Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Student Device – their Window to the Cloud…

You’ve got a 1:1 initiative?  Don’t select your device until you’ve defined your Classroom Management model and Curriculum suite.

Is your district purchasing laptops or tablets for students? If you aren’t supporting your teachers with Learning Management Systems and appropriate Professional Development, you’re probably wasting your money.

I know, the kids like the toys.  But in reality, they already have an “anchor” device – which is probably their SmartPhone.  Some also have a tablet (and some also have a laptop) – which may be better than the one you want to give them.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell your board members.

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After buying and overseeing the purchase of thousands of student laptops and tablets, we can’t ignore the fact that some of these purchases haven’t proven to have a significant return on investment.

From my own experience, most of the lack of effective use of laptops seems to come from a lack of a comprehensive use model beforehand and adequate Professional Development afterward.  What good are laptops if the teacher has not adapted their curriculum to allow the students to utilize them effectively in class?

Just do a quick search on 1:1 and improved test scores and you’ll find a convincingly mixed bag of results.  Some studies even seem to put a positive spin to show subjective improvement like “student engagement” or “motivation” in place of objective results like test scores.

At the three schools where every student has an iPad, researchers compared students’ test scores before and after one year of implementation, and they found no increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards. – Charleston County School District, SC.

It’s TIME to take the Educational Technology discussion away from devices.

Today – circa 2014 – devices are so ubiquitous, that it makes less sense to standardize on one type of device and try to define and develop curriculum and classroom management around device use.

Devices are not the focus – they are simply the student’s window to the cloud. 

Think of how we rent a car – we look at a bunch of pictures of cars and the budget, and off we go.  As long as it holds enough people or cargo, that’s all we really care about.

I’m sorry to tell you that your 1:1 device is like a rental car.

After you’ve done 1:1 and turned to BYOD, and realized that you’re already doing both, its time to consider TIME – Technology Independent Model for Education.

TIME is about taking the focus off devices and back to learning and curriculum.

The goal is to optimize investment in devices by only procuring exactly what is needed as opposed to trying to buy one thing that fulfills every student’s needs (especially if every student’s needs haven’t been identified).

In the next few months, we will be unveiling the methodology and practice of TIME.  In the meantime, take a look at your 1:1 program and ask yourself the following questions:

– Are we buying the best tool for every student, or just buying something we can afford to get a lot of?

– Do our teachers have the training and the right tools to allow these computers to add value to the learning experience? Is the training program, resources and budget in place?

– How will we upgrade and replace obsolete devices in forward years?

Scaling Technology and Infrastructure to Support the Common Core

Mike Casey will be presenting Scaling Technology and Infrastructure to Support the Common Core This Tuesday, May 13, 2:30 – 4:00pm.

http://www.wested.org/webinar-scaling-technology-and-infrastructure-to-support-the-common-core/

Technology is more than purchasing the latest device; the infrastructure must be in place to support teaching and learning. Topics include:

  • Assess your site’s technology readiness. Does your site have the infrastructure, capacity, and commitment to support your technology?
  • Examine all costs associated with use, implementation, and scaling. Will you be able to sustain your purchase over time?
  • Plan for more than online testing. Is there a clear plan for effectively using technology for teaching and learning?
  • Plan and prepare for growth. Will your technology adapt to your changing needs?

Technology Independent Model for Education(TM) comes after 1 to 1 and BYOD

Technology Independent Model for Education(TM) – aka TIME, is our latest developmental methodology that re-focuses educational technology initiatives on – guess what?  It’s not technology!

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TIME is an analysis and planning development process that is rooted in curriculum focus.

The primary problem in 1:1 is – What is the one device that will support all our Ed Tech initiatives?  The answer: there isn’t one!

The primary problem with BYOD is – lack of standardization – so, what do you do? The answer: buy the same device you would if you were doing 1:1 for all the kids that don’t have the right device already.

Really?  These are not education initiatives, they are technology purchases.   Just look at how much time and money is being spent on expanding and securing your wireless network to support these devices.

Sounds like a lot of money spent on hardware with little regard for the curriculum needs.

The reality is, if you could truly define the technology requirements of your curriculum, there wouldn’t necessarily be that much – because much of the curriculum is still delivered in the traditional manner – classroom lecture and demonstration.

That’s not to say no technology is needed – we’re saying that the inquiry process hasn’t been performed at each grade level and each subject category.  So what ever device you’re buying is only based on the most conveniently justifiable application – not necessarily a totality of all the curriculum.

I know you’re using Kahn, Haiku and Edmodo, and Notebook and Reflection, and flipping your classrooms, but do the students really need their device to participate every hour of every school day?

How about this quandary: using capital bond funds to procure disposable technology – doesn’t sound like a good investment does it?  But if we ignore this question – kids still love the devices.

As we delve further into TIME – we’ll provide the inquiry process to understand and define requirements for these areas, and then examine principles for maintaining and supporting them:

  • CURRICULUM
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
  • SUSTAINMENT.