|AALF Leadership: Executive Director News and Thoughts|
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPSBy Susan Einhorn, Executive Director
I had a very unusual, albeit exhilarating experience, this past month. I attended Educon 2.1 at the Science Leadership Academy (SLA), in Philadelphia, PA. The SLA is a public school set up as a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute and led by a dynamic educator, Chris Lehmann. The school is unusual in that all the students we spoke to were engaged, focused on their various projects. Or, if acting as guides to the conference visitors crowding the building, they were expressing their love for the school, their teachers, their laptops, their classes. The group of educators with whom I was touring kept looking for the disgruntled student, the one that would admit that all isn't rosy here, just to help balance the picture. But, no matter how many kids we asked, we couldn't find anyone who wanted to vent. So why, we asked, do you love this place so much? Because we love the people - the other students, the teachers, Mr. Lehmann. We're a family. We help each other. We listen to each other. We can go to any of our teachers and speak with them about anything, and they will be there for us.
In other words, there was trust, respect, care, and a strong sense of the importance of positive, collaborative relationships. I have often said that education shouldn't be something we do to kids, it should be something we do with kids. I was pleased to see this sentiment echoed in a report from Charles Leadbeater entitled "What's Next? 21 Ideas for 21st Century Learning" which came out last year, and is published by The Innovation Unit
(UK). Dr. Leadbeater states "Learning 'with' works only when a child can rely on the kind of relationships they need for this collaborative endeavor." He goes on to say that children need relationships that build participation, provide them with recognition for who they are and what they have and can achieve, make them feel cared for and safe, and finally, motivate them to learn.
Building strong, supportive relationships isn't important only for young learners, it's important for all learners. As educators, we are also always learners. Although traditional PD (attending conferences and workshops, spending a day with a consultant, etc.) has certain benefits, these aren't the only or even the best ways to participate in your learning endeavors. Coaching provides another model for professional development, one that is all about building these relationships for learning that prove so successful and lead to ongoing growth and change. It is a model of ongoing professional learning that is being adopted by more and more schools and districts and can include a variety of professional development approaches, depending on your school community's needs.
In this issue of One-to-One, our contributors share both their ideas about coaching and their stories of how coaching is used to support 1-to-1 programs. If you've had experiences as a coach or with coaching in your school or district, please consider sharing these with the AALF community by sending them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!
|DISRUPTING CLASS: ANOTHER VIEW
In the October edition of One-to-One, Bruce Dixon discussed the book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton Christensen, Curtis Johnson, and Michael Horn. He wrote: "Rarely has a book provoked such breadth, and dare I say it, depth of conversation around educational futures....This is not the book that sets out to make unfounded predictions about the impact of technology on education, but rather it seeks to draw our attention to the potential for a collection of emerging technologies to disrupt the role of the institution of school in learning."
Recently, Dr. Andrew Zucker, Senior Research Scientist at the Concord Consortium, wrote a review of the book entitled "Lost in Cyberspace: A Review of Disrupting Class", which is listed in the publications section of the Concord Consortium website. Zucker's opinion is in stark contrast to Dixon's, as he highlights some thought provoking weaknesses in Christensen et. al's core arguments. We encourage you to read Zucker's review and share your thoughts with us on the AALF website. Zucker is also the author of another article listed in the publications section of the Concord Consortium website and published in the journal Science entitled "Laptop Programs for Students." In it, he discusses evidence of the effectiveness of 1-to-1 programs, issues of cost and affordability, and the future of laptop programs.
Click here to post your comments about the book, Disrupting Class.
Have you implemented or are you in the process of implementing a 1-to-1 laptop program in your school or district? If so, please consider responding to a very short survey we have posted.
We will collect your responses and share your insights with the AALF community in the near future.
Thank you for participating!
|AALF Coaching and Consulting|
By Karen Ward, Manager of Coaching/Consulting Services
CHAMPION SCHOOLS....CHAMPION COACHES
I had the opportunity recently to provide a professional development session for a secondary school staff. All of these teachers and their students either are currently, or will
soon be, using laptops for instruction and learning.
One gentlemen made a comment that summarizes the 'why laptops' question that so many of us hear. If you want to be a champion you must do what champions do.
This statement implies that we use indicators to identify champion schools and then observe what they are doing and replicate their actions.
Champion schools provide powerful teaching and learning opportunities and tools (laptops) for their educators and students.
Champion schools also employ coaches who provide ongoing support so that teachers can be successful.
What are the qualifiers of a champion coach?
The following is a short list of some qualifiers with a brief explanation
included. Champion coaches are...
Persistent team players: Coaches should persistently focus on
achieving the school/district 1-to-1 goals and objectives which are related to
student achievement, and they must align their supportive work with these goals
and objectives. Along with this they should continually reflect on their work
by asking simple questions like, "What did I learn about my work while
coaching/supporting this teacher."
Partners in Learning: Although coaches should be experienced and
knowledgeable, there is always something new to understand and apply, and so
coaches must be life-long learners themselves who linked educators are eager to
ask questions and search for answers. Partnering also requires that coaches be
communicators who listen carefully to the words embedded in conversation, words
that signal the type of support needed. Effective communicators also observe
the messages included in body language. Just as teachers assess their student
learning and understanding, so coaches use verbal communication and body
language to assess the effectiveness of their work. Coaches also partner with
administration in communicating the progress of their work and the overall
1-to-1 work of the school. As partners in learning 1-to-1 coaches act as
thinking partners; they should answer questions directly if that is the best
approach in bring about lasting and desirable changes in teaching practices.
However, champion coaches always look for or create the situations wherein they
can act as thinking partners. They understand that effective, rigorous, and
lasting 1-to-1 best practices will continue only when the educator they are
coaching knows 'how to think' on their own about the situation. They use tools
(like graphic organizers) that teachers can employ beyond the coaching session
to continue thinking on their own. As partners in learning coaches also act as
critical friends; they are anxious to build upon the teachers current
development and they do this by always being honest about the teachers current
Self-motivated: Teachers do not have to 'go looking' for the school
coach, but instead the coach is out and about and consequently their influence
on campus is readily available for all of the appropriate staff. Just as an
effective teacher is aware of and can articulate the needs and achievements of
all of their students in class, so the champion coach is aware of and can
articulate the needs and achievements of all of the 1-to-1 educators on campus.
This suggests that coaches have an idea of the next steps needed long before
the teacher themselves are ready for those next steps.
These are some of the indicators of effective coaches. Educational leaders
should keep these in mind when they employ either district contracted educators
to act in coaching roles or external coaching services for their schools. Are
there other qualifiers...yes! Please share your ideas, thoughts, and
experiences about these other qualifiers with AALF members in the 'Champion
Coaches' forum of our Ning site.
Have a great month!
|1-to-1 Leadership and Learning
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
By Joe Hofmeister, Educational Technology Consultant
Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation
When one takes on the role of a coach/consultant for a school engaged in a major environmental change, like the move to a 1-to-1 program you hope that you can be that "gift" that Robert Burns made famous writing about a louse he spotted on the bonnet of a fellow church goer:
"O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us..." (To a Louse by Robert Burns)
But such gifts are not always welcome, even when the evidence is clear that what's holding up the one-to-one program may be a minor policy, or a single person who has significant authority or influence that was appropriate in the past but is now a stumbling block.
It has been my experience with schools that sometimes discovering such a stumbling block, and being able to point out the blockage, can help a school take major steps forward. In other cases, the evidence, while indisputable, doesn't carry the day and the school muddles on, while everyone agrees not to focus on the elephant in the room. "We'll get to that later" or "Let's see what happens," "Maybe next year," or "Perhaps the new head of school will..."
In cases like these, where the consultant has done the service, by pointing
out the problem, it becomes obvious that the coach/consultant has a much better
chance of helping the school than a consultant only, who may come into the
school for a day or two and then is gone. The good coach is also a consultant,
but the good consultant may not be a coach. The coach may be required to act
first as a consultant to raise awareness of problems in the one-to-one program
but then moves into the coaching role and remains in contact with the school,
through emails, phone calls and on-site visits. Consulting is a discrete
activity; coaching is a continuous one.
Coaching can be a humbling, albeit far more effective action than doing
consulting only. As a coach you don't just tell the school what's wrong or what
needs to be done and then dust off your hands and go on to the next job. As a
coach you need to become part of the life of the school; you need to understand
and appreciate the culture of the school, while helping it change. Because you
establish a semi-long term relationship with the school, you share in the
responsibility for the change, and become at least partly accountable for it.
Change in schools is rare, even when the change is something relatively
unimportant to the school's mission. Try to change the name of the school's
sport teams' nickname, for example. Major change in the way the school goes about
its basic educative mission is so rare that it approaches being unique. And
basic change is the goal of a one-to-one program. This is the dilemma that the
coach faces. In his book Influencer,
The Power to Change Anything, Kerry Patterson's stunning work on
instigating change, he argues persuasively that anything can be changed if you
can uncover and modify the vital behaviors in an organization. Vital behaviors in
a school are activities like the way teachers actually conduct their classes.
Do they, for example, rapidly alternate between teaching and questioning, or
testing understanding in some other way? Or do the teachers drone on for a
relatively long time and then let the students struggle? Are the laptops in the
one-to-one program an essential part of the lesson or are they used simply as a
reward for conduct that the teacher requires?
It is significant that Patterson's studies have shown that modifying even a
few of these vital behaviors can cause major change. Discovering these
behaviors and helping the staff modify them is the work of the coach.
Joe Hofmeister is a highly experienced educational technology consultant.
He has particularly been involved with schools that are either starting a
1-to-1 program or that find themselves needing to get their laptop learning
program back into high gear. As long-term technology director at Cincinnati Country Day School,
he led the school's pioneering efforts with one of the nation's first
immersions into a laptop program. Joe has spoken at many conferences and
seminars and has been on advisory boards at Apple, Microsoft, Toshiba and the
Bertelsmann Foundation. He has co-authored eight books for classroom
integration of technology and has contributed chapters and articles to a number
of other publications. Along with serving as an AALF consultant and coach, he
is presently a member of the NAIS Technology Task Force and recently was
invited to take part in Ohio's Institute on Creativity and Innovation in
Schools. He can be reached at: email@example.com
|WHAT'S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?
AALF asked Karen Ward, Manager of Coaching/Consulting Services for the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, to list the top ten books she'd recommend that every 1-to-1 digital technology coach should read. In no particular order, here's what she said:
- Masterful Coaching
by Robert Hargrove
- Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Influencer, The Power to Change Anything
by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
Click here to see the rest of Karen's Top Ten list. We also encourage you to post your book recommendations.
We will be including book lists from other educators in upcoming issues, so stay tuned!
1-to-1 Global Storybook
Corcoran Unified School District, Corcoran, California.
ACHIEVING STUDENT SUCCESS
By, Kathlene Felder-Johnson, Technology Coach
If you were to ask me six years ago when I came back to my hometown to teach, if every student in the middle school would have a computer--I think I would have laughed, and then wiped the vis-à-vis off my arm and continued to work on my overhead transparencies. Today, my job allows me to help teachers integrate technology across the entire district, from interactive whiteboards to laptops in core classes. Our students live in a world where technology is a way of life. These digital natives learn differently, and our district has realized this and is tapping into this special talent.
As a teacher in a 1-to-1 classroom, I saw a transformation in my students almost immediately. The students wanted to be in class, so attendance was no longer an issue. They also wanted to use the technology, so the behavior issues diminished quickly as well. My teaching style transformed from instructor in the front of the classroom, to facilitator in the back of the classroom. If the students had an issue or did not understand a concept, we took it as an opportunity to collaboratively work together and find it using the World Wide Web.
Now, as an academic technology coach, my role has broadened to encompass
five schools. My primary function is to help teachers integrate technology into
their daily curriculum. I am able to lead teachers in the direction of our
district's vision of being a destination district, infused with the latest
technology and a computer for every middle and high school student. My main
goal as a coach is to support the tech-savvy teachers who use laptops and
technology on a daily basis, and to guide the teachers who are still
apprehensive in teaching their students.
One of the most important elements of a technology coach is the ability to
provide ample professional development. If you give the teachers a cart full of
30 laptops, but do not teach them how to fully utilize them with their current
curriculum, they simply become a reward to use on Friday afternoons. If given
proper training, they become an integral part of their daily routine which in turn
will increase the success of the students. I have been fortunate in Corcoran
Unified to have the opportunity on early-out collaboration days to create
customized workshops that meet the teacher's needs in terms of technology
integration. In addition, I spend a great amount of time within the school day
in various one-on-one settings with teachers. Within these meetings, my goal is
to help with specific technology questions, and most importantly to help
teachers rise above their fears and apprehensions.
The number one goal of all educators is to achieve student success. I feel
that each and everyday, Corcoran
District is moving toward that goal by putting
laptops and technology into the hands of the teachers as well as the students.
Kathlene Felder-Johnson acts as an Academic Technology Coach for Corcoran
Unified School District in Corcoran, California.
She has been teaching 6th grade Math and Science for six years, and has an MAE
in Curriculum and Instruction. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Corcoran Unified School District is located in Corcoran, California. The district
has leased over 1,000 laptops the past two years in beginning their program in
every English Language Arts course grades 7-12 and Mathematics grades 6-12.
This past year the District also launched its 22,000 square foot Technology Learning Center
Facility. This technology rich, state-of-the-art facility is designed for staff
development, job training for the community and offers courses for grades
|Share Your Expertise
|QUESTIONS FROM THE COMMUNITY
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 AALF, and we'll post them both in our newsletter and on the AALF web site. Although we may not be able to post all your questions, we'll try to post as many as we can.
On the flip side, if you've tackled the same issue or have experience in one of these areas, please consider sharing your ideas, expertise, insights, and suggestions with the community.
Q: Here is a question AALF received from Ann McMullan in the U.S.:
"I was wondering if your community has any thoughts on the technological solutions, and discipline consequences concerning proxy servers and inappropriate material on student laptops? How have other 1-to-1 schools dealt with these issues?"
Click here to comment or post your suggestions.
Please click here to share your experiences and ideas.
"I think that parent/student ownership is vital to the success of a 1-to-1 program, however I have heard many voices suggesting school-ownership is the best way. I would love to hear opinions on the pros and cons from your community."
Q: Here is another question AALF received from Graham Hughes in Australia:
AALF coaches provide support for educators at all levels and, 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 additional information regarding AALF coaching support, go to www.aalf.org or contact Karen Ward at email@example.com
|AALF Worldwide Networking|
|CONTRIBUTING TO AALF|
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 submit an article to an upcoming issue of the AALF newsletter.
- Volunteer your unique suggestions; suggest columns or ideas you think would benefit 1-to-1 educators around the world
Please contact Susan Einhorn (firstname.lastname@example.org or 425.223.3763) if you are interested in any of these opportunities.
Conferences, Institutes, Academies and 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.
April 27-29, 2009July 13-16, 2009Constructing Modern Knowledge,
Fifth Annual One-to-One Computing Conference, State College, PA.
Sponsored by The Constructivist Consortium and the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation July 19-21, 2009Lausanne 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 (email@example.com ) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or 425.223.3763