Monthly Archives: June 2015

Project RED Launches Phase III – News Release


Project RED
1980 N College Road
Mason, Michigan 48854
Press contact: Alicia Sutfin
(517) 978-0006

Project RED Launches Phase III 
Proven Data-driven Method for Effective Education through Properly Implemented Technology

Research-based method leads to increased student achievement and improved ROI



  • Project RED is launching a third phase of research around Signature Districts’ demonstration that well implemented education technologies leads to increased student achievement and revenue positive results.
  • Project RED Phase II created a professional learning community providing tools, resources and collaboration opportunities for district leaders and school administrators who are passionate about bringing change to learning and preparing students for successful futures.
  • By using findings from a national research study of 1,000 schools, the initial Project RED research provided a replicable design for school districts to make the best possible use of technology in a learning environment, leading to improved student achievement and significant return on investment.

June 30, 2015 (Philadelphia, PA) – Project RED announces the second iteration of its research.  In 2012, seventeen districts across the United States were identified as Signature Districts in Phase II of Project RED. These districts were awarded Signature status through a national, competitive, rigorous application process.  Each district demonstrated Project RED’s ‘key implementation factors’ (KIFs).  The KIFs are associated with the highest levels of effectiveness for technology integration for enhancing teaching, learning, and financial savings.  Phase III Project RED research will focus on student achievement, teacher and student behavior and financial findings in these  technology rich Signature Districts that  followed the Project RED Model Design© for implementation.

“Our 2010 Project RED (phase I) research of 1,000 schools showed that the United States was in an education technology implementation crisis.  We realized that there was a gap between what schools were doing and what research showed was effective,” said Leslie Wilson, CEO of the One-to-One Institute and a Project RED team member.  “Some leaders didn’t realize the extensive nature of project planning required and there were no models that ranked various strategies to find the most effective. The key, however, is effective implementation, and that’s exactly what sets Project RED apart.”

“Project RED is nothing less than a blueprint for remaking American education – second-order change – not through more or better testing, charter schools, longer school days, more or even better teachers, but through fundamentally altering how we do education, the first real change in the process of education itself in a thousand years.” – Angus King, Governor of Maine, 1995-2003

Project RED Phase II provided a method to district leaders and school administrators through a free, professional learning community where experts continue to share the best practices and tools for effective technology implementation.  Members take advantage of resources and research, as well as participate in educational opportunities including webinars, forums and regional institutes. During these events, members gain the knowledge to effectively implement technology into their own districts.

To address the critical question of school finance, the Project RED team has created both a project plan model and an ROI Calculator to share with district leaders who join the Project RED learning community.  The team has also examined the financial impact of technology and can now share potential savings in 14 areas with Project RED Signature Districts.

There are five key findings the Project RED research reveals about using technology in schools to improve learning performance and financial outcomes.

  1. Personalize learning for all students through frequent, appropriate use of technology integrated with curriculum and instruction in all classrooms and other learning places.

Technology is no longer a supplement. It’s an integral part of students’ lives outside of the classroom and is most effective when it becomes an integral part of the core curriculum.

  1. Incorporate “change leadership” consistently throughout the entire process.

Leadership for change is one of the most crucial elements for school transformation through education technology.

  1. Make professional learning and effective use of technology high priorities for administrators and teachers.

High-quality professional learning for teachers is key to using technology to its fullest potential. To truly transform learning, educators must be able to confidently integrate technologies into their teaching, learning and assessments.

  1. Use technologies such as social media, games and simulations to engage students and encourage collaboration.

Today’s students have been communicating and learning on technology platforms as long as they can remember. Leverage the extraordinary power of technology to connect with students, excite them about learning and empower them to succeed.

  1. Use ongoing online (formative) assessments to gauge student learning and then tailor instruction for personalized learning experiences.

Technology can assess each student’s learning progress faster to help teachers guide students more effectively. Use this data to determine instruction, remediation and accelerated learning strategies for each student.


About Project RED

Project RED was established by three organizations, The Greaves Group, The Hayes Connection and One-to-One Institute, and began with a research project aimed at addressing two major issues in U.S. education: improving student achievement and evaluating the total financial impact of technology on state budgets.

In 2010, Project RED conducted a survey of technology programs in 1,000 U.S. schools, which is the first and only national research focusing on academic results and the financial implication of education technology. The research shows that, if effectively implemented, technology programs can lead to improved student achievement and significant return on investment. After analyzing the findings, Project RED now provides a research-based method to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. Additional information can be found at




The McDonald’s effect among school leaders

As parents, and with rather hectic work and travel schedules, there are days where both our families forgo trying to cook a meal for the family and resort to fast-food measures. McDonalds, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, the options are endless. Despite the added cost and questionable health impacts, it’s the convenience that leads us, and so many, to flock to drive-thru windows or to pick up our phones for quick and easy delivery.

The opposite is true when it comes to homework time in our houses. When one of our children comes with a difficult homework question, we want to show them how to answer the question. They, however, just want the answer. They too have succumbed to the McDonaldization of education, a term coined by George Ritzer in 1993 and expanded into education over the past decade. In one description, high school educator Shelley Wright, expanded to suggest that “education continues to rapidly adopt short-cuts.”

But short-cuts don’t instill students with lifelong skills. Short-cuts don’t help institutions overcome decades of following the “status quo” to bring about meaningful change – change which is accompanied by actual results-focused on learners. Short-cuts are merely a small bandage on a broken limb, that don’t come close to getting to the heart of the problem and working to overcome those challenges. In fact, those short cuts have created drastic negative results across the board.  The leaders responsible for those decisions have skirted their moral imperative to serve their learners and community.  They should be held accountable.  Indeed, some of them have.

Take a recent situation. We’ve removed all reference to the school system to protect the guilty. But the responses from this school system mirror that of so many fellow districts around the country and so many country-wide initiatives happening around the world, especially when it comes to major attempted transformations through technology adoptions.

The school district, governments or ministry leadership are unwilling to do their homework AND the complex components of a high quality implementation. Instead, they want a fast-food approach…a fill-in-the-blanks template done over 1-2 days, or episodic, drive-by, ‘talking head’ professional development or a multi-million/billion dollar bond issue-suggesting that these will bring about meaningful change.  They will not.

In a recent example, the superintendent of an urban district was told about an extensive 1,500-step planning process developed by Project RED. This could take the school system a few weeks or a few months to do the necessary research, review and plan, but the superintendent set a clock. If it couldn’t be done within 24 hours, they would not create such a plan. In essence, the superintendent wasn’t looking for assistance with their homework….he/she was looking for someone to do it for them….and in an unreasonable time frame.

The day the key leaders and teachers came together to begin this important work, the superintendent announced, interrupting the team’s focused session, “Just tell us what to do and give us a template. We don’t have time for this.”  One could see and feel the wind escaping the sails of all who were present and engaged in the process.

When we see such short-cuts being taken at the highest levels of education, we’re disappointed. We’re disappointed because we know that the resources of budget and staff commitment will likely yield little to no impact. We’re sad because we know the very students meant to benefit from these added resources will be shortchanged as their school leaders opt for short-cuts rather than meaningful strategic change. We’re also a little angry, that this district, as have so many others, advocated to their communities to fund such initiatives. While their taxpayers are standing behind them and funding this initiative, the leaders are blatantly ignoring research based processes and best practices.  Their short-cuts will severely undermine the results, the return on investment and the overall likelihood that the community will make such important funding efforts in the future. Worse yet, students will not reach their potential that would otherwise be realized with thoughtful, focused, albeit, hard work.

Most leaders don’t think they’ll be the next big technology disaster, making headlines across the country. But they do feel complacent enough to allow their latest initiative be based on little more than buying some new devices and hoping for the best. And 3-4 years later, as school leaders change roles, the new administration looks at the past efforts and tries to put a positive spin on an otherwise wasted initiative. Without a model of comparison (such as established benchmarks agreed by stakeholders in advance), the only option is to compare test scores — comparing standardized test scores before and after the technology initiative and seeing no meaningful impact.

This is happening today in countless school systems. This is malpractice.

So if your district, state or country is speaking about some new initiative, ask if they’re prepared to do their homework and then the tough, complex tactical work, or if they will choose the short-cuts at the expense of the children and community.


Elliott Levine is Americas Education Strategist for Hewlett Packard. There he works with schools and universities to support major educational technology initiatives and was co-inventor of the HP Personal Learning Engine (US PTO PCT/US2013/062777), an effort that has him featured as one of three employees at A former K-12 official and regular public speaker, he has worked for and launched startups in the education and marketing industries. You can learn more about him at

Leslie Wilson is CEO of the One-to-One Institute and co-founder of Project RED. She created and implemented the programs and services model based on Michigan’s Freedom to Learn Program. Ms. Wilson served public education for 31 years in seven school districts. She was recruited to co-lead Michigan’s one-to-one teaching and learning initiative, Freedom to Learn (FTL), in 2003. As co-chair of the National Steering Committee of One to One Directors, She has extensively authored and presented around 21st century teaching/learning/leadership, one-to-one best practices and research, and co-authored the book A Guidebook for Change. You can learn more about her at