Monthly Archives: May 2015

Top 10 Comments from District Leaders who Implemented 1:1 from a Top 10 List

In honor of David Letterman’s retirement I thought it would be fun to create a top 10 list of my own. Top 10 lists have been around for a long time. I remember being fascinated by the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list when I was a kid. In my work with education technology it seems like these lists are everywhere. Here are a just a few I stumbled on over the past few days.

  • Five Steps for Implementing a Successful 1:1 Environment
  • Top 10 Apps in an Established 1:1 iPad School
  • Top Ten Ways to Lead a Transformational 1:1 Implementation
  • Top 10 Things NOT to do in a 1:1 iPad Initiative

The more I see 1:1 implementation lists, the more I wonder if they actually do more harm than good. I know most of them state things like “take your time; vision and leadership is important; make sure your infrastructure is robust; teacher buy-in is critical;” etc. These points are all true, but are far too superficial to be of any real value in implementing.  Furthermore, if a district is going to spend millions of dollars on technology and hasn’t done the very cursory investigation it would take to learn these basic points, then shame on them. I can guarantee a top 10 list is not going to help.

For a 1:1 implementation to be successful and sustainable over the long term the approach to needs to be far more comprehensive and systemic. OTO identifies 7 systems within a school district that need to be addressed separately and together at the same time.

  1. Leadership
  2. Finance
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Curriculum and Instruction
  5. Professional Development
  6. Assessment and Evaluation
  7. Communications

I know what you’re thinking…another list. In reality, however, it isn’t a list, but rather an organizing principal that is flexible, dynamic and highly interconnected. It is sort of like each of our categories is a node in a nature, within a complex fractal design, with hundreds of sub nodes and fractals working together and across all of the categories. Guiding this type of transformational work is complicated. The human systems that make up school districts are complicated. It is not something that can be reduced to a top 10 list, and these lists almost seem to disrespect the real challenges district leaders will face while transforming learning. Maybe if we put everyone’s list together we could get close to the 1,500+ items we thought were important in our Project RED work.

So as a tribute to David Letterman’s retirement, I say we relegate top 10 lists to the world of superficial entertainment in which they belong, and focus our work on the in-depth study and improvement of education transformation. I will even begin the tribute with my feeble attempt at a top 10 list that is purely meant for entertainment purposes. This is my first attempt at humor, so please be kind in your responses, and I welcome your humorous additions.

Top 10 comments from district leaders who implemented 1:1 from a top 10 list

10. Top 10? Don’t we have to just give our kids the devices?
9.   If I wanted to be this superficial I would have married a Kardashian.
8.   What do you mean it is going to take 3 -5 years; there are only 10 things to do.
7.   Infrastructure? What infrastructure?
6.   The Internet is free, right?
5.   This will be a nice addition to the 47 other district initiatives we have.
4.   I thought learning from a pilot meant having a drink with him at the airport.
3.   Those Project RED guys must be crazy with their top 1,500 list. Do they really expect anyone to read that?
2.   Letterman has been using top 10 lists for 33 years; this must be the way to go.
1.   Now that I have implemented the top 10 list it’s so nice of the FBI to come and take away all of these boxes of records for us.

Michael Gielniak, Ph.D.

Data Says: Shift IS Happening

Progress in schools! It is gratifying to witness the advances being made across the nation.  This year’s Project Tomorrow Speak-Up results demonstrate the headway made in transforming schools to personalized, powered up, hyper-connected ecosystems.  The evidence is clear when you compare the results from just a few short years ago. See for yourself in the summary below.

My top of mind observations:

  • Students, parents/caregivers, have been drivers of the ‘technology’ disruption/integration. While we know there are state and federal mandates (online testing) that have been a force behind schools buying technology, it is clear that years ago students and their families put tech in the hands of young people and expected to be able to utilize them within the learning environment.  Where students powered down at the school house doors just 2 years ago – a high percentage of those environments are finding or have found ways for learners to effectively bring in and use their devices.  A high percentage of schools are also providing them.
  • The presence and enhancement of a number of ed tech oriented learning experiences have proliferated. Some not even a presence or integrated experiences in 2012: online and blended learning; online collaborations with peers and teachers and between home and school.
  • Another manifest is the distinct connection between technologically powered learning with college and career prep; students call it their readiness for their futures. Common Core clearly has informed this crusade. However, many in the ecosystem are seeing and understanding this connection.
  • Personalization and competency based learning are major drivers today. This year’s findings relay how learners are experiencing personal agency in the learning process where they are widely using technology.  These are major necessary shifts for education and appear to be able to be well facilitated where students and teachers effectively use ed tech.
  • Sadly, it is clear that students in high powered technology learning environments have very different experiences from those without. This is creating a have and have not scenario – one which we have worked so hard to avert.  The hope is in the fact that the transformations are happening and widely; but clearly not everywhere. Efforts via ConnectEd and other major initiatives have got to help the equal access imperative. In addition, local leaders and communities must find ways to include their young people in this century’s learning world.

Below are the key report findings from 2012 and 2014. Compare and contrast for yourselves.

2012 Key Findings

  • With smartphone usage dramatically on the rise — 65 percent of students in grades 6-8 and 80 percent of students in grades 9-12 are smartphone users– a main concern among today’s digital learners is how to leverage the unique features of different devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablets or digital readers, and use them for certain academic tasks.
  • While only 21% of teachers in middle and high schools are assigning Internet homework on a weekly basis, 69% of high school seniors, 61% of high school freshman and 47% of 6th graders are online at least weekly to find resources to support their homework
  • In just one year, the number of middle school students with a personally acquired, digital reader more than doubled from 17 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2012.
  • In fall 2011, 26 percent of students in grades 6-8 said that they had a personal tablet computer. In one year’s time, the percentage of middle school students with tablets jumped to 52 percent,a doubling over the 2011 percentage.
  • Despite this increase of mobile devices in the hands of students, schools are still reluctant to allow them. Among high school students with smartphones, only half say they can use their device at school and only nine percent of students say they can use their personal tablets at school. With 73 percentage of high school seniors saying they have a laptop, only 18 percent of the Class of 2013 say they are allowed to use their personal laptop at school.

2014 Key Findings

  • Whether driven by parental demands for increased personalization or higher goals for student achievement, many administrators are finding that blended learning environments hold great promise. In fact, 45 percent of district administrators in this year’s Speak Up surveys indicate that the implementation of blended learning models within their district was already yielding positive results.
  • Students in blended environments use technology more frequently than their peers in more traditional classroom settings.In addition to use in the classroom, these students are also more likely to self-direct their learning outside of school by tapping into mobile apps, finding online videos to help with homework, emailing their teachers with questions and posting content they create online for comment.
  • When students have access to technology as part of their learning, especially school-provided or enabled technology, their use of the digital tools and resources is deeper and more sophisticated.
  • The availability of online learning continues to increase with only 27 percent of high school principals reporting that they are not yet offering any online courses for students. Interest among students continues to grow, with 24% of high school students saying they wish they could take all their classes online – a large increase from 8% in 2013.
  • Almost three-quarters of students with school-provided devices as well as students with limited or non-existent technology access at school agreed that every student should be able to use a mobile device during the school day for learning.
  • Students connect the use of technology tools within learning to the development of college, career, and citizenship skillsthat will empower their future capabilities.
  • Digital experiences for students in a 100 percent virtual environment are much different than those in traditional schools. For instance, 72 percentof high school students in virtual schools take online tests, compared with 58 percent of traditional students.
  • Students see the smartphone as the ideal device for communicating with teachers (46%) and classmates (72%) and for social media (64%).

Infographic: The New Digital Learning Playbook: Mobile Learning

Flyer: Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About K-12 Students’ Views on Digital Learning

Leslie Wilson
One-to-One Institute