Saturday, January 29, 2005


A Conceptual view of e-portfolios

I found this diagram of eportfolios and how they connect with school, home and work. I think it also illustrates how laptops will affect the whole curriculum and what and how we do here. Please comment.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Defining our task

I had understood that the task of this subcommittee was to write the "curriculum" piece of the St. Mary's Technology plan. I'm not sure we have a consensus of what that is or what we should be addressing. It seems like we have turned into a committee of "How do we prove to parents that we need one-to-one laptops?" What is our focus? If we are defining what the curriculum looks like with individual laptops, we should be thinking about collaborative, project based, active and interactive learning, etc. I don't think those are necessarily selling points to parents. Can we define our purpose first before we go further with this?

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Rockman Report

I am currently working with several schools looking at one-to-one computing. I am essentially facilitating their committees to help them determine the validity of their overall programs. Not knowing where you all are in your planning stage, I can only offer my advise. I am not reading in the entries within this blog a true consensus of vision for the overall program. Have you established your vision for the future of technology?

The following questions must be considered when drafting vision prior to taking any further steps. I hope these questions help you form your future decisions.

Technology Planning Vision Considerations:

What existing policies, procedures and/or statutes encourage or inhibit the adoption of technology?
How will the introduction of technology affect the way the school or district works?
How will the school or district adjust to make the best use of technology?
How can technology be used to improve all aspects of the schools or districts operation?
How will educators know if the plans objectives have been met?
How will decisions about purchases be made?
Will these decisions be part of a larger educational improvement plan in the district or school?

Curriculum and Assessment
What kinds of technological tools best complement the curriculum?
How can technology best be integrated into the curriculum and who can lead the development and implementation of this?
How will using technology change textbook adoption and content monitoring?
How will technology alter students assessment practices, the match between curriculum and state testing programs, and accountability policies related to testing and evaluations?
How can technology help students demonstrate what they have learned (e.g. electronic portfolios, video products, etc.)?

Community Involvement
How can teachers, parents, students and community members be involved in the development of school and district technology plans?
How can the technology be used after school and by community members in continuing education?
How can the community be involved in the introduction of technology in the school?
How can resources such as cable and telephone companies and community organizations be utilized?

Professional Development
Will teachers have adequate professional development and time to learn how to integrate new tools into their instructional practices?
Will teachers have access to enough ongoing technical support?
What is the most effective way to train teachers to use technology?
How will using technology change teacher training, mentoring, methodology and classroom administration and management?
How will teachers' needs be met?
Should evaluation and certification criteria for teachers be changed to support the use of technology?

How can existing funds be redirected to technology projects?
What new sources of funds are available?
Can costs for technology projects be included in other initiatives such as remodeling or increasing graduation requirements?
Will the community support a tax increase to infuse technology into the instructional program?
What funds are available from communities, the federal government and private sources to pay for educational technology?
How should funds be allocated for hardware and software purchases, telecommunications infrastructure development (capital and continuing costs), maintenance, upgrading and professional development?
How much will the change cost, and what will the results be?
Will the changes be worth the expense?
How long will the equipment purchased remain usable?
How will funding be distributed among schools?
Who can give you sound advice about technology purchases?

Technology Uses
How should education policymakers deal with the infrastructure challenge presented by technology?
What technical standards are necessary to allow communication between classrooms within a school, among schools within a district?
How can all students be provided access to technology?
What would it take to set up programs like those under way at some universities that allow students to borrow or rent computers for home use or pay for them over time?
How will the technology be used?
Will the uses be electronic mail, satellite-delivered instruction, access to electronic databases and libraries, multimedia software for instruction, ‘tool’ software such as spreadsheets and word processors, access to resources for students with disabilities, or administrative uses such as record keeping, publishing, and communicating with parents?

How can technology benefit all students?
How will student with disabilities benefit from the changes?
How can technology benefit gifted and talented students?
How can technology benefit students at risk of dropping out or who are not performing well?
Will there be a standard minimal technology base in all schools?
You may want to consider collaborating with your state’s vocational/rehabilitation agency or with outside nonprofit agencies, such as the Alliance for Technology Access, which operates a national network of technology and demonstration centers.
Your state education department also may be helpful.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Concrete Ideas:Electronic Portfolios

This is a repost of a comment that I posted.

Sandy, you are absolutely right. We need to get down to the concrete. Here is the first concrete benefit that I see.

Electronic Portfolios. One of the great benefits of a computer is its ability to remember everything. When every student has a laptop we can begin to create records of all of the work that they do here at St. Mary's. Every note they take, every homework they hand in, every test they take, every paper they write, every PowerPoint presentation they prepare, every email they exchange with a teacher, every instant message conversation that they have, every math problem that they work, every exam they are handed back, can be stored and accessed on the laptop for immediate access, anywhere, anytime. No more I can't find it; no more the dog ate it, no more divisions between classes and disciplines. The student's computer becomes an interdisciplinary storehouse of information for them to use and share.

At recommendation time, a student can present the teacher with a record of the work they did together in class. Guidance no longer will need to rely solely on grades to present a student's accomplishments. Each student will be able to put together, if that student chooses to, a picture of their best intellectual work while here at St. Mary's. They will not only have electronic records of their sports accomplishments (videos, DVDs) but also of their intellectual accomplishments. Students could present videos instead of essays to colleges they wish to attend. Electronic portfolios would set us apart.

Everyone having a laptop, 24/7 makes this possible. You can't do it with carts. You can't do it as well with carts, because the student isn’t working on a computer all the time with the cart paradigm.

Having all of your work and explorations available to you also opens the possibility of having the raw material necessary to write a significant senior thesis as a capstone to your STM experience. That would also set our students apart.

Imagine the storage capacity that we have to share with 600 laptops with 80G hard drives..... That is 48000 Gigs of community storage....and the processing power of all of those computers.......all joined in a single learning network here at STM.

That is the emerging business paradigm in the world. Laptops will give our students real time experience in that paradigm. That is why we need them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


The "Curriculum" Word

Debbie and I agreed that the term "curriculum" may be causing some confusion. If it causes confusion among committee members, it may also cause confusion among parents. Can we get a consensus on the meaning? For example, if we say "Laptops will enhance the curriculum for students", do we really mean "enrich course content"? Or do we mean "expand the kinds and types of courses available to students"? Are there places where 'course content' is more appropriate wording.
Laptops are not going to change the fundamentals of what is being taught; parents need to understand that. Curriculums are prescribed to some extent, aren't they? Therefore, in persuading the populace of the necessity of the the laptop environment, I think we should be careful in how the term is used. The less jargon, the better.
So, I am a parent (suppose): convince me to buy a laptop by telling me it will enhance my child's curriculum. Kind of falls flat, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


An Article to read

I placed an article on my STM website Norm's website that I think gives us a starting place for our argument. Marci Glasmer tells us that students must take charge of their own learning. Our job is to translate that statement into concrete plans and to show how laptops allow us to things in ways that we can't do them now.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Redefining delivery of the curriculum

In Norm's words, we are not redefining the curriculum but redefining how curriculum is delivered. We know that technology allows increased communication and collaboration. It potentially makes our research more effective. What are the shortcomings or hurdles we currently face in delivering our curriculum? How do improved communication, etc. overcome these limitations?


Vision for a tech based curriculum.

Suppose its 2008 and we have come to the end of the planning period we are describing in our tech plan update (2005-2008). What can we say looking back on our experiences? For example,
"Since the implementation of our technology-based, high-achievement curriculum, St. Mary's students are pursuing new topics of study that previously were unavailable to them. Standardized test scores are beginning to rise and enrollment is oversubscribed in all grades."

What are the five top goals we have as justification for becoming a laptop school? Examples might be "increase standardized test scores," "increase elective courses or advanced courses throught online study," "increase demand for enrollment at St. Mary's," "teach students using the same structure and tools used by top colleges and universities," "encourage self guided avenue of study to allow students to advance beyond standard course curriculum." What are other example goals that we can consider?

Why can't we acheive these same goals relying on laptop carts?


First Post

Ok folks we have had our first meeting. I was pleased with the way that settled in on what we were supposed to do. I apologize for the delay in getting the Blog started. The student survey in the high school is very tedious but we took them. Now we have to tabulate them.

Here are some conventions that we will use here.

a) Nothing is off the table. All ideas are welcome and encouraged.
b) Everyone here has good intentions. Please confine any discussion or disagreements to the issues. NO PERSONAL ATTACKS will be tolerated.
c)Please stay on topic as much as possible.
d)This blog is a group project and not available to the public!
e)Members are expected to contribute regularly and comment on other contributions.
f) Please let Norman know of anyone you would like to invite to the group so we can maintain a list of who is participation. Norman will make the invites. There is no limit.

That all said and done, lets get down to the task at hand. The group on the 5th seemed to agree that the task of this committee was to demonstrate that being a laptop school would give a significant advantage to St. Marys students relative to other schools in the area and the country, and improve the performance of our students within the existing curriculum of St. Marys. Our job was NOT to redefine curriculum but rather to redefine the delivery of that curriculum.

We also seemed to agree that we are really going to reinvent school and use our curriculum to foster independent learning with our students and faculty. We are going to have to demonstrate how we are going to turn our teachers into laptop teachers and our students into laptop learners. There are many ways to foster independent thinking and learning. Our task is to demonstrate that laptops improve them all, especially when every student has one.

We seemed to agree that as part of the plan we would outline how we intend to take the St. Marys curriculum online to provide more and different opportunities for our students and teachers to develop their lifelong learning and teaching skills.

We would like to produce a draft of this portion of the tech plan by Feb 15, 2005.

Now how do we go about doing this.........................

Feel Free to blog away.

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