the classroom. I met with a group of English teachers today to discuss how they could use technology in their classes, and we discussed blogging and wikis, but what excited them most was the ability to record their voice while assessing a paper in Microsoft OneNote. Will Richardson has a sample of this on his wiki. The teachers also like the idea of using Wikis to observe the student editing process. I love these conversations, because as a student, having recorded comments or being forced to edit would have helped my writing enormously — and held me much more accountable than I was held. These teachers are also interested in using Imagery and multi-media to set the mood around the literature that they are reading. Having inspirational conversations like this is what it is all about (for me at least).

All of these ideas come back to good teaching techniques that are research based and documented in Instructional Strategies that Work from ASCD and were confirmed for me by a professional development seminar I attended last week by Bob Greenleaf on Brain Based Teaching: Making Connections for Long Term Retention. They provide multi-sensory stimuli, create associations between new content and current understanding, create emotional connections with the content, and provide students a place to set goals and follow their progress. Using these techniques along with technology is not experimetation. It’s using a new tool to create more effective learning environments using research based practices on learning and teaching.

It to be such an amazing time to be in education — as research and new technologies converge to create better learning environments for our students. We have the opportunity to use these tools and tested research to change the world for the better. We need to start now.

Conversation #1 – Jeff Mao, Coordinator of Educational Technology, Maine Learning Technology Iniative

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.

Download the Podcast

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.


Jeff’s Bio

16 Nov. 2005 WSIS, Tunisia: Prototype Unveiled by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Negroponte

Maine Learning Technology Initiative

2 cents on 1:1

David Warlick has really been asking so many thought provoking questions lately. Today’s question is, “Should we be going to a 1:1 arrangement in our schools?”

I’m in the process of trying to implement a Tablet PC 1:1 program in our 5th grade for next year. We’ve begun a conversation with my department, our Middle School head, our fifth grade team. This is a very interesting conversation, and we’re using a Wiki to create collaborative documents and discuss the project. The conversations are critical here, and the Cluetrain Manifesto is heavily influencing me on this. The stories we will tell that will or will not move our faculty to see the benefits of these Tablet PCs will be the critical piece of this puzzle in my mind.

But what is the point of a Laptop Program? Angus King, the former govenor of Maine, in his recent NCETC talk discussed why it was so important for Maine. Maine’s state economy was in the bottom third of all states, and they wanted to move up. The only way for a state to do that, was to have better educated citizens. Since it can be almost assured that our students will be using technology more and more as they grow older, King decided that by putting a laptop in the hands of every 7th grade teacher and student.  Then he provided lots of appropriate technology coordinator support for those teachers and administrators and hoped that education in Maine would change for the better. Maine has found that with laptops and appropriate pedagogy, students are more engaged and active in classes, and they are developing 21st century skills like creativity and innovation in the context of their education. King’s hope is that the more highly educated and skilled students are, the more businesses will move to Maine to employee those educated citizens.

King also spoke about Tom Friedman’s, The World is Flat, and discussed students need 21st Century skills to compete in the global economy. There are more ideas in The World is Flat that I can even begin to discuss here, but needless to say, we live in a world where manufacturing and textile jobs in the US are leaving high rates. What King argued in his talk, was that the jobs that will be left in the US will be ones where we are being creative and are innovating. The amount of education for those jobs will be greater and greater, so we need to better educate as many students as possible through high school and beyond.

So Warlick asks about 1:1:

My initial (and too glib) answer was, “It isn’t a matter of ‘if’. It’s ‘when’.” That being said, it’s a task I wouldn’t wish on a friend. First of all, it won’t work in a 20th century classroom. The formula is much more complex and the questions are too deep to think that simply putting laptop or tablet PCs in the hands of your students will make them smarter, and better prepare them for their future — and these very smart people knew that already.

He’s right — putting a tablet pc in the hands of every student will not make them smarter. We need excellent teachers who are willing to take their best practices in teaching reading, writing and math and then go where they have gone before. We still need to teach reading, writing, and math well.  I would argue that we need to teach them better than we have every before.  Will Richardson would say that by using the Read/Write web, kids have to read to write, and this is a great motivator for student work.

So what are those 21st century skills? My two so far are innovation and creativity. They can be implemented without any technology with a great teacher in who is teaching reading, writing or math in a student centered, active classroom. So what does technology add?

It adds a platform to publish that we have never before seen – kids write 40% more when they are in a 1:1 environment. A place where we can run simulations of physical experiments. A place where they can look at primary source documents around the world. A place where students can interact with anyone around the world at any time. It allows quiet students to soar, and loud students to reflect. A tablet allows them to do this in their own handwriting. To highlight and circle a paper printed to OneNote or another digital notebook.

A laptop or tablet creates conversations. Students and teachers will undoubtedly come across content on the Internet that makes them uncomfortable. With access in classrooms, teachers will be much more in touch with the social practices of the Net Generation. Faculty will hopefully learn along with their students, and create appropriate ground rules for these new spaces. Creating community within new space.

Warlick’s final question is:

Perhaps one of the most important questions is, “What stories do you go out and tell your community to convince them that being ready for their future requires that children have convenient access to networked digital information?”

Very Cluetrain.  So what are the stories? It’s about qualifying the points above. I thought of the printing press and the Internet: Literacy for all and Publishing for all. But what else? I’m thinking of interviewing folks at 1:1 school for these stories. What do you think?

Here are the questions — get Skype (I’m alex.ragone) and get ready for my skype calls:->

  • What are two stories that influenced your school to go 1:1?
  • What has been your best experience?
  • What has been your worst?
  • What would you recommend to school looking to go 1:1?