Sorry my PC was a slow boot and the ISTE wifi won’t connect to my laptop, so it took a moment to take notes. This session is with Mike Muir, Cyndi Danner-Kuhn, and Sam Farsali. Moderated by Alice Owen.
1:1 Laptop Implementation
Mike – “Do not do workshops around hardware and software training. The research is clear if you train teachers how to do spreadsheets — if you teach them how to analyze data – they go back and teach kids how to analyze data and do spreadsheets.”
Cyndi – “Get rid of the network nazi’s — people who are IT people with no background in curriculum or education have no business making curriculum decisions.” (Those who have heard me speak know I agree with this.)
Mike- Leadership is everything – 4 characteristics of places where successful things are happen
1) Built a common vision together with the staff — future looking – a student you care about now, what will they be doing?
2) Positive pressure and support
3) Provide opportunities for professional development (Can I easily find a tutorial that will show me answers – just in time PD for software.)
4) Celebration — celebrate those who have made baby steps.
Sam – Feedback for opportunities – everything should not be top down — from teacher’s perspective what is working and what is not working. Teachers, admin, students, and parents meeting weekly to talk about immediate and long term challenges. “Unless you solve your immediate challenges people will get frustrated and you will hit a brick wall.”
Mike – A place where schools make mistakes is by not involving parents and students more. Involve the community.
Cyndi – K-5 grant everyone had a 1:1 laptop — as they year went on — did a parent training on laptops but the kids did the training. The kids trained other kid’s parents (not their own) — very proud moment. Got to show projects that they did. “Was the culminating event that won everyone over that this was the thing we should have done.”
It was amazing the next year how much more parents were doing with technology at home and doing it with their kids. She had another 1;1 program that didn’t do much communication and the parents complained that they weren’t using the laptops all the time all day in every class. The parents have to understand that there is appropriate use.
Sam – “It is easy to forget about our parents and where they are, we tend to take for granted where our parents are.” He has more than 70 languages spoken in his community. They have to try to educate at that level. Safety is an issue. There are sites that kids shouldn’t be visiting – teaching parents that they are still responsible. Retired people can be involved – they are voters – they have impact. Send students to retirement homes and let them do projects so people can see what is happening. Then, you have people behind you and they are voters — they are people you want to have behind you.
Mike – A great way to involve parents is send laptops home. Adult ed and Adult GED goes up according to the research in environments where the laptops are sent home. (it is a spillover affect from students!)
Sam – We’ve learned that 1 or 2 technology people cannot support this program – “get students involved.” Students can take laptops apart and put them back together in 10 minutes. The students have training and do this and they need those skills. The students are needed as contacts. A second layer of support for technicians. Technicians don’t directly deal with students but use the layer of student support as a go between. “That helps us dramatically and we learned this the hard way.”
Mike – “In Maine our biggest surprise was that breakage is inversely related to whether leadership have done those things and whether teachers are used to teach in interesting ways. If kids are having computers used in ways that are boring — breakage and theft rates go up.” (according to research Mike says.)
Note: If you have high theft and breakage rates in your 1:1 — LOOK AT HOW THEY ARE TEACHING WITH IT!
Cyndi – “laptops will NOT make a bad teacher better” but can lead to more engaging learning
Sam – There is less breakage with laptops that are used every day. The more they are used, the less breakage that they have. Whatever your internet bandwidth is — double it. The next year, double it again. Consider for every 1-2 classrooms put in an access point if you put this in. An industrial strength access point. Shifting more of software from on the computer to cloud computing and this impacts internet access. We’ve had more breakage with laptops than with netbooks – dramatic difference. Not sure why.
Mike – Learned about blocking sites our tools. The more you lock down what they have access to– the more it becomes irrelevant to their lives and breakage goes up. They don’t let “anything go” in good programs. It is a strategic combination:
1) teach teachers to use those tools for academic purposes,
2) have a filter but not a wildly overbearing one,
3) teach kids what is appropriate use,
4) teach your teachers to get up and walk around the room and see what the kids are doing.
This has been by far the best session on 1:1 laptop implementation I have ever seen. Here here to the presenters! Great work!
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