Archive for the '1:1' Category

Why do we inhibit???

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

So, I was working on some stats stuff this afternoon/tonight, looking for some kind of decent conclusion to be made between a control campus w/out 1:1 laptops and one with 1:1 laptops (middle school). WHAT I was doing with these statistics didn’t strike me as much as HOW I was doing it.

(I’ll tell you up front that this is an opinion piece rather than a connected/hyperlinked piece…read at your own risk!)

I started my work with some data analysis software (SPSS, for all those stats fiends out there(ok, I lied, there will be some links!)) that I am just learning. My first resource came in the form of a phone call to the person that collected the data, Gerald Knezek at UNT. He had the same software on his computer and we walked through a number of different ways to analyze the different variables. It amazed me how quickly I was able to pick up the use of this software, even though neither of us could see the other’s screen! Language, in regards to software and technology, has leveled out to the point where we can do that.

Later that evening, I was meeting with a colleague to continue work on said project. As we were meeting in person (with 2 PPT screens open, 2 SPSS windows, Firefox with WHO knows HOW many tabs running and email up and going), I noticed my father was on Messenger. “What are you doing?,” I asked. “Grading Statistics papers,” he replied! Sweet…live help! (He teaches Stats, among other things at Sterling College in KS.)

So, while working live with my colleague (who had his own laptop going), I was messaging my father to get valuable information about how to run some new and very functional reports (thanks, Dad), working on my computer, pulling data off of the web, jumping back-and-forth between PPT and SPSS and even managed to message a friend to let him know what I was up to (who could’ve cared less that I was playing with statistics).

It struck me. THIS is how it’s being done now! THIS is what kids need to be doing in AND OUTSIDE of school in an effective 1:1 implementation. It seems so random and attention deficit, but yet it works so well!

Another great illustration of this came through the Mac interface this past weekend as we went to relax to some live music at Standard and Pours, a Dallas coffee shop/local music scene. We were listening to one of the openers and I noticed a college aged girl sitting in front of us working on her PowerBook. That wonderful Mac interface demonstrated this concept SO fluidly, it was almost poetic! (we’re a windows shop here in Irving.) She was dancing back and forth between writing a paper of some sort, researching online, talking to two friends, browsing personal interest web sites, playing a game (which would pop up when the other player, apparently located somewhere else in cyber land, would make a move) AND actively listening to the performer on stage! A keystroke would move her around between the different windows, and when selected, would zoom that window to a larger work size - you know how Mac windows zip around the screen playfully… Then her friend would IM her, and that window would zip into view. After a quick response, she would flow back over to her paper and write a half a sentence more! My thought was how I would just love to see the flow of that writing! I couldn’t believe that it would be connected or fluid at all. BUT I WAS DOING THE SAME THING EARLIER TONIGHT!

Now, you may be thinking: “Well, Jerram, just look at your spastic writing - you’ve been A.D.D.’ing whilst writing THIS piece (which I HAVE been, by the way).” So what’s the point??!!

The point is, we give kids laptops and spend SO much time blocking, inhibiting, impeding, limiting and preventing them from connecting, despite the FACT that they should be connecting, flowing, working without limits and relating to the world - their world.

Well, it was Miguel’s note:

Discussions among technology directors focus, not on the best ways to use such technologies, but how to best block access to those technologies.

that got me started on this whole thing. I didn’t think I would bring it to the fore tonight, but out it came…

Sometimes, when you see the ‘real’ world compared to the real education world, you just wanna ask ‘WHY?’.

Podcast: Professional Learning Communites (PLC) in a 1:1 environment

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Sebastian Bozas was not available yesterday, but I did get a hold of the ITS (Instructional Technology Specialist), Gina Fletcher. Gina has been an integral part of the PLC’s on campus and has some great thoughts. I really think that this kind of dialogue is an absolute must for making progress towards instructional change. Enough of me writing - take a listen…

Click the play button to begin:
Download gina_dialogue.mp3

The importance of dialogue and a reflective practice within teaching

Friday, January 27th, 2006

In our LoTI session this morning, Sebastian Bozas (Middle School Principal of a One-to-One laptop school) noted more than once that we are falling short if we do not provide opportunities for techers to dialogue in a meaningful way about the content of their instruction. We briefly discussed how LoTI can provide a framework for this dialogue, develop a common language (so we do not argue in place of dialoguing) and move toward a more reflective practice of teaching on campus.

Mr. Bozas has truly pushed for this environment at de Zavala Middle School by creating half day periods for his teams of teachers to reflect on what they are doing in their rooms. Interestingly enough, the technology (despite its invaluable place in his school) is not the primary focus - instruction is.

I’ll be interviewing Mr. Bozas next Tuesday about what he sees happening with one-to-one instruction as he has developed this practice with his teachers. Stay tuned for the first podcast…

We’re just searching for where the left lane ends…

LoTI

Friday, January 27th, 2006

We’re doing LoTI (Levels of Technology Implementation) Training. A large group of our ITS crew (Instructional Technology Specialists) are going through a LoTI trainer certification, mainly in an effort to broaden our knowledge systematically, as well as develop a common language as a professional learning community.So what is LoTI all about? Technology integration, right? Wrong. Sort of. We can NOT say that the technology is not important. It absolutley is - it is critical. Often times, however, we put too much focus on the technology itself. This is the key strength of the LoTI framework. It focuses on Bloom’s taxonomy, which directs us back to the value of the lesson and places the emphasis on content (and engagement, in my opinion). David Warlick says in a blog post entitled Contemporary Literacy: Who & When:

It’s confusing that this discussion usually happens among technology educators within the context of technology considerations, but the skills are about information.

While I am taking Warlick’s quote a little bit out of context (as his post focuses on new literacy skills), I fully believe that the concept is then same - we need to shift our dialogue to focus on the content, the engagment, the lessons and the informational skills.Now - let’s consider this in the context of a one-to-one laptop implementation, shall we? While Irving has made huge strides forward, the biggest change that we see happening is not in the students, but in teacher instruction. The shift from the ‘old’ way to the new is drastic, with some that catch on quickly and others that are still struggling with how to ‘use’ the laptops. I fully believe that if we promote more systematic dialogue that (and PLEASE, we MUST not forget the power of the technology) focuses on the content, instruction, engagement and literacy skills that need to be happening in our classrooms, we’ll see a more fluid shift in teaching practice. LoTI provides a framework that is right on target with this discussion. Moving on…

I love it when you see someone processing new content/information! We have a few administrators that are attending our LoTI session today, one of whom rephrased what he saw as the value in the LoTI framework. Moersch has developed a Palm based application that allows an administrator to do a quick walk-through with the ability to quantify (more or less) the LoTI level of any given lesson. While the focus of the application is for administrative purposes (walk-through evaluation), this particular principal noted that it would be twice as powerful for teachers to have the evaluation tool on their own so that they can do continuous self evaluation of their own lessons. Yes, yes, yes! This comment followed Chris’ statement that all of their research blatently shows that the building principal controls the LoTI level on campus. In other words, the Principal’s expectations for their teachers are what the campus will produce. This principal ‘got it’ and saw the value in integrating technology within the LoTI framework. Right on target, in my opinion.

THAT is heading towards where the left lane ends.

Links to check out:

LoTI Levels

Dr. Chris Moersch

David Warlick on LoTI (a little)

Podcast by Wesley Fryer w/ Dr. Chris Moersch

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Digital Literacy Bookmarks

One-to-One: Gotta keep trying…

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Miguel Guhlin writes:

Technology infusion taking place now–including one-to-one initiatives–are so much the “illusion of progress.” Instead, a more radical approach needs to be taken to curriculum. Once curriculum is reformed, then technology will fit. This is an approach that flows from a fundamental frustration with teaching and learning in education today. As such, it is doomed to fail because no one wants to change because someone else thinks they’re doing something wrong.

So, where do we begin? This entry is probably more of a ramble than a composed thought, but do we not need to begin somewhere? I am in full agreement with both Jamie McKenzie (FNO.org) in his article titled Inspired Writing and Inquiry, as well as with Miguel on the need for a dramatic changed in the process that entangles our education system. Yet I also believe that it is only through tried attempts, both good and bad, that we will ever come to realize our goal of reforming curriculum.

Some of my core beliefs: 1) we must change systematically; 2) systematic change in any organization takes time - probably at least 5 years of effort towards change before systematic results are achieved; 3) we must take steps towards change every day, one person at a time.

A goal of system wide, educational reform in a short period of time is unrealistic. But, that does not mean we stop trying. After practice, failed attempts, and glimpses of success, we will begin to convince. And when that happens, reform will begin.

I am, by no means, disagreeing or challenging. We must be radical, and we must not give up hope.

For me, that is where the left lane ends…