The Tipping Point -- to What?
By Bruce Dixon, President
Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation
I hope the New Year has started out well for you. It's certainly going to be a big year for 1-to-1. I have written previously of my view that there is now incredible momentum around the world towards 1-to-1 learning, and in the words of Malcolm Gladwell, it could be said we are indeed at the "tipping point", but tipping "to what" is the question that we must address.
For most, it is the reality that very soon, many children will have their own personal portable computer; and this in itself could be called extraordinary. But is it?
I lament our naivety around this. I'm saddened by our ability to say one thing and do another, for it seems as much as our political and educational leaders talk of the move to a revolutionary, or at least transformational, digital world of learning, the reality is quite the opposite. It seems as much as we have public acknowledgment of the need to invest in professional development to encourage teachers to adopt "bold" practice, the private reality is an insignificant investment in this support. And as much as we build excitement around transforming the learning experience for our young people, nothing or little changes.
Too often it comes back to being a simple case of technology distraction, rather than disruption!
So let's kick off '08 with a combined will to do something to change all that. Let's take this emerging era of "affordable computing", and start setting more ambitious goals for what might be possible. We talk about anytime, anywhere learning, but even at its simplest level, too many 1-to-1 schools are still trying to contain the learning inside their walls. We all know that we are still too often looking at subjects like math and even science through "pen and paper" eyes.
Well now the world of learning for our students can move beyond that. Students preferred learning medium is digital, and many more will have access in the very near future. No longer do we have to waste time drilling students on concepts that have no place in a digital classroom. We now have a very real opportunity to introduce some genuine rigor into those classes and focus their learning around the higher order tasks that 1-to-1 access makes possible. This doesn't sound too hard, right? Well to date and for many it has been. We as a global community must set ourselves as leaders to share our experience and expertise and look to guide other decisions too so that "beyond-technology" items will be seen as the priority. Then we might indeed "tip" towards a real transformation of learning for students which creates new and powerful opportunities for everyone!
All the best for 2008!
|AALF Leadership: Executive Director News and Thoughts|
|Changing the 1-to-1 Landscape
By Susan Einhorn, Executive Director
The recent appearance of a number of low-cost ultra-portable laptops has significantly changed the educational laptop landscape. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization promised to build a laptop that would sell for $100, and although it has yet to achieve its goal, it helped refocus the discussion and our expectations of what a fully-functioning laptop device for students is. Intel's Classmate PC (CMPC), another example of an ultra-portable, provides a Windows-based alternative. Each device has its benefits, its unique and, especially in the case of the OLPC's XO computer, innovative features, and a place in the range of options for schools (in spite of the recent much publicized spat between the two organizations).
The XO and CMPC aren't the only two choices - there are also the Asus Eee PC, the Nova5000, and several other new devices in the works. The former CTO of the OLPC organization, Mary Lou Jepsen, has even stated that she envisions $75 laptops by the end of 2008. Of course, laptops are only one part of the implementation package and long-range planning and funding must consider all the other components from professional development to software, servers and broadband connectivity. But, making affordable laptops widely available definitely changes the possibilities.
Have you had some experience with any of these low-cost ultra-portable laptops? Why not share these with the AALF community. Send a description of your experiences and your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning for the AALF Leadership Summits is underway and we will have some outstanding speakers leading enlightening, provocative conversations. Check below or on the AALF web site for more summit information. I'm also excited about the variety of impressive proposals we received for the summer Laptop Institute, to be held July 13 -15, 2008 at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, TN. The Laptop Institute program promises to cover a range of topics and provide information and discussion for schools ranging from those just initiating laptop programs to those who have had programs for a number of years.
I hope you'll have a chance to join us at at least one of these events!
Research to Action
|Together, What Have We Learned?
By Karen Ward, Manager of Consulting Services and Communications
Anytime Anytime Learning
It is not enough to do your best;
You must know what to do,
and THEN do your best
-W. Edwards Deming
This quote by W. Edwards Deming reminds us of the importance of knowing both the why and the how of 1-to-1 learning. Additionally, one of the aims of the Foundation is to share the world's best knowledge and understanding regarding the why and what of 1-to-1 learning environments. During the last quarter of 2007 this newsletter concentrated on doing just that - highlighting the most effective uses of personal computers in building powerful learning experiences. As this new year begins it is particularly appropriate that we stop and reflect on what we learned together over the last several years. I have chosen to do this by concentrating on several of the Foundation goals or aims, turning these goals into questions, and looking to our 2007 newsletters for answers to these questions. Below you will find three of these goals, each followed by quotes from 2006-2007 Newsletters as well links to entire articles. I think you will enjoy reading Foundation members collective learning, expertise, and wisdom.
Picture the happy, effective and contributing global citizens of tomorrow. Being lifelong learners and digitally fluent, they participate fully in every aspect of social and economic life. To make this picture a reality, today's students must learn differently. They must be granted an education that fosters their innate motivation to learn, that encourages academic rigor through relevant application, and that connects them with the world they will enter. This approach is often called 'anytime anywhere learning.' The Foundation achieves its aims by...
**Creating and sustaining a community interested in universal access to personal computers and associated technologies for learning.
In classrooms everywhere it is great teaching that provides the profound learning experience; such teaching and learning interactions can be significantly enhanced by incorporating today's omnipresent technology. Michael Valentine
For educators who contemplate the effectiveness of 1-to-1 deployments, allow me to quote a 14-year-old special needs student who had been using a laptop for over three years. When I asked him why he liked working with his laptop, he looked at me and said, "Well, mostly because my teachers mark me for how I think now and not how I write." Ran Canuel
The real stars and beneficiaries of anytime anywhere learning are the students who have embraced the opportunity to prepare themselves for adulthood, college, and the world of work. Joe Gotchy
**Promoting the effective use of personal computers and associated technologies in building powerful learning experiences.
Lausanne teachers have witnessed, and have affected, real change in the teaching and learning in their classrooms. In particular, meaningful learning in a 1-to-1 program has meant a shift in who guides the learning process, how information is acquired, how material is managed, how learning is shared, how learning is evidenced through student-created products, and how every learner's needs can be met in the classroom. Lorrie Jackson
One of the best results of this distribution of powerful resources and tools in the form of a laptop is that the "back end" process - the real thinking, analysis and problem-solving, can be gotten to faster. When there is more time in the classroom for thinking, more thinking can occur. When the process is not onerous but is instantaneous, and when powerful resources are available without traveling to use them, students are free to get to the real meat of thinking and learning. This is one of the best things laptops can do for every classroom. Pamela Livingston
**Educating and training teachers and school leaders regarding excellent use of technology in learning.
Just as Paulo Freire, and others, talked much about critical pedagogy, so we must be able to define this idea of 1-to-1 pedagogy in ways that make it easier for us to better communicate what we are striving to achieve in 1-to-1 classrooms. Bruce Dixon
"The laptop is a tool and the right balance needs to be struck between use and non-use. Leave students room to explore and integrate the laptop into their learning in their own way. Help them work for their knowledge and engage in learning." Jeannette Baker
All of us at the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation look forward to another year of working and learning together!
1-to-1 Leadership and Learning
AALF Regional Leadership Summits 2008
California, Alberta, Washington, Pennsylvania
Are you interested in learning more about how 1-to-1 laptop learning environments can facilitate student engagement and increase academic achievement in your school or district? Are you about to embark on a 1-to-1 computing program or are you currently leading a 1-to-1 program? If so, please consider our invitation to attend one of the AALF Regional Leadership Summits being held in the U.S. and Canada. These Summits are designed to provide educators in leadership positions with the knowledge and vision required to successfully plan for, implement and guide their schools and districts towards a successful anytime, anywhere learning environment. Attendees at each of these events will hear dedicated and experienced educators who have implemented 1-to-1 learning programs in their schools, districts, or areas. Focus areas include:
- Defining Vision: How superintendents provide 1-to-1 leadership at the district level.
- 1-to-1 Principals: How school leaders leadership provides sage guidance for success at this level.
- Classroom Teaching: Why 1-to-1 learning environments are so empowering for students and teachers.
- Critical Thinking in 1-to-1: Contemporary debates and practices that keep 1-to-1 learning in the mainstay of innovative eduction environments today.
- Questions and Answers: We are ready to discuss and answer your questions regarding the transformative and beneficial nature of putting a laptop in every student's hands as a learning tool.
The dates and locations for these one-day events include:
- March 4, 2008--Fresno, California
- April 22, 2008--Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- April 23, 2008--Seattle, Washington
- April 25, 2008--Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Online registration is now available for the March 4, 2008, Fresno Summit. To be notified as soon as registration opens for the other Summit dates, email email@example.com. Write Summit Registration in the subject line. You may also direct all questions to Susan Einhorn who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-753-1552.
|1-to-1 Global Storybook|
Powered Up to Learn -- Excerpts from the Journal of a Laptop Teacher
By Janice Gordon
Adapted from Transforming Learning, An Anthology of Miracles in Technology-Rich Classrooms
In am writing to you on my very first laptop. I can't believe that in just a few weeks my students will get a laptop of their very own at the age of 10! It is incredible.. You see, I teach 5th grade and this summer, the superintendent chose our school, Mott Hall,
to be the first public school in New York City to
ever have a class of students with laptops. My principal came to me and asked if I would like to lead the charge. My immediate response was, "Sure! This will be a wonderful challenge."
We had our parent meeting yesterday, and the response was enthusiastic. I had called a few parents beforehand to see how they would feel about implementing the program and one parent said, "You know how long I've been waiting for something exciting like this for my child?" Another said, "Look, if you think it will get him more motivated, I'll take two of them!" More good news - the parents have agreed to work together so that there will always be an adult to supervise a group of students on the trip to and from school. This makes me feel more at ease.
I am excited to realize that I am not going to be on my own. There is an air of excitement about this thing. This is going to be the start of something big. I think it will change education in a very dramatic way.
Yesterday was laptop roll out day, or dare I say 'Christmas come early.' I have never seen so many excited children and parents. They were given an orientation about the care and feeding of the laptop. Students were reminded to charge their laptops every night and that would now become part of their daily homework assignment.
I made up a laptop scavenger hunt so students would go home and familiarize themselves with the tool. Both parents and students had to sign off on the assignment to say they worked on it cooperatively. Can you imagine parents and students doing homework together. Everyone completed this assignment--another amazing thing! The first day went more smoothly than I had anticipated.
I have not written for a while. Things have been evolving so quickly. This program is being evaluated, and this has kept me busy.
Amazingly enough, none of the students have lost or dropped their machines but I think the most significant part of this experience has been its effect on the teaching and learning process.
I have learned new cooperative learning strategies like, "Ask three before me," or ask three students your laptop question before you ask the teacher (because the students will probably know the answer anyway!). Collaboration is going beyond my classroom now and I can't believe how frequently teachers are talking to one another, wanting to find out more about the program and preparing lessons to integrate the laptop as the program expands. What a difference this technology has made!
|Foundation Member Insight|
|Boys, ICT and Literacy
By David Nettelbeck
1-to-1 'Pioneer' Educator and Consultant, Melbourne, Australia
I am told that there is a Year 9 and 10 'boy problem' in schools all over the world. The problem can be expressed in a question: How do we engage boys in academic settings in a new way, not just at a crucial time in their educational development, but also at a time when most are passing through a difficult period of their adolescence? Additional related questions are, How do we support and require teachers to create powerful learning experiences for their students? Are students the only learners in a classroom? I believe the following experiences help us answer all of these questions
Research tells us that we need to structure boys' thinking and writing more than we do with girls; that we provide teaching materials with a strong appeal to their interests and preferences; that we value diversity of style and approach; that we commend succinctness as much as elaboration and logical thought as much as expressiveness; that we try to link oral work, reading and writing explicitly; that we give a wide choice as to the content of their writing and exploration with open-ended and multi-disciplinary learning tasks wherever possible; and that we recognize the online world as a natural part of their experience while we make use of it through purposeful tasks that engage real audiences. Research also tells us that 1-to-1 learning environments enable us to provide these types of learning experiences and environments for our students, both boys and girls.
Aware of these problems and looking for valid solutions, a group of teachers from three State secondary schools and two primary schools in a mid to lower socioeconomic area of Melbourne joined together in a consortium for a series of workshops to seek practical ways of exploring this issue. I was given the opportunity to work with one diverse group of teachers who chose to explore the ways ICT might be used to encourage and engage students, particularly boys.
We met for twelve hours over four sessions. We looked first at the theory of success factors in boys learning. Then pairs and groups and finally all twenty participants brainstormed ideas for the following term regarding possible units of work that would incorporate dynamic uses of laptops while also building on the theoretical framework that we had developed. In the final sessions, each teacher fleshed out their planned learning module, highlighted the ICT components to show how they might engage boys in particular, and finally wrote specific statements on how the module would be assessed and how the teacher would evaluate whether the learning goals had been achieved. These teachers then implemented their plans in their classes with their students.
The most valuable part of the final session, and perhaps of the whole exercise, was a 'show and tell' of the plans which led to some good constructive engagement and dialogue from 'critical friends'. It was real and a very valid example of educators learning from one another.
So what did the final modules look like?
One teacher planned to ask her class to complete research prior to the building of a solar car. This included searching the web sites of various electronics suppliers in the area, then setting up an Excel document so that various prices and types of equipment could be compared. Two other teachers planned a class newspaper with a limited time frame and specific tasks for editors, proof readers, designers, etc. and very specific tasks for reporters in sections such as pets, garden, sport, poems, jokes, crosswords, interviews etc. They planned to ensure that there were boys in each of those teams with each team responsible for its own design and lay-out.
One teacher planned a simple poetry unit where pairs of students selected a poem to read to the class. In this case, however, the reading of the poem was to be recorded on their laptops and accompanied by appropriate visual material.
Two mathematics teachers planned an online unit where students were asked to solve linear equations of increasing complexity. The work was to be self monitored and self assessed.
Two teachers of students in their final year at school and in a non-academic stream planned a unit on teenage mental health. They were to start by reading articles and gathering evidence from surveys, then formulating opinions and expressing them visually using an 'Excel' graph and an 'Inspiration' mind map. The goal of all this was to get students to think about and express their opinion without the pressure of speaking, something which is much more of a challenge in Australia than it would perhaps be in the U.S. Students would have visual confirmation of their opinions and a representation of the range of ideas. It was aimed to fulfill one of the State's essential learning goals: "Explore the relationship between texts, contexts, speakers and listeners in a range of situations. In their presentations students are to make effective use of the structures and features of spoken and written language to deal with complex subject matter in a range of situations."
Two other teachers planned a term long unit on human rights combining civics and literature study. The source material included the novel 'Night' by Elie Wiesel, a CD of stories and the film 'Hotel Rwanda'. They related this to the contemporary situation in Sudan, to the exploration of some history of the Holocaust and the 40th anniversary of the referendum in 1967 that gave citizenship rights to Australian aborigines. Apart from the usual classroom practices of reading and writing, students are required to work in groups to prepare a digital video presentation of one minute about their chosen human rights issue. They are also required to prepare a PowerPoint presentation as a basis for an oral presentation. A rubric was constructed and given to students and teachers taught the basics of digital presentations.
Not all these ideas worked well in practice but it was a 'toe in the water', an opportunity for teachers across faculties to listen to and learn from each other and to take small steps to change a culture of pedagogy. No doubt the girls benefited from these modules as much as the boys, but it was a deliberate attempt to engage boys in a new way.
One of Australia's leading educational thinkers once said, "When a teacher stops imagining how they might teach better, they are to all intents and purposes dead." I believe the students of a teacher who has stopped learning are drinking from a stagnant pond.
David Nettelbeck lives with his family in Victoria, Australia.
Conferences and Events
AALF 2008 Leadership Summits
AALF Leadership Summits are designed to equip educational leaders with the knowledge and vision needed to guide school or district programs towards a successful anytime anywhere learning environment. Join AALF and a distinguished array of educational leaders to learn about the components of visionary leadership in 1-to-1 learning. Summit dates and locations include:
- March 4, 2008; Fresno, California. Click here to register.
- April 22, 2008; Calgary, Alberta
- April 23, 2008; Seattle, Washington
- April 25, 2008; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Registration for the Calgary, Seattle, and Pittsburgh Leadership Summits will open soon. Visit the AALF website for additional Summit dates and registration information.
brochure and online registration is available.
The Laptop Institute
The Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation (AALF) and Lausanne Collegiate School (LCS) have joined forces to co-produce the 2008 Laptop Institute to be held at Lausanne Collegiate School. The Laptop Institute, the world's major educational conference devoted solely to K-12 laptop learning, will be held on July 13-15, 2008, at LCS in Memphis, Tennessee. The Laptop Institute is designed to be an international think tank for schools using or considering laptops or tablets as tools for learning. We encourage AALF members to consider both attending the institute as well as applying to be presenters or panel discussion leaders. Online information is now available at www.laptopinstitute.com.
Eastern Township School Board in Magog, Quebec, Canada is eager to share their 1-to-1 learning experiences, best practices, and learning curve at their Spring event titled, 1-to-1 Laptops: Why It Works. The event will be held on May 8-9, 2008. Interactive breakout sessions, school visitations, and a well-known keynote speaker are planned. A
Over the past 12 months AALF members would have attended collectively possibly hundreds of Conferences and events, and we'd like to know what you learnt! Too often we don't have a forum to share the wisdom and ideas that we hear either networking or from speakers at Conferences. So here's your chance! Set 20 minutes aside during or after your next conference, or one you have recently been to, and share your thoughts with us, so that thousands of your AALF colleagues in schools around the world can benefit from your experience.