Road Map

Ten Themes for Successful One-to-One Implementation

These are discussion points we are using to organize our planning.  Thanks to Digital Wish's School Modernization Initiative for providing the concept and model for these themes.

    Leaders need to have a clear vision of what a transformed one-to-one school looks like.  Talking to teachers who have been practicing it for several years is a good way to build vision.  Seeing other programs, reading research, and talking to other principals who have led successful programs are other ways to help with this.  Other than the vision, most of the leadership skills are already part of every administrator’s toolkit.

    Investment is a long-term process.  This includes budgeting for regular funds that we can count on; we need to continue to address this with the board, and use the program assessment (see below) to show value to the community.  

Professional Development
    This is the most critical component for successful one-to-one implementation … continuous, embedded, with times for focused learning, team-based learning, and with practical results so teachers have real products they can start implementing with their students (not discovery-based learning).  There are practical models and examples (e.g., Puentedura’s SAMR model, Transformation and Technology Scenarios) that can help teachers see where they are and give them ideas about which paths to follow.

This is also going to be the greatest challenge.  In addition to thinking about the one-to-one possibilities, the teachers will be working on teaming, thinking about interdisciplinary programming, personalized learning plans, etc., and we should consider their capacity to make all of these transformations simultaneously.  

The impact of the one-to-one program will be under a microscope, as it is the most visible component to the parents, board, and community, and since it is easy to quantify the costs.  As a result, I would recommend we start some professional development with the 9th grade teams as soon as we can.  Our tech integration specialists have been teaching a laptop class to teachers which focuses on integrating into the curriculum, and several BHS teachers have been participants.  See the example linked to this site.

Support (most often cited concern by teachers)
    Reliability is a key component here -- things need to work, and if they don’t, we need a backup tool for the teachers and students to use so there is not down time.

One model we have been discussing is a tiered support model.  Tier one (first level) could be done by setting up a student-run center; we have talked about a class of 16 students per semester for this; they could staff the center, 2 students per block, with teacher support and mentoring support from one of my technicians.  We also need qualified and tech certified personnel to do support and repair for tier two (including warranty repairs, etc.), but having the tier one support model will keep our overall tech support costs manageable.  

An additional consideration is providing just-in-time support at every classroom level, for things like demonstrations, connecting to wireless, hooking up projection, basic software troubleshooting, so the teachers do not have to be experts in all of these things.  Most students are quite capable at these tasks, and some schools have done this using a cadre of students (tech-savvy kids, google ninjas, etc.).  In most of the one-to-one environments, kids are very good at helping each other, and this is less of a concern as we move from teacher-centric activity to student-centric activity.

Connectivity and Access (second most often cited concern by teachers)
    Must be highly reliable (99.9% up time);
    Must be available in all areas;
    Should not be confused with filtering (we can work on that).
    Plans are in motion to replace/upgrade all wireless and improve switching that supports it, as well as increasing the overall bandwidth to account for the addition of over 2000 student devices over four years (if MS program goes in addition to HS).  We have researched and tested the wireless components, and I have an rfp to acquire the necessary hardware for BHS.  I have talked to the Property Services Director about getting the wiring done, and he said he will be able to have someone start as soon as we give him a map showing the locations (mid-January is our target date).  The purchase of the hardware will occur after July 1, to take advantage of a possible e-rate discount, and it can easily be installed and ready to go by the time teachers get back in August.

    Most people spend too much time worrying about this to the detriment of other themes.  The usual discussion includes Mac v. PC, tablet v. laptop, netbook v. notebook.  I have heard it said that the technology is changing so rapidly that we should not do anything because we don’t know what will be available next year.  
    However, the key element starts with the teachers in the program --
    • what will teachers be comfortable with -- if they don’t use it, it won’t be integrated
    • what software or web 2.0 tools will they need to best fit with their plans -- the hardware will need to support it
    • what is the pedagogy underlying successful implementation and what hardware is necessary to support it (see curriculum below)   

    If you don’t start with the teachers, it won’t really matter what the hardware is.  Research is littered with examples of one-to-one implementations where the classroom model is substitution (SAMR Model), and learning gains are meager or non-existent.
    Also, the hardware we use in year one does not have to be the hardware we use for years two, three, or four.  Although we may have a vision of something that would be really transformative, we don’t have to start there if it means adding so much new learning to the teacher that they cannot successfully accomplish it.

Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment
    Successful programs start with the curriculum the teachers already know, and hopefully use augmentation or modification (SAMR model) to integrate the technology.  There are some other considerations:
    What types of instruction are more successful in a student-centered learning environment?

How do you organize the classroom to create situations which give the greatest learning advantage to all students?

How do you use communication tools to provide continuous assessment to students as they are working?

    Also, how do you generate assessment of the program:  how are students, parents, and teachers feeling about the success of the one-to-one, and how do you use that information to make small corrections throughout the year?  How do you use program assessment to inform the public?

    ⅚ of the community do not have students in our schools, but we are asking them to support this.  This is a continuing challenge, as there are many examples like the NYTimes article where the results are mixed.  However, it is important for the economic development of Burlington, as Governor Shumlin noted in some recent speeches, to have a work force who can fill the 21st Century jobs that are available from local companies such as   

Policy and Board
    This refers to legal, policy, procedures, and school rules.  Board is included as they will ultimately weigh in on questions if they rise to the policy level, and they hear concerns from parents and community if they don’t have a policy.  Many questions came up in the fall from South Burlington as they implemented their program.  Most of these have been addressed in varying ways by other districts in the state, and I provided an overview to Policy and Advocacy about the major themes, which included social media, collaborative work, web 2.0 and cloud tools, and parent responsibility.  
    One of the themes is management of the devices, which could range from highly controlled (Burlington MA) to wide open (Milton).  This would include things like device tracking, software management, antivirus, web access, etc.  My team is starting to investigate some different options, including changes to network operating system (Novell to Active Directory) that would give us more flexibility, and we will have information on these and costs by the spring.

We should talk about what procedures and rules are possible, and consider some parent meetings to hear their concerns as we embark on this process.  (See next item)

    Engagement of parents is the last key item I have.  Based on what other districts have done, we may be asking them to take responsibility of the use of the device when it is off campus, to provide a fee for insurance or pay a deductible for damage, and to learn about digital citizenship, cyberbullying, or other school rules (e.g., Cybertraps for the Young).  We will ask them to sign off before students can take the device off school grounds, so we will want to be sure they have a significant opportunity to ask questions and understand all of the options as we plan for the first roll-out.  A comment I heard at EMS was that although the parents were asked to participate before the first year, it wasn’t followed up in subsequent years, so we should think about how to continuously keep them as part of the process.