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Volume 5, Issue 3
January 2009
In This Issue
President's Message
AALF Leadership: Executive Director
1-to-1 Leadership and Learning
1-to-1 Leadership and Learning: Part ll
1-to-1 Learning and Teaching
Share Your Expertise
1-to-1 Learning and Teaching: Part ll
AALF Coaching and Consulting
Coaches' Corner
AALF Worldwide Networking
Conferences and Events
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!

Dear Colleague,

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the January edition of the AALF newsletter. This month's issue is focused on International Stories. AALF President, Bruce Dixon, compares Old Practice to Open Practice; Susan Einhorn, Executive Director of AALF, shares her thoughts on global awareness; and, Karen Ward, Manager of Coaching/Consulting Services, addresses how international student collaboration can be a powerful learning tool. We also have articles by leaders in 1-to-1 education from around the world: Ron Canuel discusses the Eastern Townships School Board's exciting partnership with Uruguay; Shirley Siri shares the objectives of Plan Ceibal in Uruguay; Rozanne Donald discusses the rollout of St. Cuthbert's College's Notebook program in New Zealand and the biggest challenges they faced; and Jeff Whipple shares how Nashwaaksis Middle School in New Brunswick, Canada has involved its students in participating in the design of curriculum.

We've introduced a new newsletter format. You'll find a summary of each article in the newsletter, but it can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link at the end of the article. You now also have the ability to comment or add your stories to each of these articles. In order to post a comment you must be a member of AALF. Membership is free and provides access to information, research and resources on 1-to-1 learning. We would love to hear from you!

President's Message
What if the best practice you see isn't?

By Bruce Dixon, President
Dixon I had an experience recently that I do not think was uncommon. I attended a national conference at which several teachers were running classes displaying what was ostensibly "best practice"..but it wasn't. Now I know that some now use the term Next Practice, but can I say in either case the problem is the same--its Old Practice, and dare I say it, in too many cases, Bad Practice.
I always remember a similar occasion in the '90's, being taken proudly by two different Principals, in two different prominent schools, to their science classrooms to be shown a example of "best practice" in a 1-to-1 classroom in which the students were using a Paint program to draw a tripod sitting over a Bunsen burner. Like I said, just bad practice.
And yet no-one can be critical of the teachers in either of the above cases; they were simply teaching in the best way they knew how--and there lies the problem, and the solution. In this often discussed world of Open systems, Open content and the like, I look to the concept of Open Practice as an answer. If we reflect back for a moment on my last comment: "teaching in the best way they knew how". Here are classic examples of the challenge our profession must urgently face up to if we are to re-imagine what appropriate teaching practice looks like in a 21st Century classroom.  
If we continue to permit teachers to be seen as the "lonely artisans", as my good friend Chris Gerry refers to them, then such artisans will never see the craft as it is performed by others; many of whom may well serve as examples of "better" practice. This sometimes described de-privatization of teaching, or Open Practice, underpins what is possibly the single most significant reform we can offer policy makers and educational leaders seeking to bring about a revitalization of the classroom experience for young people in the future. Open Practice however must bring with it much more than that which created the woes of the '70's; bigger classrooms, more noise and students bewildered by old practice in new surrounds.
The new view of Open Practice must be built around professional learning communities that are diverse and many; that allow teachers to observe, reflect and most importantly learn from each other, as a life-long career behavior, rather than the current college-based notion of when learning takes place. It must be built on professional trust and respect, rather than skepticism and doubt, and with it a notion of accountability that far exceeds any external high-stakes test. And above all it will reflect a new professionalism for teachers, who will see ongoing and continuous improvement in not only what they teach, but how they teach, and with what mediums they use to develop truly authentic, relevant learning opportunities appropriate for 21st learners.



Click here to post your comments or opinions.

AALF Leadership:  Executive Director News and Thoughts
Global Awareness

By Susan Einhorn, Executive Director


Happy New Year!

At a conference I attended several years ago, the late great author, human rights activist, and philosopher Susan Sontag suggested that one way for us to better understand the rest of the world is to read novels written by authors from countries other than our own. To hear their stories, viewed through the lens of a culture and society different from our own, helps us learn more about both their culture and ourselves.

This issue is dedicated to stories from various schools around the world. By sharing these stories, we hope to show how similar many of the issues and challenges we face are.  Although many of these challenges may be similar, the fact that each country looks at the world from a distinctive perspective means that similar problems may be viewed very differently, and solutions may be found in places we didn't think to look. By spending some time in another educator's "shoes", it may help us not only find new solutions to our challenges but it also gives us a new view of ourselves. Global awareness, one of those 21st century skills we encourage our students to develop, is a way of thinking we should all be adopting to inform our own learning and thinking whether we're seeking solutions for issues in politics, economics, or education.

A+ gradeWhat can "global awareness" mean at the learner's level and what role can technology play? I'll give you one personal example. My 13-year old daughter has been selected to participate in an exchange program with a school in rural France. In typical exchange format, first the girls from France will come and spend some time in Montreal, then my daughter and a few of her classmates will move to a small farming village in the French countryside. Since learning that they would participate in this exchange, the girls have been learning about each other - through Facebook. And what have they learned? First of all, the French used in Quebec and the French used in France are very different. The challenge of reading the chat "slang" of another language (after all, LOL is English) has evoked discussions about both language and phonetics. The girls have created and shared videos, learning about each other's everyday lives and making plans for their visits. They've been able to make these connections before they even boarded a plane. As well, the girls are planning to keep blogs about their trip preparations and visits, so they can continue to share with their classmates during the trip. But, although the school is supporting this trip, all this sharing has been initiated by the students after school, at home. Did I tell you that the school doesn't allow the use of Facebook on school property?

We know that networking, sharing ideas, issues, and work or life experiences, with a wider group of people than we may usually encounter, enriches the educational experience for both students and their teachers. We need to judge each opportunity as it comes along and not be afraid to take some bold steps.

On another note, we are very pleased to announce that AALF is partnering with the Maine International Center for Digital Literacy (MICDL) and IdeasLab of Australia to launch a new event - the Big Ideas Global Summit @ the Summit to be held October 11-14, 2009, at Point Lookout, Maine. To find out more about this event, check Upcoming Events below.

Please share your stories about some of the challenges you faced or are facing and some of the successes you've had so that others may learn from your experiences. By building a collection of stories, we create a record and a resource for the whole community.

Until next month,


Send your comments to seinhorn@aalf.org
1-to-1 Leadership and Learning

Designing the Future of Children Around the World  

Canada flagBy Ron Canuel, Director General
Eastern Townships School Board, Quebec, Canada

In early November 2008, the Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB), Canada, signed a partnership agreement with the South American country of Uruguay.  Just what is so significant about this agreement?

Well, the ETSB remains one of the few public school boards in North America where a laptop deployment has been happening since 2003.  Over the course of the past five years, there have been important advancements in the quality and integration of technology into the classrooms.  However, in all the past and on-going challenges that laptop deployments present to educators, the "Human Factor" remains one of the major considerations for a successful deployment.etsb kidslaptop

In our lengthy conversations with the educators from Uruguay, it was clear that the OLPC deployment represented a major social, educational and cultural shift, in effect, bringing the 21st century directly into communities and families.  To do so effectively, requires significant planning and insights into the "Human Factor" so that technology does not displace the essential role of the educators. Too often critics of laptop technology deployments cite the very old concern that a machine should never replace a teacher.  And they are correct in this affirmation, however they are incorrect in insinuating that technology has no place in the classroom.

Our lengthy experience with the integration of laptops into our classrooms has clearly demonstrated that the "Human Factor" prevails and predominates any issue or question on how to best integrate technology into teaching and learning practices.  This understanding of the dynamics of the individual in the classroom permitted our colleagues from Uruguay to further appreciate the complexity of a successful deployment.
 In their extended visit to our School Board, the Uruguayan educators were intrigued by the multiple usages of a laptop, but also equally pleased to see the impact on families and communities.  In one visit to an isolated community, the delegates witnessed a classroom interaction between students and biologists from the world famous San Diego Zoo.  The interactions were dynamic and engaging to the students.  To add to this context, the school also has developed itself into a Community Learning Centre, bringing in the citizens of the village, at all times of the day and evening.  Senior citizens are taking computer courses, using the Internet for the first time, setting up email accounts, etc.  In effect, it was a clear demonstrable outcome of the laptop deployment. 

The partnership signed between our School Board and Uruguay is also a reciprocal agreement, in that educator and student exchanges are also planned.  Acquiring the rich experiences of the first, real OLPC laptop deployment, on a country-wide basis, is an essential component of our own laptop experience.  Having a better appreciation of the strengths of technology deployments in other parts of the world will only add to the overall experience of ensuring that children, regardless of where they live, can truly be successful and active global citizens.

Ron Canuel has been in the position of Director General of the Eastern Townships School Board since November 1999. In his role as administrator, he developed alternative non-traditional strategies to addressing the serious issues that students, staff and communities regularly face.

The Eastern Townships School Board, located in southeastern Quebec, is responsible for the first board-wide laptop initiative in Canada. The ETSB began phasing in laptops in 2003. To date, approximately 5,600 laptops have been distributed to its students and teachers.The Eastern Townships School Board, located in southeastern Quebec, is responsible for the first board-wide laptop initiative in Canada. The ETSB began phasing in laptops in 2003. To date, approximately 5,600 laptops have been distributed to its students and teachers.tor General of the Eastern Townships School Board since November 1999. The Eastern Townships School Board, located in southeastern Quebec, is responsible for the first board-wide laptop initiative in Canada. The ETSB began phasing in laptops in 2003.

1-to-1 Leadership and Learning: Part ll
Plan Ceibal: Conectividad Educativa de Informática Básica para el Aprendizaje en LíneaUruguay flag

By Shirley Siri, Coordinadora pedagogica
Plan Ceibal, Montevideo, Uruguay

Plan Ceibal es un proyecto Interinstitucional de Presidencia de la República enmarcado dentro de un plan nacional de equidad.

Desde lo ceibal logopedagógico está regido por los siguientes principios
  • Derecho a la educación (Declaración de los Derechos del Niño de Ginebra) que establece la igualdad de oportunidades como forma de dar garantías a este derecho, así también el la Constitución de la República Oriental del Uruguay se establece la Educación como una obligación de los padres hacia los hijos. Este derecho también garantiza la democratización del conocimiento.
  • El otro principio es unnuevo concepto de alfabetización, se hace imprescindible la alfabetización digital para hacer ejecutable el proyecto.
Comienza en el año 2007 en cardal, ciudad del Departamento de Florida, con 200 máquinas donadas por OLPC, inmediatamente se produjo un gran impacto social lo que junto a las primeras observaciones de los impactos pedagógicos provoca la expansión inmediata del proyecto el que rápidamente se transforma en Plan.

El objetivo, desde lo pedagógico es la potenciación de los aprendizajes mediante la reducción de la brecha social a través del acceso amplio a la tecnología. Este objetivo se complementa con la entrega al 2009 computadoras portátiles
A cada niño de escuela (6 a 12 años, 340.000 aprox.)
A cada maestro

Las expectativas del Plan fueron las siguientes:

Desde lo Social
Involucramiento del núcleo familiar en la labor de la escuela.
Promoción de aprendizajes intergeneracionales.
Fomento de la acción socializadora de la familia.
Responsabilidades compartidas: cuidado de la máquina, tiempo con la computadora, navegación y chat

Desde lo Pedagógico
Permite interactuar  activamente en la construcción del conocimiento.
Satisface áreas de interés personal.
La clase no está limitada a un formato prefabricado.
El alumno aprende haciendo sin limitaciones de tiempo ni espacio.
El alumnos puede enseñar mientras el maestro focaliza su experiencia donde es más necesaria.
Permite el estudio de temas globales usando el contexto local para entender.
Permite la producción de conocimiento y no solo el consumo de información.
e la inclusión entre alumnos.

Las apreciaciones después de un año de expansión son las siguientes:
A nivel alumnos.
Disminución de la competitividad entre alumnos y fortalecimiento de la solidaridad.
Desarrollo de la capacidad creadora mediante el aprendizaje por descubrimiento.
Promoción de la lectura y la escritura.
Fomento del trabajo colaborativo.
Canalización de problemas de conducta.
Aumento de la autoestima.
Mayor disposición para el aprendizaje
Disminución del ausentismo.

A nivel Docente
Alfabetización digital, uso de correo electrónico y chat.
Tratamiento de las disciplinas mediante propuestas innovadoras.
Atención a las distintas capacidades de los alumnos.
Intercambio entre docentes y producción de contenidos educativos

A nivel comunidad
Participación de las familias en las actividades escolares de sus hijos.
Alfabetización digital.
Documentación infantil, en el país existen muchos niños no solo sin documento de identidad sino también no registrados en Registros Civiles por lo que no figuran como nacidos, no existen. Se hace mucho hincapié en el derecho ala identidad, razón por lo cual se exige documentación del niño para acceder a la máquina. En este momento hay un equipo de funcionarios de la Dirección Nacional de Identificación Civil que recorre las distintas zonas del país en un bus para documentar niños indocumentados. Los casos de niños no registrados se trabajan con el Ministerio de Desarrollo Social, Maestros Comunitarios y Estudiantes Universitarios del proyecto Flor de Ceibo.
Convenio con la Universidad de la República (Proyecto Flor de Ceibo) junto con el Programa de maestros. Comunitarios del Consejo de Educación Primaria para apoyar a las familias, en los hogares.

Shirley Siri is the Pedagogical Coordinator for the Ceibal project, who specializes in distance education, educational technology, and professional development.

The Ceibal Project, locally known as "Plan Ceibal", is the implementation in Uruguay of the One Laptop per Child project (OLPC), created by Nicholas Negroponte in the Media Lab of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Its main goal is to create educational opportunities for all the children by providing them with a rugged, low-cost, lo-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. Uruguay is the first country in the world to adopt the OLPC project as a national policy. According to plans, in 2009 the Ceibal Project will have provided a laptop computer to every child from public schools in the country, as well as all public school teachers.

(English translation)

Basic Informatics Education for Online Learning

By Shirley Siri, Pedagogical Coordinator for the
Plan Ceibal, Montevideo, Uruguay.

PLAN CIEBAL is an inter-institutional Project of the President of the Republic framed inside a national plan for equity. The participating institutions are:

LATU: Technological Laboratory of Uruguay
MEC: Minister of Education and Culture
CODICEN: Central Council of Public Education
CEP: Department of Primary Education
ANTEL: National Administration of Telecommuniations
AGESIC: Agency for the Information  and Knowledge Society
ANII: National Agency for Investiation and Innovation

The pedogogical approach of the the Project is guided by the following principles:
The right to an education (the Genevea Declaration of the Rights of the Child ) that establishes equal opportunity in the form of guarantes of these rights, as well as the Constitution of the Republic of Uruguay that establishes that parents have an obligation to provide an education for their children. This right ensures the democratization of knowledge.
The other principle is that of literacy and a new essential literacy -  the digital literacy that makes this project feasible.

It began in 2007, in the city of the Departamento de Florida, when 200 laptops were donated by OLPC. It was immediately evident that they had a major social impact . This, along with observations of the pedagogical impact, triggered the  rapid expansion of the Project, transforming it into what is now the CIEBAL Plan.

The main objective, derived from the pedagogical approach and this learning medium, is to reduce the digital divide by providing ample access to technology. This objective is complemented by the delivery in 2009 of laptops to:
Every child in school (6 - 12 years old, approximately 340,000)
Every teacher

The goals of the Plan are the following:

In terms of the Community:
Involvement of the nuclear family in the workings of the school
Promotion of intergenerational learning
Promotion of family socialization
Shared responsibilities: taking care of the comoputer, time with the computer, navigation and chat
In terms of Pedagogy:
Permitting active interaction in the construction of knowledge
Help students explore personal areas of interest
The class isn't limited by a pre-set form.
The students learn by doing and the learning is not limited in time or place
The students can learn independently while the teacher focuses his or her guidance where it is most needed
It permits the study of global themes using a local context to enable understanding
It permits the production of knowledge and not just consumption of information
Makes school more inclusive for all students

After one year, the expanded project has achieved the following:

At the student level:
Decrease in competitiveness between students and a strengthening of cooperation and a sense of solidarity
Development of their creative capacity through discovery learning
Promotion of reading and writing
Encouragement of collaborative work
Redirection for those with behavior problems
Improved self-esteem
Better attitude towards learning
Reduction in absenteeism

At the Teacher Level
Digital literacy, use of email and chat
More innovative approaches to the various disciplines
Attention to each student's individual capabilities
Exchanges between teachers in the development of educational content

At the Community Level
Family participation in their children's school activities
Digital literacy
Documenting of children. In the country, there are many children who not only have no identification documents but they have also never registered with the Civil Registrar so they appear to not exist. There is a big emphasis on the right to have identity documents because without them a child cannot get a laptop. At this time, there is a group at the office of the National Director of Civil Identification that is going across each region of the country in a bus to document undocumented children. The cases involving unregistered students are being handled by the Ministry of Social Development, Community Teachers and University Students in the Flor de Ceibo Project.
An agreement with the University of the Republic (Project Flor de Ceibo) along with the Communities Program of the Council of Primary Education to support familias in their homes.
Shirley Siri is the Pedagogical Coordinator for the Ceibal project, who specializes in distance education, educational technology, and professional development.

The Ceibal Project, locally known as "Plan Ceibal", is the implementation in Uruguay of the One Laptop per Child project (OLPC), created by Nicholas Negroponte in the Media Lab of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Its main goal is to create educational opportunities for all the children by providing them with a rugged, low-cost, lo-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. Uruguay is the first country in the world to adopt the OLPC project as a national policy. According to plans, in 2009 the Ceibal Project will have provided a laptop computer to every child from public schools in the country, as well as all public school teachers.

What's on book stackYour Nightstand?

AALF asked Gary Stager, Executive Director of the Constructivist Consortium, to list the top ten books he'd recommend that every 1-to-1 educator read. In no particular order, here's what he said:

Never Mind the Laptops: Kids, Computers, and the Transformation of Learning
by Bob Johnstone.

The Children's Machine: Rethinking School In The Age Of The Computer
by Seymour Papert.

The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap
by Seymour Papert.

The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within, Second Edition
by Edward R. Tufte

The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, Twentieth Anniversary Edition
By Sherry Turkle

Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop- from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication
By Neil Gershenfeld

Radio: An Illustrated Guide
By Jessica Abel, Ira Glass

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms
By Will Richardson

Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition
By Guy Kawasaki

How to Photograph Your Life: Capturing Everyday Moments with Your Camera and Your Heart
By Nick Kelsh

You can find this list, along with many others, at the Online Bookstore of the Constructivist Consortium website. We will be including book lists from other educators in upcoming issues, so stay tuned!

1-to-1 Learning and Teaching
Pedagogical Change for Positive Outcome: Notebook Program at St. Cuthbert's College
NZ flag
By Rozanne Donald, Director of ICT
St. Cuthbert's College, Auckland, New Zealand

2008 has been a milestone year for St Cuthbert's College, having completed an incremental rollout of a notebook programme over the last nine years. All teaching staff and students, from years 5 through to 13, are now equipped with notebook computers. As the programme has evolved the strategy has been to amplify the positive aspects and carefully examine the reasons for negative reactions. During the last nine years we have experienced a variety of reactions from stakeholders ranging from enthusiastic innovation and energetic zeal through to resistance and indifference. While nobody here believes you can please all of the people all of the time, we have found that addressing and responding to concerns quickly, even if that means making changes you didn't anticipate, greatly reduces the angst that arises during periods of change.
cuthbert's collegeThe greatest single challenge to making the programme work has been matching the student and staff expectations of what a 1-to-1 program should be. Early on staff were valiantly trying to learn software skills to deliver ICT rich lessons and students were unimpressed by what they saw as the same thing - but without a paper copy. We always knew pedagogical change had to occur but it was then that we realised how fundamental it is to the successful uptake of the programme by both students and staff.

The social aspects of networked communication, particularly the developments afforded by learning management systems with features like forums and wikis, have made an enormous difference to the overall uptake and positivity surrounding the notebook programme. After a number of years developing an intranet, which was essentially a static HTML website, we decided to implement a learning management system. We chose Moodle as the platform because it is based on the principles of constructivist student-centred learning and offered tools such as wikis and forums that were easy for teachers to set up. During that time we were aware that many staff struggled with specialist software such as Photoshop or Audacity but that they didn't need any training to shop online! A web based LMS (Learning Management System) that required the same skill set as using E-bay seemed like an ideal strategy to make progress with the greatest number of teachers. Following the strategy of amplifying the positive, we focussed on the time-savings afforded by an LMS and the social fun factor. The vision was to create an online community to complement the face-to-face community in the college. This required a holistic approach and meant directing effort into social features such as student event galleries and staff photo caption competitions as well as curriculum structures. To deliver the most efficient curriculum usage we found that we couldn't use moodle straight 'out of the box'. We commissioned development work to offer customisations such as parent and child file sharing between courses and our own in-house social book-marking network. As is the way of open source, those developments have now been fed back into the moodle development community.

Our LMS is now the hub of online learning within the College with every class represented and the majority of teachers and students using it on a regular basis. Specialist software still has a place in teaching and learning but the virtual hub for presenting, publishing and sharing is our moodle. Our next development is an e-portfolio system integrated with moodle based on the Mahara platform. We are calling this MyStudio and this time the emphasis is on individual ownership and the provision of space to gather evidence of learning and critical reflection. We have begun the process of modelling usage for staff and students and a programme of online citizenship to encourage pro-social behaviour. I have no doubt that this new development will bring with it challenges and unforeseen ripple effects, both good and bad. As we evolve our ICT services at the College, the recurring lesson seems to be that it's vital to have a plan but that it is even more important to be willing to change it to maximise opportunities.

Rozanne Donald is the Director of ICT at St Cuthbert's College. Her responsibilities include curriculum integration of ICTs, development of virtual learning environments and ICT-related staff professional

St Cuthbert's College is an independent Christian day and boarding school for 1,470 girls, from Year 1 to Year 13, in Auckland, New Zealand. Integration of ICTs and thinking skills are key focus areas. In addition to the notebook programme, St Cuthbert's College established a school-wide Thinking Skills programme in 1992 that sets out to explicitly teach generic thinking skills and encourage the adoption of a common thinking language.
Share Your Expertise
Questions From the Community
  A  grade
Here is a question AALF received from Barbara Mullins in Australia:

"Our school is implementing a 1-to-1 pilot program in 2009 with a grade 5 class. I am in the process of setting up a range of data collection tools to use to track our progress through this pilot. I wonder if there are surveys, or other data collection tools, already in use in other schools who have gone through this process?"

Do you have any tools that you are using or ideas that you can pass along? Click here to post your ideas or suggestions. Or, send them to Barbara Mullins at: bmull38@eq.edu.au.

Are you implementing a 1-to-1 laptop program and struggling with a specific issue? Do you have questions about policies, communicating with parents or the community, AUPs, professional development, or any other issues that you are facing in implementing anytime, anywhere learning in your school or district?

If your answer to that question is yes, let the AALF community help.

Send your questions to the AALF team, and we'll look for members of the AALF community who are knowledgeable in this area and are willing to share their expertise and provide some insights and suggestions. Although we may not be able to answer all your questions, we'll try to answer as many questions as we can. Send your questions to me at seinhorn@aalf.org .
1-to-1 Learning and Teaching: Part ll
Students as Content Producers: 1-to-1 Laptop program at Nashwaaksis Middle School
Canada flag
By Jeff Whipple, Technology Learning Mentor
Nashwaaksis Middle School, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.                    

Teachers have a strong attachment to curriculum.  In working with educators as we try to shift their narrative of learning to a model more appropriate for the 21st Century, the most significant barrier is the common refrain "but I have to cover the material". The journey to effectively leveraging technology for learning involves a huge shift in practice, but just what are the pedagogies that matter in technology-rich environments? 
Nashwaaksis Middle School laptops
During the past five years of their 1-to-1 student laptop program, teaching staff at Nashwaaksis Middle School in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada have been searching for ways to include students in the conversations about learning. Increasingly, learning leaders at NMS have given students a chance to participate in the design and delivery of the curriculum.

While not abandoning core fundamentals, many NMS educators have slimmed down their curricular expectations over time, choosing instead to identify the most critical outcomes, which are drilled down at the expense of breadth. By utilizing a variety of web tools to focus on students as content producers for an authentic audience and building collaboration between learners, many teachers engage students in an information-rich learning experience.

Technology-rich learning environments where students have ubiquitous connectivity allow staff to place a particular emphasis on three specific "outcomes"; preparing students to be literate in a networked and digital information environment, to develop and manage learning networks, and to nurture a positive digital footprint.At Nashwaaksis Middle, teachers have explored pedagogies that include utilizing social networking tools like Facebook to meet students where they participate and connect, to setting aside the textbook in favor of having students collaboratively develop and utilize learning networks to research and produce wiki-based collective classroom resources and interact directly with authors and other community figures through web-based learning opportunities.

An additional focus at Nashwaaksis involves connecting students for learning through global collaborative projects. Over the past three years NMS teachers and students have participated in projects with learners at almost twenty schools in a dozen countries. These projects reach across a variety of traditional subject areas, and focus on having students connect for cross-cultural understanding and subject-specific sharing of understanding. Teachers have not abandoned the designated curricular expectations. All these projects and activities are pulled from traditional curricular expectations, molded to engage and include students in the learning conversations. In addition, discussions of curriculum would be incomplete without a look at assessment of learning. While traditional assessment tools continue to play a role at NMS, increasingly teachers are utilizing more authentic assessment techniques to measure student learning, including rubrics and peer assessment.

For instance, one innovative teacher brought a civics class to life by having students self-identify into like-minded groups based on personality traits, researching current party policies, developing names, ideologies, and platforms for their new parties, developing websites and other campaign materials and holding an election within the classroom. The authentic assessment involved extra marks for votes and the winning team got to "run" the classroom for a day, including directing curriculum.
NMS students are subject to the same provincial assessments as students at other schools. The belief among staff is that by focusing on authentic learning for a purpose and project-based, collaborative studies and placing less of a focus on fact-based learning students will perform no worse on these assessments while developing the skills, understandings and habits that provide a basis for continued learning success.
Technology-rich learning environments provide an opportunity to explore a fundamental shift on how students interact with information and each other for learning.By creating participatory learning environments where students shift from singular consumers to collaborative producers of content to be shared with an authentic audience for a real purpose, we run a better chance of allowing our students to develop a passion for learning.

Jeff Whipple is a Technology Learning Mentor for Nashwaaksis Middle School in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Jeff blogs at http://edutrails.edublogs.org, and loves to share through conferene presentations and workshops.

The Nashwaaksis Middle School is one of the first schools to have a 1-to-1 laptop program in New Brunswick, Canada. Now in it's fifth year of experience with student laptops, Nashwaaksis Middle provides a 1-to-1 environment for almost 600 students. "Nasis" has been chosen as the 2009 Spotlight School at the Lausanne Laptop Institute in Memphis, Tennessee from July 19-21, 2009. 

AALF Coaching and Consulting
International Student Collaborative = Powerful Learning for All
By Karen Ward, Manager of Coaching/Consulting Services
When I was a sophomore (year 10) student my class participated in a discussion with students from South Africa, Louisiana, and California.  I learned so much about the world around me, but I think I learned more about myself than anything else.
This statement from student Ashley K. reflects what I think is the most powerful aspect of international student-to-student and teacher-to-teacher collaborative work:  the opportunity to learn about ourselves, our abilities, and the world in which we live.  Although it does take exerted effort to arrange for these types of learning projects, it is well worth every ounce of that effort. Students collaborate and learn from one another; teachers collaborate and learn from one another; best practices are shared and examined by everyone involved.  
I need to be crystal clear regarding my understanding about international student collaborative projects:  They are powerful learning experiences for students and teachers and they have the potential to expose best instructional practices and best student engagement practices. Let me share an experience to provide insight to this core idea.globeandlaptops
During the summer of 2003, I had the opportunity to work with three other high school humanities teachers at the Technology Teaching and Learning Institute held at St. Mary's College, a residential college at the University of Melbourne, Australia.  We four had worked together off and on during successive TTLI's, and so we all knew one another well.  In fact, I had learned much from these educators and I still consider them friends, mentors, and coaches.  On our last night together we mused about the possibility of orchestrating a collaborative project between our students at Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans, Louisiana; Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town, South Africa; and Clovis East High School, in Clovis, California.  At the time the disquiet between Iraq and the international community was escalating; we decided we would have our students focus on this relevant challenge by addressing the question:  Should world powers invade Iraq?  Although we did not expect our students to solve this potential crisis (world leaders were struggling unsuccessfully to do just that), we knew that they would learn invaluable lessons by planning for and participating in this three-way collaborative project.  I would find that I learned many valuable lessons from my colleagues as well. Our objectives for student learning included having students become more successful at consulting reliable primary and secondary sources so that they could develop and sustain an argument, become aware of perspectives other than their own, explore and comment on international issues, and increase their collaborative abilities.

The project lasted for six weeks and we all found that students were completely engaged throughout this duration of time. I tell educators that I think my students would have jumped through a hoop of fire in order to 'talk' with students in Louisiana and South Africa.  As educators, we witnessed growth in student skills and knowledge, but we also saw students who learned to be viable participants with other world (students) citizens.  Here are some of the exchanges students posted:
Matthew K. (South Africa): 
I really don't know a lot about this topic, as I do not follow world news, unless it interests me. Before I went on to the Internet I got hold of yesterday's Sunday Times, the biggest national weekly newspaper in the country. This is what I found: There are 36 pages in the whole newspaper, each page has 7 columns and each column is 55cm long. So all in all there 13'860 cm of news paper text space. Out of all of that there are only 697 cm of the whole newspaper dedicated to events that might have to do with the topic on hand, they were: Bomb in Bali {212cm}; Korea {40cm}; Al Qaeda {370cm}; Saddam's Sons {320cm}; Condoleezza Rice {65cm} writing an article entitled: 'In pursuit of non-negotiable democracy'. This is only 5% of the entire newspaper.  Why do I think that there is such a small amount of information on the subject in South African Newspapers? It obviously is not regarded as important because the conflict does not seem to have anything to do with us {directly}. The editors obviously think that we have other issues to deal with in our country.  What I would like to know is, how much of your local or even state newspaper is dedicated to these events?
Brian B. (Clovis, CA.)
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 it seems like more Americans, especially myself, have broadened their perspective on world news. The "newest" fiasco that is before the world and us is between President Bush of the United States and the autocratic leader Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Now we see more media coverage on what Saddam is supposedly up to, although reports tell us that this has been going on since the end of the Gulf War. The attacks of 9/11 on America have made people around the world, not just Americans, more vigilant that ever before which in turn can be why President Bush is forewarning Hussein to show proof that Iraq isn't making weapons of mass destruction.
Ashleigh M. (New Orleans, LA.)
From my research and our discussions together I have found that the Bush administration would like to see the government in Iraq be a democracy. This administration believes that this would help the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Personally, I do not want to see our country go to war with Iraq. I think it would be best if we first find out if there are actually WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq and then come to a decision about how we will take action (possibly without force). If we do go to war I do not want to see the Iraqi government turn into a democracy because I regard that as America simply forcing its government on the people of Iraq. I think the Bush administration should find out what the Iraqi people want and help them achieve this.
Our collaborative project ended by requiring students to participate in a post survey and to 'take a stand' on the issue in a written essay.  One survey question asked students to rate the extent of their knowledge about world affairs before the collaborative (high, medium, or low).  Fifty percent of the 80+ students felt that they had a low knowledge level and forty percent rated their knowledge as medium.  After the international collaboration sixty-two percent of these students felt that their knowledge level had risen to a high level, while another thirty percent ranked their knowledge at medium.  But perhaps Ashley's comments, captured on video, best summarize student learning:
It was a wonderful experience allowing us to communicate with other students from all around the world and allowing us to experience other perspectives on this world situation.  I learned so much from this experience about the world around me, but I think I learned more about myself than anything else.  By preparing myself for participation in this international discussion I learned about how other countries viewed the U.S., I learned how differently news is reported around the world, and how differently people in various countries react to the same situation.  I learned that is vitally important for me to be a world citizen.
Are you interested in learning more about international student collaboratives?  You will find information at the AALF Ning site (click on the 'Educator and Student Collaboration' link).
Happy New Year!

Coaches' Corner
AALF Coaching

The goal of AALF is to ensure that all children have access to unlimited opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere and that they have the tools that make this possible.  AALF coaches provide support for educators at all levels in achieving this goal.  Working either individually or in expert teams, coaches and consultants support educators and policy makers at every phase of their 1-to-1 initiative. This includes creating a vision, designing appropriate goals, translating plans into action, choosing the most effective technology tools and designing technology support, providing professional development opportunities, and using data to reflect on the effectiveness of their program.

 Working with individual leaders and teams of educators, AALF coaches incorporate:
  • Face-to-face and additional communication sessions
  • Online learning opportunities
  • The use of Web 2.0 online collaborative communication tools such as blogs and wikis
  • Professional development support with AALF associates who are currently working in highly effective 1-to-1 schools.

For addition information regarding AALF coaching support go to www.aalf.org or contact Karen Ward at kward@aalf.org
AALF Worldwide Networking
Contributing to AALF
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Our AALF worldwide newsletter readership continues to grow. In the past year our foundation enrollment and readers have grown to over 2,500 members. This is exciting news and certainly provides evidence about the relevance of 1-to-1 learning across continents!  As our audience and support continues to grow, we are anxious to provide timely and relevant information regarding 1-to-1 learning and schools around the world. With this in mind, I would like to invite foundation members to get involved with the production of this monthly publication. There are several ways you can contribute to this important work:
  • Get involved with a RTA group (Research-to-Action); these groups will continue to contribute to the '1-to-1 Leadership and Learning' column which explores 'best pedagogical practices'
  • Volunteer your school to be a '1-to-1 Global Storybook Spotlight School'; this column provides an in depth look at 1-to-1 schools from the perspective of leaders, teachers, and students
  • Volunteer to help with production of the newsletter; editors are needed as our publication continues to grow in breadth and depth; or submit an article to an upcoming issue.
  • Volunteer your unique suggestions; suggest columns or ideas you think would benefit 1-to-1 educators around the world

Please contact Susan Einhorn (seinhorn@aalf.org or 425.223.3763) if you are interested in any of these opportunities.

Conferences, Institutes, Academies and Events
Special Advance Announcement for the AALF Community

Announcing a Major New Educational Event!

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Equity, Access, Opportunity for All--Learning for the 21st Century
October 10-14, 2009

Presented by the Maine International Center for Digital Learning (MICDL), IdeasLab of Australia, and AALF, the BIG Summit @ the Summit promises to be 2009's premier event focused on making a dramatic difference in the lives and future of all children. Its aim is to tackle the question of how to create and implement policies and practices that truly support all learners. The BIG Summit will bring together policy makers from around the globe and many of the world's best thinkers from both inside and outside education to challenge them to develop a viable, effective blue-print for large scale change for all learners.

Registration opens at the end of January. For more information, contact Susan Einhorn at: seinhorn@aalf.org

Upcoming Events
Check Events on the AALF website regularly to learn of other events at which AALF leaders will be speaking or leading workshops. We look forward to seeing you there.

January 22, 2009         
Constructing Modern Math/Science Knowledge. Gary Stager is the keynote speaker. Philadelphia, PA.

January 23-25, 2009    
Educon 2.1 Organized by Christopher Lehmann. Will Richardson and Gary Stager are featured speakers. Philadelphia, PA.

July 19-21, 2009    
Lausanne Laptop Institute. Memphis, TN. Presentation proposals are now being accepted.

Do you have an upcoming 1-to-1 event you would like to share with other newsletter readers?  Contact Justina Spencer (jspencer@aalf.org ) for information on posting these events.

Customized Institutes for Your District
AALF can tailor a 21 Steps to 21st Century Learning Institute to your needs. The 21 Steps Institutes are intensive two-day programs designed for superintendents, principals, board members, and other school leaders who have made the decision to initiate or expand their 1-to-1 student laptop initiative. Participants leave with a clear understanding of where to start and how to develop their student laptop program. Institutes can be scheduled for individual schools or districts.If you would like to schedule a customized Institute in your district, please contact Susan Einhorn at: seinhorn@aalf.org or 425.223.3763
The Foundation thanks its partners for their support: