Helping Laptop Programs Work

What Can Failing Restaurants Tell Us About 1-to-1?

by Pamela Livingston on September 23, 2014

 

Why would 1-to-1 be just about the device?

Why would 1-to-1 be just about the device?

Recently I was read­ing some arti­cles on 1-to-1 pro­grams that didn’t live up to expec­ta­tions. This is not a new story, of course.

But there some­times is a ten­dency to believe that giv­ing a device to every stu­dent in a school or dis­trict or sub­set of this is mirac­u­lously going to solve all ills:

  • Test scores will rise!
  • Tech­nol­ogy skills will skyrocket!
  • Stu­dents will be engaged!
  • The com­mu­nity will sup­port us more fully!
  • Peo­ple will visit!
  • Every­one will love us!

It’s the same old story as when I first did the research for the first and then the sec­ond edi­tion of my book. There MUST be a mag­i­cal for­mula here, right? A ratio of 1-to-1 com­bined with every stu­dent and every teacher = huge nee­dle move in all the ail­ing and dif­fi­cult aspects of the school. Plus every­one will like it.

Sorry, there’s more work to it than that. Wish it were eas­ier but it’s not.

Here’s an inter­view with Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine writ­ten by Richard Feloni of Busi­ness Insider, list­ing the 5 things he sees as major rea­sons restau­rants fail. They are:

  • Inex­pe­ri­ence
  • Bad Peo­ple Management
  • Lack of Account­ing Skills
  • Spotty Cus­tomer Service
  • Sub-Par Food Qual­ity and Execution

There is no men­tion of stoves, refrig­er­a­tors, pots, pans, knives, utensils.

We need to look at edu­ca­tion holis­ti­cally and not about hard­ware or soft­ware. What is the expe­ri­ence in the class­room of the stu­dent, what are the fac­tors con­tribut­ing to that expe­ri­ence, what is the philo­soph­i­cal view­point of that school, what can we change, what can we improve, what do we have to work around, what is the lead­er­ship, what do teach­ers say, what do par­ents say, what do stu­dents say?

Tech­nol­ogy can’t solve every­thing, so let’s stop sim­pli­fy­ing this highly com­pli­cated endeavor. All those restau­rants which failed within 5 years had stoves, refrig­er­a­tors, elec­tric­ity, and gas. That’s not the rea­son they failed. Intro­duc­ing 1-to-1 with­out a seri­ous look at every­thing else can result in pock­ets of suc­cess but not trans­for­ma­tion. Take the time, energy and effort to go deeper.

 – Pamela Livingston

 

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Reposting from Innovate My School – Originally at http://bit.ly/1zNLxbf 

We’re in the twenty-fourth year of edu­ca­tors recog­nis­ing the ratio of 1:1 to mean one dig­i­tal device to one child, avail­able at school, at home and any­where. The very first exam­ple of 1:1 was at Ladies Methodist Col­lege in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia when these vision­ary edu­ca­tors took the bold step of pro­vid­ing lap­tops to every 5–12 grade stu­dent. This is fully chron­i­cled in the book “Never Mind the Laptops”.

Since then, there have been suc­cesses and stum­bles, but one thing is cer­tain: the school, dis­trict or region con­sid­er­ing 1:1 needs to set the goals and direc­tion clearly and com­pletely to ensure mean­ing­ful edu­ca­tional use. To do this it is impor­tant to ask:

Once we have dig­i­tal devices that are avail­able through­out the school, what will we do with them?”

The answer to this ques­tion should be deter­mined after deep reflec­tive think­ing. Just as edu­ca­tors teach inquiry-based learn­ing so that the ques­tions from stu­dents are not sur­face but of depth and sub­stance, so should the edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tion embark on deep and mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sion to answer this ques­tion. Mis­sion and edu­ca­tional goals should drive the answer but so should the pos­si­bil­i­ties that might not have existed before. No school improve­ment pro­gramme has the depth and poten­tial for edu­ca­tion change than pro­vid­ing dig­i­tal devices to every stu­dent and teacher in a school.

Answers can come from thor­ough research on what works and what doesn’t, espe­cially from Project Red. We also have one of the pre­vi­ously largest pro­grammes, the State of Maine, with a long-range researched pro­gramme. Other answers can come from pock­ets of excel­lence such as the Urban School in San Fran­cisco which took the avail­abil­ity of lap­tops for stu­dents into new and amaz­ing heights when they began reach­ing out to their com­mu­nity and inter­view­ing Holo­caust sur­vivors. The Urban School is now get­ting stu­dents to inter­view adults to tell their sto­ries of the civil rights move­ment and his­toric moments. What an amaz­ing exam­ple of stu­dents mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their local and national com­mu­nity, and attain­ing inter­na­tional renown. No one else has done what they have done. This pos­si­bil­ity only arose once stu­dents had dig­i­tal devices.

Another exem­plar is the Sci­ence Lead­er­ship Acad­emy in Philadel­phia. Project-based, inquiry-driven and student-centered, the dig­i­tally device-equipped stu­dents design and run projects, fully empow­ered by mobile dig­i­tal devices. They’ve received vis­its and inter­est from Barack Obama and many oth­ers, as the school achieves great suc­cess in an urban space with a mean­ing­ful and reflec­tive approach to learn­ing. Vis­it­ing a com­puter lab once a week could never offer this type of depth.

At my for­mer employer, The Peck School in Mor­ris­town, NJ lap­tops were orig­i­nally con­sid­ered as a home­work aide. Stu­dents with busy lives were hav­ing trou­ble com­plet­ing home­work, espe­cially with trav­el­ling require­ments from being part of sports teams and some­times liv­ing in more than one home because of divorce or sep­a­ra­tion. Lap­tops pro­vided the vehi­cle for tak­ing the work any­where, turn­ing in home­work elec­tron­i­cally, and keep­ing the arte­facts and resources of learn­ing in school with stu­dents at all times. But Peck did not stop there. Teach­ers worked hard to incor­po­rate these dig­i­tal devices into nearly all aspects of teach­ing and learn­ing. When I worked at Peck and peo­ple wished to visit to see lap­top use, I just had to be sure there weren’t tests hap­pen­ing in spe­cific class­rooms on the days of visit, as there would be lap­tops used otherwise.

Teach­ers often find dif­fer­en­ti­ated learn­ing to be accom­plished more fully using 1:1 because dif­fer­ent stu­dents can be assigned dif­fer­ent parts of a unit accord­ing to inter­est or level, and then work in that group on their own dig­i­tal devices using all the resources available.

St. Thomas Epis­co­pal Parish School in Coral Gables, Florida used lap­tops to fur­ther their stu­dent of life in Ancient Mesopotamia, a sig­na­ture yearly project. Stu­dents can learn dif­fer­ent aspects of this ancient civ­i­liza­tion and then come back together with their con­tri­bu­tions to the whole project. Every stu­dent is at a level play­ing field with devices and resources to empower their learning.

I vis­ited NSW Aus­tralia and saw some excel­lent uses of 1:1, includ­ing stu­dents emi­grat­ing to Aus­tralia and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cul­ture and speech class. Their dig­i­tal devices allowed them to cre­ate per­sua­sive and infor­ma­tive speeches about their process of learn­ing the cul­ture and lan­guage of their new coun­try. Addi­tion­ally, cre­at­ing a record of their learn­ing in progress allowed them to return to each speech and under­stand their own growth and progress. Because tech­nol­ogy cre­ates this type of record, the arc of learn­ing can be under­stood and eval­u­ated not just by the teacher, but also by the learner. Hav­ing this per­sonal and mobile device meant learn­ing was pos­si­ble in mul­ti­ple ways and in mul­ti­ple spaces.

The pos­si­bil­i­ties are enor­mous once reflec­tive edu­ca­tors con­sider how the ratio of 1:1 can open up learn­ing in new ways. Don’t hold back, embrace 1:1 and see what can happen.

Always happy to speak about 1-to-1 –let me know your thoughts.

– Pamela

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