Saturday, February 12, 2005


Oregon Episcopal School Laptop Program

This is the website for the school that I mentioned that is starting a one to one program with their seventh grade. They are having an introductory parent meeting on Wednesday night. Wish we could be a fly on the wall at their meeting! I understand they are not putting the cost burden on the parents, and that without a financial issue, their situation is different from ours. Still, they may present ideas that will help us.

I especially like these comments that they make:

"So, this program isn’t designed to “increase technology use” for the sake of using computers more often. We’re concentrating on the larger issues of a balanced approach to the benefits and drawbacks of the technology, starting with the issue of equity of access and opportunity at an age when students may benefit the most. "

"In the end, Middle School students may not use computers any more than they do now as a result of this program, but access will be more direct, consistent, and reliable. The curricular program of the Middle School will not be changed as a result of the laptops, but the quality and impact of students’ computer use can be substantially improved. "

The consistent access is becoming an issue for our middle school. I had 2 instances on Friday where teachers wanted to use laptops and none were available because they were booked by other teachers. As our use grows, we need to be able to provide that consistency for the students and teachers.
I’ve been reading articles and talking to people about where we should go with this task. Margaret has stressed that it is important that we present information that will help parents understand why we feel we need to go to a one to one program. Sandy has asked that we describe a “high achievement curriculum.” I think we all agree that technology is a tool that will not change what we teach, but the way we teach it. To try to address both of the above purposes, I would like to suggest that we look at identifying the way teachers teach and how students learn. Perhaps we can demonstrate to parents how the technology fits into those categories.

From research I’ve done, I have come up with a list of “curricular goals.” Could we elaborate on these with the idea of explaining to parents how and why technology can be used to further their children’s education? Could we meet and brainstorm examples of how technology could address each of these? This could then be used as a framework for the curriculum piece of the tech plan.

How Teachers Teach

Promote active learning
Promote multidisciplinary learning
Promote interactive instruction
Provide performance based assessments
Address needs of different learning styles
Complement curriculum objectives with use of electronic communication
Reinforce curricular goals interactively and in real time
(I think this one especially supports one to one laptops)
Teacher becomes a facilitator

How Students Learn

Employ higher level thinking skills
Employ problem solving skills
Are active learners
Learning is collaborative
Learning is multidisciplinary
Learning is project based
Learn by different learning styles
Are self directed learners
Multimedia learning environment addresses how 21st century learners learn


There is a substantial body of research of what happens to in one to one classrooms in the anytime anywhere learning mode. I was a taken aback a bit by the notion that there is no research supporting the idea that learning improves in the connected classroom with one to one computing so I went out looking. There is a wonderful article of the latest findings of what happens in a connected classroom by Anne Davis, "Finding Proof of Learning in a One-To-One Classroom". A wonderful summary of its conclusions can be found at The Online Journal-Research in Action. The beauty of the summary is that is not only provides Davies' research finding but also provides additional research projects that support the idea. I have ordered a full copy of the report in hard copy. I believe that the outcomes on the left side of the summary can form the basis of our tech plan on curriculum and where we intend to take learning at St. Mary’s. I will try to put together a working document for us to dig into by the 15th as planned based on these ideas. Once we settle on these we can start to rough in a training scheme to accomplish that goal.

I agree with Brandon Hogan's idea of increasing the number of contributors to the working committee and suggest that I invite at least the department chairs from both schools to join the Blog and help us to create this document. Bubble up from the bottom!

Friday, February 11, 2005


Community Input

I’d like to build upon Debbie’s questions about defining our goals. I’m not so much concerned about what our specific goals are, but how and who helps create them. The committee seems to be isolated from many of the other parts of the St. Mary’s community. There seems to be very little direct input from both the faculty and administration in the elementary and high school. As a result we may find ourselves setting goals or implementing ideas which will not be well received or even rejected absolutely. I feel that we should have a better representation from both the faculty and administration at meetings. I’m not sure if this means inviting more people, changing the meeting time or just pressing existing members to attend more frequently, but we do need their input if the plan is to succeed. I know Norm is focused on bottom-up change but I think that in order to implement our plan there will have to be pressure--in many areas--coming from the top-down.

The Text book question

Every year our students spend between three and four hundred dollars on text books in the high school. In this age of information these text books become dated almost as soon as they are published and we are locked into their errors for as long as we continue to use them. The large investment that we make in them causes us to use them for several years. The presence of textbooks also creates the idea that there is fixed body of knowledge that exists outside of the students that we just pour into them. With laptops in each student's possession the question of text books becomes very real. In a laptop school we will begin to move away from textbooks in hard copy. Every bit of information that is now contained in any text book that we use is available on the Internet. It is up to our students and teachers to find that material and begin to develop web sites that serve as depositories of the information that our curriculum uses. We need to map our curriculum and then using that map gather the data that we need to support our education. I am not talking about putting text books on line but abandoning the idea of text books per se. We will become a curriculum of questions that our faculty poses to our students and then we find answers together to. In a constructivist vein we become constructors of our own knowledge. Just a thought! What do you think?

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