Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My response to what makes a 1:1 initiative successful-- request from eSchool News

In my opinion, a successful 1:1 initiative is evident in the byproducts- the student successes, the faculty stability, the community pride and interaction with its school. Perhaps a backwards way of thinking by some accounts, we believe a "bottom-up" approach is better than a "top-down." Put the technology in kids' hands as early as possible and let them drive the initiative forward. Students should be involved on planning committees, tech support teams, and any visioning or research teams. Publish student projects early on, bring in visitors to see the possibilities in action (rather than just talk about them), use students to share at community meetings, board meetings, in any way possible. Students will push and promote the laptop's application in their various courses much more effectively than an administrator forcing it upon an unwilling teacher. Very few teachers are not in it 'for the kids.' Keeping communication and community connections open is crucial. When the benefits beyond the school building are apparent, patrons realize they can support education and students realize it's not just about the grade at the end of the unit. Collecting data is important, but more important is collecting stories. Compile anecdotal evidence. Interview students. Publish projects that evolve out of the students' opportunity to have 21st century access 24/7... as opposed to purely test scores and teacher-driven assignments. This culture can cultivate in an initiative where the learning is the focus, rather than the instruction.

Katie Morrow
Technology Integration Specialist
O'Neill Public Schools
O'Neill, Nebraska

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