Leadership Day 2012 – Reevaluating The Plan…

A look back to look ahead…

As I gather my thoughts for this year’s Leadership Day blog contribution, I thought I would take a look back at my posts from the past two years to evaluate my efforts. Back in 2010, my post Leadership Day 2010 – Two Of My Goals For This Year focused on connecting with my my administrative colleagues in Massachusetts and getting out and showing them the ways in which digital tools could help them to connect and collaborate within their schools, their communities, and beyond.

In last year’s post, Leadership Day 2011 – A Few Thoughts,  I focused on the following quote from Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From:

“Some environments squelch new ideas; some environments seem to breed them effortlessly. The city and the Web have been such engines of innovation because, for complicated historical reasons, they are both environments that are powerfully suited for the creation, diffusion, and adoption of good ideas.” 

The main point again was that school leaders need to take the lead due to the fact that public schools tend to stifle new ideas.  I concluded with the following words:

Of course order to do this we need to get more school leaders on board using them.  As has always been the case, our schools need to teach literacy, citizenship, and responsibility.  However, the playing field has changed and we now need to embrace the digital realm as well.  If we do not accept this, we will shortchange both our students and ourselves.

As I think about my focus on school leaders and teachers over the past two years, I feel fortunate to have made so many connections with passionate educators who have started to embrace the power of digital resources to engage students in meaningful ways.  However, I also have been frustrated at the limited movement I have seen among educators in adopting resources which I see as beneficial in the creation of more relevant learning environments for students.

This year, I propose a change in focus, or better yet, an additional focal point in the effort to create learning environments that will better prepare our students for the growingly complex world that they will enter when they complete their formal education. It is time to go all-in with that group of people that many educators tend to avoid…the parents.  We need to engage the people that care most about our students and engage them in a meaningful dialogue about the schools their students need.

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Parents play a key role in our move to create more engaging classrooms.

We need to have real discussions about the fact that the classrooms that our students enter are amazingly similar to the ones that their parents and grandparents entered decades earlier despite the fact that the world outside of those classrooms is in many ways unrecognizable from the world   of school children at those times.

There is no group that cares more deeply about the education of our students than their parents. However, it is up to us to show parents some of the new resources that were not available when they were in school. Even more important is that we show parents how to use these tools that are sometimes perceived negatively by those who have never seen them used constructively. 
For quite some time schools have lamented the fact that parents do not physically show up at school for these types of conversations, but fortunately time and place is no longer a hinderance with the plethora of digital tools we can draw from to get more people engaged in te dialogue. We  (school leaders) are the only ones holding us back from this endeavor at this time.  
The tools are there to connect and there is plenty to discuss, so let’s have it! I look forward to sharing our movement in Burlington with anyone interested.

Here are a couple of reference points that will help us lead this conversation:

What Qualities Do “Bold Schools” Share? – from Will Richardson

 Race To Nowhere resources

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Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (with iPads) – Part 6

ipads with students
ipads with students (Photo credit: patricklarkin1967)

So it’s time to look at the feedback from 177 of our students who responded on our brief end-of-the-year survey asking about some of their impressions after a year of 1:1 with iPads.  For today, I would like to focus on the responses to the three questions below:

While others may not think this is important data, I think that we have to take some time to look at this data and recognize the fact that most of our students and staff managed to alter their workflow to incorporate the new tools at their fingertips in a very short period of time.  I think this is a credit to the work of our staff and the support provided by the adults and students who make up our BPS EdTech Team.
I love the way that Bernajean Porter describes the technology integration process as one that contains the three distinct steps described below:

Literacy Uses: Student uses are described as technology storiesAdaptive Uses: Learning is telling the same stories with new toolsTransforming Uses: Learning is creating new stories with new tools

It is exciting to see that we seem to be moving well into the adaptive uses in just one year. While it is important that we look for an even higher percentage in this area in year two, the focal point also must move to transforming uses and ensuring that we are supporting a learning environment in which these types of opportunities will be prevalent. 

It reminds me of an excerpt from Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It:

“What if instead of telling (students) what they should know, we asked them?”

We need to continue to learn from and with our students as we continue to seek to maximize the potential of our devices. While some people are quick to question the cost of an iPad and whether our money was well spent, I believe they are missing the point if they are only focusing on the technology.

This quote about iPods could easily be transferred to our iPads initative:

“The iPod experiment was not an investment in technology. It was an investment in a new form of attention, one that didn’t require the student to always face forward, learn from on high, memorize what was already a given, or accept knowledge as something predetermined and passively absorbed.”

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Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (with iPads) Part Five

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As we begin to look at the data from our students at BHS on their thoughts on year one as a 1:1 school, I thought it would be interesting to look at how teachers and students from other schools who also just completed a year of 1:1 felt about the impact made by putting a web-enabled device in the hands of each student.

I found the following information which was posted by Ian Jukes on the 21st Century Fluency Project’s blog very relevant:

Data Brief (from Digital Wish):We surveyed 30 teachers and 465 students participating in 1:1 computing initiatives this year:

  • Student Engagement – Student engagement increased 140% in word processing and writing, creating presentations, and video production.  52% of teachers now feel that the majority of their students are highly engaged as opposed to only 37% pre-initiative.
  • Problem Solving – Students who say they can “figure out just about anything on their own” increased from 38% to 51%, a 134% increase.  The number of students who say they have participated in ten or more technology projects that required them to solve a problem, gather information, or draw a conclusion, has nearly doubled, from 23% to 42%.
  • Creativity – Teachers now say that 46% of their students are experts or peer coaches in creating a new idea or original project using technology, a value that almost quadrupled the pre-initiative’s mere 12%.
  • Students becoming Tech “Experts” – The majority of students say they are experts at digital media, word processing, making presentations, safely and responsibly using the internet, solving problems using technology, and researching a topic on the Internet.  At the beginning of the initiative, almost 50% of students said they didn’t know how to do these things.
While the questions on our student survey at the end of the year may have been a bit different, I think there are equally positive data points. We will look at these tomorrow!

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Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (With iPads) Part Four

During the course of the year, we talked to students and staff and asked them to share some of their thoughts on the iPad initiative at BHS. Here is a glimpse of what some staff and students say about the iPad initiative thus far.

http://swf.tubechop.com/tubechop.swf?vurl=Dl-ImuCEKYQ&start=88.26&end=265.65&cid=460334

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Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (With iPads) Part Three

One of the positive things about our iPad initiative has been the positive recognition that our school has received due to the efforts of our staff in undertaking this exciting work. The Boston Phoenix published an article this week that highlighted the work of BHS and other schools integrating the use of iPads.

I do want to say that I am not a fan of the headline – iPads Innovate Education in Massachusetts Schools because I think we need to continue to be clear that technology does not innovate by itself. It is thoughtful practitioners who know how to integrate the right tools at the right moment who are innovative.

Here are some of the other articles and that have been done on our efforts at BHS due to our wealth of innovative educators who are willing to take risks and integrate new technology in order to create more engaging classrooms:

July 2012

The iPad Initiative Did it Make the Grade – Burlington Wicked Local

June 2012

7 Habits of Highly Effective Tech-Leading Principals – THE Journal

March 2012

Schools Abandon Textbooks To Go All iPad – WBUR Radio

November 2011

How Students View Digital Citizenship – Edudemic


September 2011

How Steve Jobs Transformed The Classroom
How Steve Jobs Influences BHS – WBZ News
A Student’s Tweet Lands Me On Fox News
BHS Featured on WGBH TV


August 2011

Associated Press – Many U.S. Schools Adding iPads, Trimming Textbooks
Daily Times Chronicle – iPad Program Drawing Attention For Burlington High
Boston Globe – Leading The Way To Cyber-Learning
T.H.E. Journal – When Students Run The Help Desk
Fox 25 Boston Checks Out Our iPad Deployment
USA Today – Students Cast Wide Net For Mentoring With PLN’s
Edutopia – How My School Is Transitioning to Digital Textbooks (Organizing: Step 1 of 5)
Edutopia – How My School Is Transitioning to Digital Textbooks (Organizing: Step 2 of 5)
Edutopia – How My School Is Transforming to Digital Textbooks (Process: Step 3 of 5)


July 2011

Edutopia – Creating ePubs: A Model for Multi-District Collaboration


February 2011

Boston Globe – School Plans to Provide iPads

Previous Posts On This Topic


Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (With iPads) – Part One

Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (With iPads) – Part Two


 




Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (With iPads) Part Two

One of the big questions that is asked about our iPad initiative at BHS is – What are the goals of the initiative and how do you know if it is successful or not? My response to this question is not meant to be evasive, but I do think if this question is being asked too much that we did not do a good job communicating up front about this initiative.

The biggest point we want to reiterate is that technology by itself will not have a significant impact in our schools. I mentioned this last week in a post referring to Jim Collins’ book Good to Great.

Technology alone is not going to move an organization or an individual from Good to Great. However, technology that is thoughtfully deployed can help us move a bit faster. “

We continue to focus on higher levels of student engagement as a primary target in all classrooms and our work in this area will continue. We believe strongly that students having access to a web-enabled device will allow us to increase the qualities of an engaged classroom as described by Phil Schlechty (below).

  • Personal Response – More than one right answer
  • Clear/Modeled Expectations – Student knows what success “looks like”
  • Emotional/Intellectual Safety – Freedom to take risks
  • Learning with Others (Affiliation) – Learning has a social component
  • Sense of Audience – Student work is shared
  • Choice – Students have meaningful options
  • Novelty and Variety – Learning experiences are unusual or unexpected
  • Authenticity – Connections to experience or prior learning

It is important to note that this is work that started well beyond the distribution of iPads. However, we feel that the access that is no provided opens up a number of additional access points to these engaging qualities.

Previous Posts On This Topic

Looking Back At Year One of 1:1 (With iPads) – Part One