For the past year I have had the opportunity to work with many fantastic one-to-one educators. Those educators have drastically increased my knowledge of one-to-one. It isn’t any secret that speaking with successful people or organizations is a great way to learn in any field. With that in mind, I’d like to apply that concept to one-to-one schools. This post is an invitation for successful one-to-one schools to tell us about their experiences. I’ve listed questions below about some of the things I would like our spotlight school to reflect on. Please feel free to leave comments to this post with other questions you would like to add.
If you feel your school, or one you are familiar with, would be a good spotlight school, please email me at email@example.com. I don’t have a panel of judges or a rubric for how I will select the spotlight school, so beware that my biases will be part of the decision. It is more likely though that most of the schools who would like to be a spotlight school will have that opportunity at some point.
What are the goals of your one-to-one program?
What successes have you seen with your one-to-one program?
What challenges have you seen with your one-to-one program?
How have you obtained community support with your one-to-one program?
How has learning and teaching changed?
How do you assess your program?
What things would you like to tell other one-to-one schools?
While at the Lausanne Laptop Institute, I met with various providers of one-to-one resources. Although these resources and services may not be what every school needs, they do provide options that many schools may be looking for with their program.
DyKnow provides two major products that are applicable to one-to-one schools. DyKnow Vision is the software that I was most excited about. It allows for easy communication between teacher and student and between students within a classroom. It can potentially increase engagement by providing better feedback and better instruction. DyKnow Monitor is a monitoring tool that is also relevant to many schools. It allows the teacher to monitor all of the screens in the classroom. I realize that some of you may object to this type of supervision. That is fine. I also speak with enough board members, community members, and educators to know that this may be the one tool that can put them a bit at ease. If this is the tool that allows public opinion to support one-to-one, it is well worth it in my mind.
The Educational Collaborators are a group of over 60 educators who jointly provide a wide variety of services. Their team is made up of mainly full time educators. They are a very powerful resource for schools considering the move to one-to-one or current one-to-one schools. For each project they work with a school, they develop a team with members who are experts in the areas each particular school needs most. My disclaimer is that I am now a member of the Educational Collaborators. Although I have yet to work with them, I am eager to do so and learn with some great one-to-one experts. Their model of assigning a group of experts in the field to work collaboratively to help a school really excites me. Their model reminds me of various exerts from the book Wikinomics which stresses how a group of people can work to produce much more powerful results than any one person or even one company working in isolation.
I should sing the praises of WatchKnow whether I like them or not simply because they gave me a free Kodak Pocket Video Camera for attending their session! Actually, I’m very interested to see what happens with their site. They are attempting to develop a place where educators can post videos and find any educational video. My first thought was how their site would be better than YouTube, but I did find some benefits. Videos are screened more closely before being placed on their site, and they are also much more organized. Educators can search by topic and also by age level. My concern with the site is that they may not be able to collect enough videos to be a reliable resource for educators. Only time will tell!
This post topic comes to mind for me because I feel awful about how poorly I have done posting in the past couple of weeks. I’ve been traveling and attended ISTE in Denver and the Lausanne Laptop Institute in Memphis along with some leisure travel as well (I have to brag that I caught a home-run ball in Milwaukee!).
My lapse in posting highlight what I consider to be the biggest weakness in blogs and school websites.
When I work with administrators, they often question whether or not people will actually read their blog or look at their school website. They frequently doubt that it will be worth their time to post material online. My response is simply that they are correct if they don’t post current, relevant information on their site. Readers are not going to continue to visit a site that has the same information posted for one month, or in many cases years.
So what can educators do to improve their web presence?
1) Make your sites meaningful!
- Post frequently
- Post short videos that readers want to see. A flip camera can serve as a great tool to capture students in action.
2) Don’t think you have to do everything! Believe me, I realize how busy educators are. Invite others to contribute to the site. A teacher who just completed an amazing project or an extracurricular activity sponsor would add value to the site. Deron Durflinger had a student write a post about one-to-one schools on his blog, and she did an excellent job.
3) Publicize your blog or site. Refer to it at PTA meetings, board meetings, and anywhere you get the opportunity to speak to the public. List it on district publications that are sent out.
4) Don’t entirely recreate the wheel. Take many of the things that you already do and post them on your site. Newsletter articles, mass emails to parents, and newspaper articles are some examples of items that you can also post on your site. The benefit of posting them on your site is that you can do more than you can with just print. You can add video or audio to the article you have posted. That will certainly add value for readers!
I realize that many educators don’t view their web presence as a real priority. It takes back seat to many of the other issues that they face on a day to day basis. That should change! Keeping a site updated doesn’t have to be difficult. The positive public relations that can come from your site will be worth the effort. Often schools don’t do a very good job highlighting all of the great things they are doing. Communication with the public will also increase if you use your site effectively. Both of these benefits will be extremely beneficial any time your district faces a challenging issue.
.….….I’ll also try to get back on track and take some of my own advice!
week I posted my notes from an ISTE session that I attended while in
Denver. The notes included the following comment that was made in
reference to how better support teachers.
“Get rid of network
Nazi’s who don’t have any business making curriculum decisions for
That statement received the following
comment from a reader.
“I am sorry, but I am
so offended by the 1st item on the list above “Get rid of network Nazi’s
who don’t have any business making curriculum decisions for
teachers.” I am a tech director, and to have a ‘blanket’ label of
reference for the position that I hold that is compared to one of the
most hated events of the history of the world. Maybe the network won’t
allow for certain strains on bandwidth? No.. we all just get lumped
into this reprehensible label. I can’t believe that professional of this
caliber, who teach not to label kids, assign this terrible moniker to
someone who is trying to do their job and keep the network healthy so it
can be utilized.”
There are valid points
made with this comment, and I also think both of these comments bring
up an important conversation. The use of the term “network Nazi” is
understandably questionable. Unfortunately, that term is thrown around
quite routinely in our society even on shows shuch as Seinfeld with the “Soup Nazi” character. Obviously, widespread use of the word doesn’t
make it acceptable. With that said, that debate isn’t one I want to focus on
with this post.
I’d like to focus on why that perception exists for many, and possibly more importantly why hundreds of educators gave a loud round of applause after that comment was made. This
belief that administrators and technology teachers are blocking,
filtering, and unnecessarily limiting what teachers can do is fairly
widespread. I have the opportunity to work with lots of educators and I
see both sides of this issue. There are those who are very progressive
when it comes to school networks and others who certainly limit what can
happen in classrooms.
So what is the
solution.……and what was the problem again?
issue seems to revolve around the issue that teachers are limited in
how they can use the technology in their classroom. These limitations
at times cause a rift between teachers and administrators. There are
some things that I have been involved with or observed that have helped
move the administrators and technology directors from technology foe to
technology ally. Those things include the following:
- Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more!
Many problems are simply issues of miscomunication.
- Involve the technology department in professional
development. They should plan, participate, and present when
- Take a hard look at filters that
are in place. Are they neccessary? Do they go above and beyond
the CIPA requirements, and if so why?
staff in developing policies they will be required to follow.
- Never make an employee feel “dumb” when they ask for
help. They certainly aren’t all technology experts! I realize that
this may be very apparent for many, but I speak from experience when I say this
certainly doesn’t always happen.
teachers so they don’t feel threatened by
- Give teachers annual
evaluations of the technology department, and use the feedback to
improve the department.
Some of you may
feel I’m preaching to the choir with this post, but this is a big issue in many schools and
one that shouldn’t be ignored. These rifts between
teachers and those overseeing the network may be due to miscommunication
or the actual policies that are in place. In order to truly use
technology to transform education, schools need to have technology
directors working hand in hand with teachers and administrators
While I was in Denver for ISTE, I was fortunate to be invited to attend
Project Red’s session where results from their research were presented.
Their research included feedback from nearly 1,000 school principals and technology coordinators.
Tom Greaves and Jeanne Hayes shared the 7 major findings at the session, which are listed below. Each of their findings have substantial implications for current and future one to one schools.
1) 1:1 works when properly implemented (There were gains in all one to one schools, but it was much more substantial for schools that properly implemented one to one.)
- 1:1 student computer ratio
- Formative assessments
- Collaboration for teachers in PD
2) A technology implementation crisis is facing schools.
3) Technology is an investment, not an expense.
- Economic cost of dropouts is well known. 1:1 is reducing the dropout rate.
- Copy budgets are being cut in half. On a national level, that would equate to $400 million a year.
4) Leadership and vision are essential components
5) Technology-assisted intervention classes rank number 1-They are the top model predictor for many of the success measures. (Check out the report for more details about this finding.)
6) Collaboration and social media are important to success.
Disciplinary action reductions
- Drop-out rate reductions
- Teacher attendance improved
7) Frequency of technology use is important.
Daily use of technology in core classes correlates highly to desireable education success measures.
For more information view my notes, the online notes from the presenters, or the Project Red site.
I have included a link to my notes from some of the ISTE sessions that I was able to attend. The titles and main presenters from each session are listed below.
- 1-to-1 Laptop Program
Success Stories: Common Themes from Diverse Implementations– Mike Muir, Cyndi Danner-Kuhn, and ?(Didn’t catch the name of the third presenter.)
- Leadership Planning with the School 2.0 e-Toolkit-Chris O’Neal
- 20 Lessons form 20 Years of 1 to 1 Teaching-Gary Stager
- Change from the Radical Center of Education-Doug Johnson
I will also be adding some videos from the session about 1-to-1 success stories in the very near future.