AALF Email Header
Volume 5, Issue 4
February 2009
In This Issue
AALF Leadership: Executive Director
Survey Says
AALF Coaching and Consulting
1-to-1 Leadership and Learning
1-to-1 Global Storybook
Share Your Expertise
Coaches' Corner
AALF Worldwide Networking
Conferences and Events
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the February edition of the AALF newsletter. This month's issue is focused on Coaching. Susan Einhorn, Executive Director of AALF, talks about the importance of relationships, and Karen Ward, Manager of Coaching/Consulting Services, discusses the qualities of a champion coach. We also have articles from Joe Hofmeister, an AALF coach, who discusses obstacles to change, and Kathlene Felder-Johnson, who discusses her experiences as a Technology Coach at the Corcoran Unified School District.

As you may recall, in our last issue we introduced a new newsletter format. You'll find a brief summary of each article in the email edition of the newsletter, but it can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link at the end of the article. You can comment or add your stories to any of these articles. We would love to hear from you!

AALF Leadership:  Executive Director News and Thoughts

By Susan Einhorn, Executive Director

seinhornI 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 seinhorn@aalf.org

Until next time!



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.

Survey Says....
1-to-1 SURVEY
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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
 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 willlinked educators 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 reality.

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

By Joe Hofmeister, Educational Technology Consultant
Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation

A+ gradeWhen 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:

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: A  grade

  1. Masterful Coaching
    by Robert Hargrove

  2. Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
    by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

  3. 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


By, Kathlene Felder-Johnson, Technology Coach
Corcoran Unified School District, Corcoran, California.

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--vis off my arm and continued to work on my overhead transparencies. Today, my job allows me to help teachers integrate technology acrosA+ grades 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 Unified School 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: kathifelder@gmail.com

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 11-18.

Share Your Expertise
  A  grade

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?"

Please click here to share your experiences and ideas.

Q: Here is another question AALF received from Graham Hughes in Australia:

"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."

Click here to comment or post your suggestions.

Coaches' Corner

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 kward@aalf.org
AALF Worldwide Networking
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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 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 (seinhorn@aalf.org or 425.223.3763) if you are interested in any of these opportunities.

Conferences, Institutes, Academies and 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.

April 27-29, 2009
Fifth Annual One-to-One Computing Conference, State College, PA.

July 13-16, 2009
Constructing Modern Knowledge, Manchester, NH
Sponsored by The Constructivist Consortium and the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation

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: