What Happens When We Forget The Mind Shift

What Happens When We Forget The Mind Shift

I read an article today titled: Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops. It only took me two seconds to figure out what the issue was here….I’ll give you a clue….it’s not the laptops. There are some interesting quotes and lines in this article that caught my attention. Now I don’t know this school district, I give them an A+ for trying something at least. It sounds like they got caught in the netbook era of computing and just couldn’t get out. What follows are some of my thoughts around what went wrong here. “We had the money to buy them, but maybe not the best implementation,” said Mark Toback, the current superintendent of Hoboken School District. “It became unsustainable.” Problem #1: The funding cycle Changing the mind set of thinking that technology is a one off capital expenditure rather than an operational cost. Technology, much like textbooks, paper, crayons, etc. need to be updated. This is issue #1 with our current system. Here the school was given stimulus money from the government…that I’m guessing…as usually….needed to be spent ASAP and on hardware. So it’s great we have this now…but thinking long term…thinking past year 2 or 3 needs to be a focus when starting a program. None of the school administrators who initiated Hoboken’s one-to-one laptop program still work there. Toback agreed to share Hoboken’s experiences so that other schools can learn from it. Personally I believe this is a solvable problem: Hire administrators who understand the changing nature of schools when every student is connected. Yes…you are going to have administrative turn-over. But hiring leaders who understand what giving a laptop to every student really means is on the School Board, the Superintendent and leadership. There are good administrators out there that get these changes….hire them….and then allow them to hire teachers who “get it”. This year alone, schools are projected to spend almost $10 billion on education technology, a $240-million increase from 2013, according to the Center for Digital Education. Problem #2: The Need to invest in PD Really this is the issue of this entire program and the entire way the system is structured and goes back to a post I wrote (along with others) about professional development. The National Staff Development Council still recommends 25% of funds for any new project be earmarked for PD. Why…because that’s what it takes! Meaning...

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Solar Freakin’ Roadways – The Challenge

Solar Freakin’ Roadways – The Challenge

So by now hopefully you have seen the video about Solar Roadways. If not take a couple minutes to watch it below…. amazingly awesome. So here’s the thing…I’m all for this…this excites me….this is the future. In fact I have already donated to the cause via their Indiegogo page. But it’s going to be an uphill battle because this is different. You have to think different, you have to plan different…you can’t just go out and continue building roads the same old way. You need to rethink everything……everything! It reminds me of schools who decide to go 1:1. Buying the computer is the easy part…that just takes money. Much like this project raising the money was the easy part. The hard part is changing the mindset. What should a road be? What should a classroom look like? How does this change the way we manufacture roads? How does this change the way we lesson plan? How does this change what we expect our roads to do? How does this change what we expect our students to produce? I could go on and on of course but I think you get the point. You can’t just drop laptops into schools/classroom and expect things to change on their own. You have to think different…you have to expect something different. You have to think way out of the box on this one. It’s a #moonshot for sure. So is thinking different in the classroom. Once you give every student a connected device….you need to think different….you need to start over. I have recently been to a couple of new schools in the process of being built both here in the States and overseas. People are so proud of their beautiful new school buildings where 1:1 is either already in the plan or will be shortly. So we’re giving students a new set of tools to learn with yet building the same structures to learn within. Why is that? In 2014 why are we building schools that on the outside look very modern, a lot of glass, beautiful architecture, yet in the classrooms we get 4 white walls, desks that don’t have wheels, chairs that don’t have wheels and pretty much a stagnate learning space. In all the schools I have visited in the past couple of year the International School of Turin in Turin, Italy always comes to my mind first when I think...

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The Tale of Two iPad Programs

The Tale of Two iPad Programs

There are more schools this year rolling out iPad programs. I still have my personal reservations about these programs in high schools. But seeing that nobody asked me I’ll give up on that argument for a moment. Two programs have come across my radar lately. I want you to watch the media coverage of these two programs. Full discloser…I have known Tim Wilson for many years as a blogger, a podcast superstar and just a great guy to hang out with. So it doesn’t surprise me that when his district rolls out an iPad program that they have media coverage that goes beyond textbook replacement. The other school, Gonzaga Prep (GPrep), is from Spokane, Washington…basically in my back yard. Now I don’t know how Tim’s community is responding to the iPad program and I’m sure he’ll be leaving a comment here letting us know how things are going. However, I do know how the GPrep program is being sold. The iPads are seen by the community, and if you watch the video by the media, as a replacement for textbooks. Sure they mention apps…but really everything I hear makes me cringe. In the Wayzata School District video, listen to how the iPads are sold, not as a replacement for books but rather a device that has limitless possibilites. Count how many times the word “Create” is used. Why is this word so important? Because it is what is at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Order Learning. Next I want you to re-watch the GPrep video with the SAMR model in mind. Here’s an image to help frame this model of technology integration for you as you watch the video. What do you hear? What do you see? Using this model of technology integration, which one of these programs do you want to be a part of? I even went to the required apps page for GPrep in hopes of finding something there to make me think these might be used for more than just textbook replacements….but really everything I am seeing is at a Substitution or Augmentation level of the SAMR model. So here’s the thing. If you wanted a textbook replacement…that’s great….but there are much cheaper devices that will replace a textbook than an iPad.  Please do not expect your teachers to “teach differently” when everything that I am reading and can find about this program is about...

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Why There Is No One Way To Go 1:1

Why There Is No One Way To Go 1:1

This past weekend I flew to Vietnam to spend two days with the Senior Management Team (SMT) of the British International School of Vietnam (BISVietnam). A two day retreat that focused on a future with technology and a 1:1 program.  There are so many different ways to go 1:1 and in my opinion no one right way to do it. There are so many variables that need to be considered that 1:1 programs can look drastically different from one school to the next and still be successful. Here are a few of the things we discussed: Money:   It’s always the elephant in the room and the problem with dreaming of endless possibilities without considering the cost leads one to believe that the dreams can become reality and in many cases it is just not financially feasible to fulfill our wildest technology dreams. As much as we want to say money is not a factor…..at some point it always is. Infrastructure: In many countries in Asia this can be the most frustrating part of the whole plan. We all read, watch, and see the amazing things that are happening on the web. However, to do those amazing things you need a web connection. In developing countries like Vietnam the Internet is expensive, unreliable, and most of the time just plain frustrating. BISVietnam currently has a 2MB Internet line for 1600 students. Think about that the next time you want to complain about your Internet speed.   You can not consider going 1:1 without looking at the cost and feasibility of it from an infrastructure standpoint. Money put into your infrastructure is always well spent but it also means every dollar that goes towards infrastructural improvements is dollars taken away from learning devices. Finding the balance is important. One thing that I stress is do not spend money on you infrastructure for the future. Support the here and now. If a school spends money building up an infrastructure that looks to support learning years from now then you’re wasting money. You might know what you will need two or three years from now…but you don’t need that today. The chances are the infrastructure your school will need in the future will get cheaper and faster. Example: You know you’re going to need more server space as students store more and more data on the Intranet. Calculate how much storage you’ll need this year and next year. But only purchase what you need for this...

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Asking The Right Questions

Asking The Right Questions

Over the last few weeks I have received a hand full of e-mails all asking the same question.  What would you recommend? MacBook vs ChromeBook Laptop vs Tablet Tablet Laptop vs Tablet Slates The problem is that’s not the right question to be asking. Don’t get me wrong, I know what everyone is asking and dealing with. There are a lot of compelling options out there right now and at the end of the day the best option is the one your school can afford.  However, if you are looking at a couple different platforms then your school must have the budget to do some shopping and thinking about which platform is best for students and this is where our question begins.  Do not ask “What should we use to go 1:1 with?“ Ask “What do we want students to create?“ I wrote about this in my Technology Plan (Free PDF that needs to be updated) a few years back. The technology should support the learning which means we need to know what we expect students to create (key word there) with technology.  Let’s take 3rd Grade as an example. I would expect 3rd Graders at my school to: Collaborating on Google Docs Blogging (including uploading of images) Creating simple movies Creating simple podcasts Commenting on others blogs I would sit down with the 3rd Grade team and have them help me brainstorm this list. Remembering to stay focus on what we want students to do, not what we’re currently doing (sometimes a big difference!).  Some rights reserved by mikecogh Why do I focus on creating? Simple, we want every student to be able to consume information via technology. That’s a given and each of the devices above allows you to consume information, there is nothing, other than form factor that really sets them apart. If you only want students to consume information the choice is easy…a tablet such as an iPad is made to do just that. Looking at the quick list that I created I’m now going to go and look at all my options for hardware and choose the best fit that allows my students to do everything I want them to do. In the case above everything listed, except collaborate on Google Docs, can simply be done on an iPad. So, using this list (and I know it’s not complete) I would go 1:1 with iPads...

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