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

The Technology Is Easy But The Teaching Is Still Hard

I remember not to long ago when the integration of technological resources into a lesson plan required a great deal of planning and support (at least for me).  So as I struggle to see why technology is not being integrated into our schools and classrooms as quickly as it could be, I am reminded of the words of our Superintendent of Schools (Dr. Conti).

I have heard him speak to educators numerous times on the topic of integrating technological resources into schools. His comment that resonates for me is as follows:

“The technology used to be hard and that has changed, but the teaching is hard and it will always be hard.”

Keeping this in mind and the whole idea that searching for technological tools and resources has been compared to taking a sip of water from a fire house,  we have what appears to be a difficult task in front of us.  How do we best conquer this two step process of showing teachers how easy these tools are to use and then help them to navigate the seemingly endless number of resources available?

It makes me think that the fact that we have so many options makes the technology hard again, albeit in a different way than in the past.

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A Great Way To Approach Technology – "Pause — Think — Crawl — Walk — Run."

One of my favorite leadership books of all-time is Good to Great by Jim Collins.  He captured my attention three sentences in with the following statement:

“We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools.” 

It is ironic that when I first read the book shortly after its publication in 2001 I skipped quickly past Chapter 7 which is titled “Technology Accelerators.” At the time, I was in a place where technology purchases were few and far between and that was fine with me as I dealt with so many of the overwhelming details of being a brand new Principal.  Another reason for my jumping past the chapter was that Collins said the following about technology:

 “Technology and technology-driven change has virtually nothing to do with igniting a transformation from good to great” 

I have to admit that my perception of the situation was that we had a great deal of work to do in creating a more student-centered approach and coming to agreement on learning expectations. So, I was happy to put technology discussions on the back burner and have one less thing to worry about.

Fast forward to Burlington in the present and I have a different view of Chapter 7 from Good to Great.  The quotation from Collins about technology has become a “yeah, but…” for me. While I know that technology alone cannot change an organization, it is now clear to me that technology when deployed thoughtfully can bolster improvement efforts. It gets to the heart of what is intended in the quote from Sheryl Nussbaum Beach above. 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. 


Great schools and teachers will share that traits of the great companies that Collins described by selecting and focusing solely upon the development of a few technologies that are fundamentally compatible with their established strengths and objectives.”  They will not fall in love with the newest or shiniest toy that the vendors are peddling.  I can’t help but wonder how many millions of dollars have been wasted on Interactive White Boards in schools that did not first consider how they would be used or if they fit well with the goals and objectives of teachers who received them. 

As we receive visitors, calls, emails, etc here in Burlington about our iPad initiative, I caution schools to employ Collins approach to adopting technology  – “Pause — Think — Crawl — Walk — Run.” 


Here is my interpretation of each term:


Pause – Don’t get caught up in the initial wow factor of a new resource.


Think – How would this support current objectives and initiatives you are currently working on? 


Crawl – Have some teachers start to utilize the resource on a small scale and provide school-wide feedback to all staff. Also begin staff training on use of resource in the classroom. 


Walk – Get a whole department or cohort going with the resource and have them report out to the entire school community staff members on how the resource is impacting learning outcomes. Ramp up training. Ensure all staff have access to differentiated training.

Run – Continue to ensure that there are frequent opportunities for learners (all school community members) to provide feedback on best practices. These opportunities should extend to other school communities doing similar work.

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