“People come to see Mooresville GSD to see laptops. They leave talking about culture” Dr. Mark Edwards
I met Mark Edwards at a School Library Journal Summit in 2014; he was the morning keynote speaker and I was lucky enough to share a table with him for lunch. Mark is the superintendent of Mooresville School district, whose “digital conversion” is cited by the DOE, the White house and a multitude of organizations and visitors, as a symbolic success. In August 2008, Mooresville distributed 2400 MacBooks to each of their high and middle school students; today each student in grades 3 -12, in addition to all teachers are each allocated a MacBook Pro. Mark is an accomplished public speaker,butt his message comes from the heart; It’s not about the technology, it’s about supporting, encouraging, and honoring every child, every day.
Details about Mooresville’s digital conversion can be found on their district’s site, and I highly recommend Mark Edward’s inspirational book, Every Child, Every Day: A Digital Conversion Model for Student Achievement, which clearly communicates the need for: formidable planning and preparation, building an “all in” culture, community buy in, ubiquitous leadership and intensive data collection. Marks’ valuable insights include:
- “All in means that every adult and every student counts in a major way, and every adult and every student is counted on in a major way-and we want them to know it”
- “You have to trust kids more than you’ve ever trusted them. Your teachers have to be willing to give up control.”
- Partnering with community businesses to provide broadband to all in need households and local establishments.
- Creating a celebratory environment for Deployment Day.
- Continual professional development, including summer institutes.
- “Students need to see a direct connection between what they do in school and their futures”
- Continual support for students
- Cost: (2014) $1.25 per child per day, including hardware, software and online resources
My friend Carolyn Foote is the librarian at Westlake High School, just outside Austin, TX, and has been integral in her district’s implementation of a successful 1 to 1 iPad program. I spoke to Carolyn last night via Google chat, (as not to bother her husband while watching yet another primary debate!). Highlights Carolyn shared include:
- Started with a 40 teacher pilot; 1 to 1 for 5 years in the HS, 3 years in the district.
- Instructional Tech Coach at each campus and iPadpalooza Summer conference.
- Process Blog
- Just finished 6 month evaluation process, chose iPads again!
- Funded through bonds.
- Students keep ipads for a few years… they can pay insurance to keep them through the summer.
- Managed through Casper Jam and Self Serve App, which students use to download apps.
- A must includes commitment from administrators at each campus
This School Library Journal article shares Carolyn’s iPad experience.
My son, Charlie, shares his 1 to 1 Macbook Air experience. Highlights include:
- Family responsible for $90- insurance fee.
- Learning curve for teachers and administrative processes.
- “Changed the way we learn” Example “reversed” classroom…flipped!
- Better than BYOD because there are no excuses!
- Tech issues are minor to non-existent.
- Classroom management: “would be no different if we didn’t have computers. Students would still be inattentive if we didn’t have computers, just in different ways.”
- Sometimes take notes on paper/printout. “Physically writing stuff down can help you recount it better”
- Computers vs Chromebooks? In HS need applications, such as excel, word and those we find to use personally.
No matter the device, key to successful implementation of a 1 to 1 initiative is continuous support for teachers and students, an all in flexible attitude and an agreed upon move towards student centered learning practices. Personally, I like Kathy Shrock’s advice in a recent Edweek Article, The complete guide to picking the right device for every grade level, where she recommends: full size iPad carts for grades PreK-1, iPad minis with keyboard carts for grades 2-4, 1 to 1 home to school Chromebooks plus full size iPad carts to share between classrooms for grades 5-8 and 1 to 1 home to school laptops plus full size iPad carts to share between classrooms for grades 9-12.
Our current reality, however, is that 1 to 1 access is only a dream for too many public school students in the United States. I attended a workshop a few weeks ago with New York City School District teachers and administrators and was blown away by the difference in tech availably in schools in the very same city. How can we ever hope to solve current, desperate levels of inequality which permeate every aspect of our society, if we can’t figure out how to create a system of education which gives its students an equal opportunity for success.