One Laptop per Child initiative in Peru
- Miguel Zambrano
- Paige Mattke
- Stacy Getz
One Laptop Per Child is a non- profit program to put small, powerful XO laptops in to the hands of the world’s most disadvantaged children. In 2007, Peru was the second country to agree to participate in the program and agreed to order a total of 270,000 units. They received their initial 40,013 units that year. The following year in October of 2008 they will received their next 100,000 units and these will be distributed to schools in rural highland, rural coastal and remote Amazonian areas in Peru. The Peruvian government has worked tirelessly to improve its educational system and had been working on systemic reform, including the introduction of technology into schools, since the late 1980s. When the One Laptop Per Child program was introduced in early 2007, government officials, on the advice of Chief Educational Technology Officer from the Ministry of Education of Peru, Oscar Becerra Tresierra, quickly signed up to order units for its school children. Mr. Becerra was interview for this case study and was instrumental in understanding the magnitude and importance of this program. He also provided insight and resources related to the program as well.
The first school to receive the laptops was Arahuay, a one-room, multi-grade one-teacher school in the rural highlands of Lima. There are as many as 10,000 such schools in Peru and these schools provide education for as many as 22 children from first to sixth grade with just one teacher and few resources. There is a perception among the parents and students that school education is not instrumental in reaching personal goals for the future so government officials and program facilitators had no idea how the program would be received. When the parents and other townspeople were informed of the program, the coordinators were surprised to see that every parent in town came to register their children to receive a laptop. Carla Gomez Monroy, one of the distribution facilitators commented, “Something the teachers told us afterwards, that also impressed us, was that every single parent came to the meeting, except for two of them, even when parents had to walk incredibly long distances to make it.” Clearly the parents were dedicated to improving their children’s education.
The teachers that participated in the program were given a one-week 40 hour training program on the basic use and repair of the XO laptops. They were shown how to use the Internet and where connectivity did not exist; they were shown how to use the USB memory key, a form of portable Internet. This portable hard drive allows teachers to download information from the Internet when they go to a connected town to get their paychecks. They then take the information back to their schools and share it with their students.
The teachers were not told how they were to actually use the computers and were allowed to use them at their discretion. In many cases, it was the students who learned use the units and shared their discoveries with their teachers, who in turn, integrated the uses into assignments and projects. The goal of the program was to provide the students with tools to allow them to reach personally meaningful objectives. Students made audio recordings of their family members telling stories, video recordings of local festivals and looked up words to find the meanings. The program also responds to the growing demand for equity and quality of education for children living in rural areas.
This program is important to Peru because government leaders realize that their people are their most valuable asset. The service sector accounts for 53% of the gross domestic product and officials see an educated population as the way to success in the future. Participation in the OLPC program allows student and teachers in isolated rural areas to be connected to schools throughout Peru and has been shown to improve and increase literacy rates among participating schools. There is also proof that the XO laptops have motivated students and teachers to learn, to do research and to innovate where they otherwise would not have had the chance.
According to Mr. Becerra, the most successful aspects of the program was the planning phase, which included logistics and reliability planning, and the overall success of the program implementation. He explained that “the most beneficial planning processes were those related to tutor (teacher trainers) sections, training and the documentation of material planning (Becerra 2008)”. Early in the project development phase the government realized it would be impossible to closely support teachers in the remote areas chosen and at the massive levels decided. They knew it will be necessary for any project to “grow alone”. They planned a one week (40 hours) workshop that they decided should be all-inclusive and complemented it with a XO user’s guide which they published. It also became evident that Internet connectivity for all schools was out of our reach, both technically and financially, so they also planned for that limitation. The process ended with the development of an application named “portable Internet” residing in an USB key containing a navigable subset of selected educational portals and applications so children and teachers would be able to surf the net asynchronously and update their “reservoir of information” periodically when teachers go to the connected towns to get their paychecks.
The other notable achievement that the OLPC program made was the astounding increase in children’s literacy in Arahuay. When the OLPC was first implemented, the Ministry of Education assessed all second grade children using the national reading comprehension assessment. The results showed that 0% of the children were literate to grade level. After using the XO computer for 5 months, the Ministry reassessed the second grade students using the same test and found that 27% of these students were now literate to grade level compared to the national average of 15%. This is truly an amazing success. In the future, the Ministry hopes to be able to give the teachers worksheets and ideas for specific projects to work on. For now, it is just a pleasure to see the advances already.
Mr. Becerra acknowledged that the logistics plan of the program evolved into a bureaucracy nightmare. With thousands of schools nationwide and limited transportation facilities, selecting reliable transporters by the Ministry of Education was not easy. There was no certainty in guaranteeing adequate services, so the Ministry choose vendors according to their legal regulations of choosing the most cost effective offerings. To compensate the lack of reliable service, the Ministry has made arrangements with an international organization, the Organization of Ibero American States, to react more flexibly to this deployment problem.
According to Nicolas Negroponte, technical support was a serious consideration and they were aware that maintenance could become problematic (2007). Even though students would be able to repair most of the basic problems, there are limited extra parts to use for replacements. For every 100 units that have been purchased, Peru has only bought one extra unit for parts. The Ministry is evaluating the opening of regional support centers, established in urban centered community colleges that offer technical careers.
The poorest people live in the most remote areas of the country. Electrical service is difficult to provide, and many times, when available, it is subject to frequent long hours and even days of blackouts. This may require other government efforts to supply reliable sources of energy for communities and schools to charge the XO laptops. The Ministry will also encourage the community to get involved in cabling and connectivity improvement to increase the amount of electrical outlets used to charge a greater number of laptops at one time.
The southern hemisphere is currently suffering from a lack of satellite coverage. There is simply no bandwidth available. Expanding Internet connections will take time to reach the most remote areas benefited by this program. This is detrimental to the original idea that Negroponte initially launched, which was to provide access to the Internet, without which the program is incomplete. The Ministry of Education has devised a temporary solution by providing a “portable Internet” through USB memory keys with a repertoire of resources to be used asynchronously.
People sometimes question the pedagogical validity of the program, stating that there are great challenges still to face in figuring out how to put 21st century technology to use. Children and adults don’t fully understand the computer’s capabilities. Reporter Geri Smith visited Luquia, Peru, and stated that many children may not know much about the Internet and probably think that it is something contained within the machine. For many, Internet access is the most important feature of these laptops and teachers are making the mistake of presenting the virtues of the laptops as such. OLPC designed the machine and its software to enable collaboration, exploration and experimentation. These are the reasons why many children, at present, enjoy using the math games, as well as sharing sound and video recordings. Children are being motivated not just to learn and research, but also to innovate, as stated by the president of the Education Commission, Pedro Santos. According to visiting MIT scientist, Edith Ackermann, some programs are still too complex for many children to use. For this reason, OLPC is currently involving more educational experts in creating and testing relevant applications for children.
A final concern is the ability of teachers to cope with profoundly disruptive technology. The Ministry of Education is unable to be with all 10,000 schools receiving computers. They trust that teachers will use pertinent criteria and leverage their skills to do more with the laptops. Although the government provides an initial 40-hour course, this may prove to be insufficient as educators may experience a need for continuous professional development in the use of technology. Timely access to computing resources is required in order to provide teachers access to the same tools that students are discovering. In order to improve this demand, the government is offering $150 grants to qualifying teachers towards the purchase of conventional laptops. As a consequence, only privileged teachers will gain access to a path of improvement. The great majority, who struggle to meet the demands of the grant, may eventually decide not to support the government efforts. To assist, the Ministry is also providing micro programs on TV, transmitted by the State TV Channel. Additionally, there is a team of support tutors and a Help Desk that can be reached by e-mail.
After talking with Oscar Becerra, Peru really seems to be a truly poor country. There is little to no electricity in many parts to the country, which poses a difficult task of how to get these areas connected to the Internet. It would take a tremendous amount of money and time to correct this problem, although it is something that is being worked on as we speak. As for now, the Ministry of Education is trying to implement the best possible plan. So far, it can be seen that the children have made great gains because of access to the XO computers. These children went from having few school supplies and opportunities, to having the chance to succeed in the future, all because of having a small computer to use at school and home. It is rewarding to learn about how easily children appreciate the chances they have been given and how this has increased their desire to learn. This is a success in itself. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
Bajak, F., The Associated Press report: Arahuay: Low-cost laptops giving Peru’s young a new life. BusinessWeek, Online reports: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_24/b4088048125608.htm, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_24/b4088048129327.htm Becerra O., ICT and Systemic Reform in Education: A Case Study Becerra O., The Starfish on the Beach: Why OLPC for the Poorest and Most Remote? and How?: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Presentations/May_2008_Country_Workshop Becerra O., Interview Ministry of Education Portal: http://www.huascaran.gob.pe/web/visitante/inicio OLPC Peru/Arahuay: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Peru/Arahuay OLPC, http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/peru/, News Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peru, Peru.
Classrooms for the Future - Pennsylvania's One-to-One Computing Initiative
- John Loeper
- Robert Seigfried
- Richard Rosenblum
Several years ago, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell grew concerned about competing in a global market that revolves increasingly around technology. In response he proposed a program that would immerse Pennsylvania schools in technology. This program is called Classrooms for the Future (CFF). Through CFF grants, schools are provided with laptop computers that would be used to create a one-to-one computing environment, meaning that each student has access to a computer that does not have to be shared with anyone else. Other equipment including LED projectors, interactive whiteboards and digital cameras are also included as part of this grant. Lastly, extensive professional development for all program participants is included in the grant as well. The number of computers and the money spent by the state on this project is notable. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, CFF funded technology will benefit more than 356,000 students through the use of 100,000 laptop computers by the end of this year. The 2008-09 budget provides $90 million for equipment and $20 million for professional development for teachers who use the equipment in their classrooms (PDE 2008). In the first two years of the program, 82,000 laptops and over 4000 interactive whiteboards were deployed in 257 schools. For the 2008 to 2009 school year, the program is slated to be expanded to 182 more high schools in 152 districts bringing the total to 543 schools in 453 districts. In addition, ongoing funding for equipment maintenance and professional development is being provided for the schools who received CFF grants during the first two years of the program.
The value and importance of Classrooms for the Future
Pennsylvania is known as a “rust belt state,” because many of its heavy industries like steel manufacturing have moved overseas leaving the State with diminished economic prospects. Technology firms providing high paying jobs may find Pennsylvania an attractive place to relocate to if the population has better technology skills. The goal of CFF is to reform schools and teaching by both infusing technology into students’ educations and also by providing training and support for teachers. As a result of this technology use in the classroom, students should be better prepared to compete in the high-tech global marketplace. According to Governor Rendell, Classrooms for the Future “ is making our high schools more engaging, vibrant places to learn but, just as importantly, it is helping to ensure that our students are primed for success beyond high school" (Nagel 2008).
The process or planning responsible for greatest success
According to Holly Jobe, the project manager for CFF, the program’s success involves two main areas: systemic adaptation and strong teamwork. In order to address systemic adaptation, an institution must identify how new technology implementations will fit into the existing setting and how it will be sustained. One example of this is that many CFF schools are evaluating the bell schedule, or considering a shift to block scheduling to allow for increased class time for more in depth uses of technology. Other schools explore how much time is given to teachers for lesson planning and collaboration with other teachers and administrators. Administrators, technology staff, and coaches need to think about how the system operates currently, and what can or should be adjusted. Teachers need to know what they can expect and they should be helped to understand as much as possible about the technology they will be expected to use. The second area addressed by Ms. Jobe has to do with team work and how crucial it is to the success of CFF. The team must include all stakeholders including maintenance people, librarians, parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and students. Teamwork is encouraged through the use of ”Flip the Switch” days. These are community celebrations at the school where community members, parents, school board officials, and other stakeholders are invited to come and see exactly what is being implemented in the school. At these events, teachers and administrators are celebrated for their willingness to take risks in adopting new technology. As a result, people who have been out of school for many years come away with a fresh context for classroom instruction with a heightened interest and excitement about the new ways of instruction they observed. Additional factors in planning that were beneficial to successful CFF implementation include thorough review all the resources available and consulting with individuals involved with other one-to-one programs like those implemented in Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, and Virginia. A final area addressed by Ms. Jobe that is crucial to program success is professional development which along with equipment, is funded as part of the CFF program. Professional development in the CFF program is addressed through a three-prong approach. The first prong involves funding for a half-time coach who is a certified teacher with classroom teaching experience. The coach supports teachers and students in their use of technology and also provides some technical support. The second prong involves teachers in 30 hours of online professional development, which was created by outside vendors and approved by the state. Finally, technology staff, support staff, and coaches attend “technology boot camp” to prepare them for actual implementation of the program.
The process or planning responsible for most serious problems
The CFF program has been remarkably free of serious problems. Ms. Jobe feels that this is due to solid planning and follow through. Adjustments in the program have also contributed to the absence of any serious problems. Some of these adjustments pertained to delivery methods used in the staff workshops for coaches, teachers, and technology staff. The result has been an increase in overall effectiveness of the workshops. Additionally, some teachers resisted the 30 hour training requirement because of contractual issues so a few exceptions were made in this area as well. Ultimately, administrative personnel have responsibility to determine training options. The only other major adjustment that Ms. Jobe would have made would be to have trained CFF school administrators first. This is key as the administrators are needed to support the program, the teachers, and any changes that may need to be made to make the CFF program a success.
When Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced the Classroom for the Future program in September, 2006 he framed it as a revolutionary program for education and economic reform. Pennsylvania would develop their high school students to be technically savvy and knowledgeable so that they could compete in the new century’s high tech economic environment. This is an ambitious program that will transform students and Pennsylvania as a whole. According to CFF project manager Holly Jobe, the success of the program is based upon two major factors. First, a systemic adaptation, meaning a complete adoption and embrace of the new technology with a willingness to radically change if necessary the way education is conducted. Secondly a concerted team effort is required by school personnel. Additionally, a strong emphasis is placed upon professional development for coaches and other team members.
2008-09 Education Budget Facts. USA. Pennsylvania Department of Education. Budget. Education Hub. Pennsylvania Department of Education. <http://http://www.edportal.ed.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objid=365&parentname=communitypage&parentid=12&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true>.
Nagel, D., (2008) Pennsylvania expands Classrooms for the Future to 543 high schools. T.H.E. Journal.com, August, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008 from http://www.thejournal.com/articles/23046
Maine, Learning Technology Initiative
Adriane Barton Naime Kelekci Miro Liwosz
„…Last summer, a truck arrived at Freeport Middle School in Freeport, Maine, and unloaded more than 130 laptops…” (Lunt, 2004)
Introduction to Maine, Learning Technology Initiative(MLTI)
The Maine Learning Technology Initiative began with a vision to prepare students in Maine for a rapidly changing world. Governor Angus King, who was Maine’s governor at the time when this initiative was just beginning, recalled a conversation that he had with Seymour Papert in which they discussed how to transform education. Seymour Papert convinced Governor King that a major education transformation could only happen if students and teachers worked with technology on a one to one basis and that any other kind of ratio would not produce the transformation that everyone wanted. In early 2000, funding granted by the state enabled administrators to provide laptops to all middle school teachers and students as a personal learning device.
In June of 2000 a joint task force was put together in order to discuss the issues of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative and to figure out how it will progress in years to come. The task force issued the recommendation that Maine will issue all seventh and eighth grade students and teachers their own personal learning device. By the beginning of the 2003-2004 school years, every middle school students and teachers in Maine’s two- hundred and thirty-nine middle schools, about thirty-seven thousand people in all had their own personal laptop. In July of 2007 the Maine, Learning Technology Initiative expanded to high school students and teachers. Maine has become the first U.S. state to implement one to one computing.
Despite the excitement of this initiative, there were many challenges that went along with. Many stakeholders in Maine did not support delivering this kind of technology to middle school students. Some stakeholders saw this initiative as useless and claimed that the money could be better used elsewhere. Other stakeholders warned that students might destroy or steal the equipment. The project's growing success has won over many former skeptics; parents and community members have begun to demonstrate a positive change in attitude toward the initiative. Research has shown so far that students receiving laptops through MLTI have a much more positive attitude towards school compared to those individuals who are not provided laptops. According to MLTI mid-year evaluation report (2003), teachers reported following changes in students behaviors.
- • Increased class participation.
- • Increased interaction with teacher.
- • Increased interaction with students.
- • Increased class participation.
- • Increased attendance.
- • Increased motivation.
- • Increased engagement.
- • Increased work independently.
Value and Importance of MLTI
The value and importance of this initiative is the access to technology. Every student and teacher is provided an Apple iBook with Internet access, email, CD-ROM and a lot of software. During the program's second year, school librarians were also equipped with laptops, and they now provide teachers with literacy staff development. Apple has worked with the Maine Department of Education and MLTI staff to install wireless connectivity. Besides that, Apple created a sophisticated hardware management system to record and track equipment. The hardware management system helped support people for repairing and replacing malfunctioning or damaged hardware. Apple also provided annual workshops for technology coordinators in Maine's middle schools.
This initiative has had a powerful effect on middle school students and teachers. For example, one academically disengaged student who never completed assignments started actively conducting project research and regularly submitting written work. A student at Charlotte Elementary School, who was nearly illiterate and classified as a special education student who never participated in class, produced an incredible iMovie telling the story of a bomber run in World War II. The value and importance of this initiative is clear. This wonderful initiative reaches all types of learners. Students who may not enjoy school are now excited to learn and are actively engaged to learn. MLTI is providing students with new and innovative techniques for their learning. MLTI’s primary learning goal for students is not to improve students' technology skills but rather to engage students in meaningful work and encourage them to take charge of their own learning. MLTI combines the use of technology with four important instructional practices to enhance student learning—assessment for learning, place-based learning, project-based learning, and online research.
Assessment for learning stresses that in order to succeed; teachers need to learn how to use assessment to guide instruction, not just to measure what students have learned. In addition, students must gain an understanding of the learning goals, be able to evaluate high-quality work, and provide evidence that their own learning meets high standards. Place-based learning refers to the traditional classroom environment which is depending on place and time strains. However, technology works in junction with place-based learning. Technology removes the classroom walls and opens up possibilities for connecting students to their communities in meaningful and engaging ways. In order to obtain such learning, MLTI has worked with various state and community agencies to develop ways for students to actively engage in real-world problem solving and community-based projects. Project-based learning enables educators to address multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles while giving students more choices and applying their learning. In Maine, students are using multimedia to create presentations, Web pages, and movies to illustrate their knowledge. In online research, MLTI provides access to information databases, such as EBSCO, for all students and educators. One of the program's top priorities is to make students effective and responsible consumers of information. Rather than using the Internet as one big answer key, students learn how to apply information they find to enhance their projects.
The process or planning responsible for greatest success
Planning professional development, having iTeams at schools brought the biggest success to the state of Maine. Betty Manchester is director of MLTI. Her responsibility in MLTI is staff development and content directing. Teacher training through professional development was the key for the successful implementation. There are positions defined by state in order to integrate the laptop technology in curricula successfully (MERI, 2003 and 2004, Silvernail, Lane, 2004). In addition to regular teaching responsibility, some teachers had the following responsibilities.
- • RIM (Regional Integration Mentors, RIM) helped to develop practices and procedure for laptop use within the school.
- • Teacher Leaders and Technology coordinators serve as contact and support personnel for the classroom teachers in the building where they teach.
- • Content mentors are specialists and statewide leaders in specific content areas such as mathematics, science, language arts and social studies.
- • Content leaders are content specialists within each of the nine superintendent regions in Maine. They, along with the RIMs and teacher leaders within each region, serve as resources to help organize, establish, and maintain the MLTI professional development network within each region and the state.
Silvernail and Lane (2004) asserted that there is a positive relationship between participation in professional development programs and using laptops in teaching. For instance, teachers attended four or more professional development activities laptop use levels range from 6% to 15%. The teachers who did not attend the professional development activities integrate laptops into their subject area less. A majority of teachers felt that they were supported in acquiring skills in terms of developing technical and pedagogical skill; however, the time needed to acquire these skills is very limited.
In order to solve the biggest obstacle, “technical support”, administrators created student support groups called iTeam. Student volunteers or student helpers were the first line of support in some classrooms. They had training to deal with use of various applications and basic troubleshooting techniques. Teacher and other students have relied on them for solving minor technical problems. By doing so, teachers became less frustrated at the classroom level, and iTeams enhanced ability of both teachers and students to continue lessons with minor interruptions when problems occur.
The process or planning responsible for most serious problems
Teachers thought there was potential for using the laptops and technology. However they felt that technical problems and lack of technical support sometimes limits those potentials. In addition, teachers felt they needed more time and professional development for this to occur. This included time to explore and learn how to use the technology, and the professional development activities designed to help them integrate the technology more extensively in their curriculum development and instruction (MERI, 2003).
The lack of technical support on a regular basis hindered the effective use of the laptop technology. Some of the teachers surveyed in 2004 reported that technology coordinators were helpful but not always accessible. According to 2003 data, none of the Maine schools had an in-house professional. Two thirds of the technology coordinators added that there were adequate resources allocated in their district for technology support. In most cases, technology coordinators had other responsibilities in their school district, in addition to being MLTI technology coordinator. All in all, iTeams were the most reliable solution to technical support problem.
Teachers stated that without projectors, networked printers, software and other supportive technology, they were unable to successfully integrate the laptops into the existing curriculum (MERI, 2003). Slow internet connections and difficulty charging laptops sometimes had an impact on teachers work. For instance Susan, a seventh grade science teacher from Hillside Middle School, stated that she changed her daily classroom activities according to Internet speed. The Internet was fast in the morning hours (Garthwait, Weller, 2005).
Most of the teachers got used to PC platform rather than Mac. Existing PC culture didn’t support the Apple laptops in Maine. Entirely, different cultures, routines, and values of computer platforms had an impact on effectiveness of the laptops. Using different platforms also had an effect on the network infrastructure of schools. For instance, Buckfield Senior/Junior High School used PC platform with Novell network which is not so compatible with iBooks. Therefore iBooks and their wireless network and school’s main network worked independently (Trotter, 2004)
One of the biggest problems for MLTI is the take-home policy (MERI, 2003). The laptops were covered on the schools existing insurance as long as they were on school property. However, if students were allowed to take home, they will remain uninsured. According to MERI (2003), The Maine School Management Association (MMSA) contracted with the Fireman’s Fund property and casual trust insurance company to offer insurance on the laptops outside of school. As of the end of February, 2003 only 23 schools picked up the additional insurance. Another barrier to adopt take home policy is providing filtered Internet access at home.
Not giving out the laptops hindered most of the teachers’ instructional design. Seventh grade Science teacher Susan limited class assignments and projects for the students that could be finished during the school day (Gartwait and Weller, 2005) On the other hand, teachers and students concur it is unsatisfying and unproductive when “anytime, anywhere” learning ends at 2:20 pm at the schoolhouse door(Trotter, 2005). However, more than half of the school districts have allowed students to take the laptops home.
Interview with Bette Manchester
During the interview, Bette Manchester answered the following questions:
1. What were the major challenges you faced when you first assumed leadership of MLTI and how did you address these challenges?
Bette’s answer was that her anticipation was that people will “LISTEN” to her. It was difficult for people to understand some of the complexities of schools. It was a challenge to form groups to form teams.
Bette said: “The piece that was most startling for me was that I had lost my voice at the beginning of the project”.
“I sometimes felt that the train was going and I was still at the station”.
2. How did you address MLTI challenges?
Bette tried to learn as fast as she could from everyone who has been involved in a large scale projects. She had organized a design team to representing the best work in Maine, with all educational roles represented. Bette worked with that team to build more coherent sense of what needed to go on in Maine.
Bette said: “My voice becomes stronger as I help other people find their voice”
All ready all in one laptop initiative has resulted in a significant transformation of teaching and learning in Maine. Students had become more interested in learning. Their attitude had also changed. Reports indicated that students missed less classes and there were less disciplinary problems in classrooms.
Lunt, J. (2004, July). MLTI Transforms Teaching and Learning at FreeportMiddle School. T H E Journal, 31(12), 18-19. Retrieved October 4, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
MLTI Resources: http://mcmel-resources.wikispaces.com/MLTI
Maine Learning Technology Initiative Presentation - PDF without video clips (28.3 MB)
Maine Learning Technology Initiative Presentation - PDF - 4 Slides to a Page handout (3.9 MB)
Maine Learning Technology Initiative Workshop Handout - PDF (108 KB)
Trotter, A. (2004). Digital Balancing Act. Education Week.
The Maine Learning Technology Initiative: Teacher, Student and School Perspectives Midyear Evaluation. (March, 2003). Maine Education Policy Research Institute.
Silvernaile, D. L., Lane, D. M. M. (February, 2004). The Impact of Maine's one to one Laptop Program on Middle School Teachers and Stuudents. Maine Education Policy Research Institute, University of Southern Maine Office.
Garthwait, A. Weller, H. G. (2005). Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 37(4).
San Diego City Schools (SDCS) Technology Plan 2005-2010
- Michelle Suranofsky
- Michael Cavallaro
- Alexander Rolón
- David Lugo
Writing and implementing a technology plan for the eighth largest urban school district in the country is at best a daunting task. The school district serves over 138,000 K-12 students within 187 sites. Projects are bigger, more expensive, and harder to maintain than what we would find in many school districts. In a district of this size, even a small miscue could easily turn into a disaster. The planning that must go into these projects is crucial to their success. The process of planning, however, is not much different than any district would follow. A structured approach to the development of the plan is of utmost importance. This case study will take a closer look into the plan and the planning process that San Diego City Schools used to ensure their success.
The city of San Diego is a very diverse location. Located close to the Mexican border, and on the west coast of the country, the district has a large population of both Hispanic and Asian students, with Hispanic being the majority in the district. Over 15 ethnic groups and 60 languages and dialects can be found while walking the halls of the district schools. In a general breakdown, the student population can be classified as follows:
As with many long range Technology Plans, this plan serves as a guide for from 2005 through 2010. The district included key stakeholders in the planning process to help ensure the plan would meet the needs of all parties involved. In an additional effort to develop a strong plan, it is evident that the district dedicated considerable resources to evaluating the current status of technology in the district. Charts detailing how the technology is used such as percentages for classroom instruction, classroom management, and the use of tools by content area all help the planners get an accurate illustration of how the technology is currently used in the district.
The technology plan began with two major foundation pieces:
- Recommendations of the educational technology teachers who work directly with site teachers
- Existing research and lessons learns by school districts who previously implemented technology plans
This information would serve as the basis for the plan; however it takes a village as they say. Research and teacher recommendations were only the beginning. This information would be thoroughly vetted, expanded upon and built into a living document by a large committee consisting of critical stakeholders including ed. tech., business, maintenance and operations staff. In addition the planning committee also received input from students, parents, teachers, site representatives, administrative staff and community members.
Goals for the technology plan were established in two aspects: learning goals and professional development goals.
Based on research proving that technology implemented within a curriculum provides the greatest results when implemented at the middle school level, many of the learning goals focused on the those grades levels. Those goals included:
- Improve computer skills (grades 5-8) as they relate to research, communication and presentation of projects.
- Provide the technology needed to allow students access to “rich content resources” as need to meet academic standards.
- Improve reading, writing and mathematical skills for those students who have not reached grade-level standards using software and online tools.
- Use software and online learning tools to assist English Language Learner students
- Improve information and technology literacy skills middle school students.
- Use computer hardware and software to meet the needs of Special Education Students based on their individual learning needs.
Professional Development Goals:
Professional development planning was based on a needs assessment which included surveys given to teachers and administrative staff. Based on a survey completed by 77% of teachers, less than one third of respondents rated themselves as proficient in general computer skills. Slightly over half of teachers that completed the survey felt they were “somewhat prepared” to use technology (computers/internet) in the classroom and almost 60% of the respondents indicated a need for training on integrating technology into the curriculum. At the administrative level 40% of those that completed the survey rated themselves as proficient in general computer skills. Goals for professional development included:
- Training staff on the usage of new software applications. Training was accomplished using onsite workshops. In addition online support materials were provided for many of the software applications.
- Training on general computer skills, word processing, spreadsheet programs and the Internet was provided via online tutorials.
- Integrating technology in the classroom training.
- Integrating technology into the classroom for new teachers by providing trained peer/coach teachers as a resource.
- Training for technology usage in their newly built facilities.
- Continued technology training provided during professional development days.
- Financial incentives for teachers who pursue certifications including technology offerings.
- Partnerships with local colleges.
Phone interview with Doug McIntosh from the San Diego SD
What planning process(es) were most beneficial to produce the success that your project is experiencing and why?
There are three main plans that have led to the success of the school district. They are known as the three “S”. Each section correlates and builds upon each other.
- Support- Provide schools with a supply chain (technology personnel, hardware, software). Provide professional development for teachers. The amount spent on professional development is equal to the amount spent on hardware and software.
- Scale- There are over one hundred and thirty five thousand students and eight thousand teachers. For an effective educational technology program, we have to scale projects on a district wide level. Currently there is a laptop for every four students. The goal is to get the ratio under four to one. The way to scale up is with support from the supply chain. There is an impact on teaching and learning and integration of technology into curriculums. This must be done on a district wide setting.
- Sustaining- This is the “holy grail” for a successful educational technology plan. If there is a lined item in the school district’s budget to incorporate technology initiatives, then technology will be integrated in the schools. In this section, we have to take the program beyond the pilot phase. Along with scaling, the project must work throughout the entire district. An example is having a $1300 laptop. This is difficult to support and scale due to the price of buying in mass and in the event of damages. This will not be sustained in the budget. As a result, we must look for “Linux type” laptops that are considerably cheaper and more effective to support, scale and sustain.
What planning process(es) failed to produce the results you had hoped and why?
When you don’t get full support from administrators, teachers and the community the results are negative. Furthermore, you do not want pockets of success. You want full scale (district wide) success. Also, when there is a failure on the system to come together, the three “S” do not interconnect, there is no success.
Additional Information- The school district is recognizing that 21st century learners will need new technologies to have effective and engaged learning. One needs to do new things in old ways, integrating technologies that support pedagogical instruction (project-based learning and constructivism). San Diego has an initiative to have a 1 to 1 laptop program. There are an estimate eight thousand classrooms, the goal is to have eight thousand interactive classrooms.
This case study has provided us with insight into how one of the most successful educational technology plans operates. San Diego Unified School District is one of the nation’s largest and diverse school districts. It has created a technology plan that engages students, faculty, and the community. SDUSD can be used as a model school district that provides the building blocks for a thriving educational technology program.
Partnership for Higher Education in Africa Educational Technology Initiative (PHEA ETI)
The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa Educational Technology Initiative (PHEA ETI) is an e-Learning program whose purpose is to make effective use of educational technology to explore and demonstrate the ways in which it can contribute to addressing teaching and learning challenges, while also addressing some of the underlying educational challenges that face higher education in Africa. The PHEA initiative is an attempt to build on the numerous past e-learning activities and investigations that have been conducted in Africa and present it through a rational and coordinated approach.
The program focuses on capacity development to initiate and sustain effective educational technology projects that have an impact on the nature and quality of student learning experiences and outcomes. The initiative also focuses on knowledge creation and dissemination across and between partner universities located in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda on the use of educational technology.
As part of its mandate, the PHEA commissioned a group of individuals, with backgrounds ranging from educational technology to higher education teaching, to develop a conceptual framework that will provide the PHEA with strategies for support as well as grant making for projects and proposals. These specific projects and proposals will utilize educational technology to address specific challenges and contribute to improving the quality of learning and teaching in higher education institutions, particularly within the partnership countries.
Value and Importance
The three primary strategic objectives of the PHEA Educational Technology Initiative are A) to support teaching and learning initiatives that integrate educational technology; B) to enable institutional systems to work at supporting teaching and learning more directly; and C) to research and report on educational technology activity in African universities through a long-term project. Each of these priorities are key components of an integrated strategy to aid in improving the use of educational technology across the partner universities, representing a long-term program of action for employing technology to support higher education delivery in African institutions.
The project is divided into two Parts. Part A, which formally started on July, 2008 and finalized September, 2009, focused on delivering a model for engaging institutions in the development of effective, integrated Educational Technology Plans. Part B, which was introduced on a limited basis in August, 2009, will entail producing seven comprehensive Educational Technology Plans through partnerships with the following Universities: Catholic University of Mozambique (UCM); Kenyatta University, Kenya (KU); Makerere University, Uganda (MAK); University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania (UDSM); University of Education, Winneba, Ghana (UEW); University of Ibadan, Nigeria (UI); and University of Jos, Nigeria (UJ).
A key component of the project is the network of researchers that was established across participating institutions in support of a coordinated research program. This program comprises local-level research activities developed within the scope of an overarching set of programmatic questions.
As per an interview with a member of the PHEA ETI team and through supporting documentation provided by that team member, in this case a detailed interim evaluation (2009), the emerging and continuing challenges (and successes) of the project were highlighted. The original line of questioning "From your perspective, what were the educational goals of the project, and how was professional development planned to help address those goals?", and "From your perspective, to what degree was the professional development successful, and what do you think accounted for the degree of success (and what accounted for unexpected challenges)?" did not neatly apply to this particular project because A) the Part A planning process had just been completed; B) the findings had not yet been made public; C) project recommendations for Part B had not yet been implemented; and D) the team member decided that an explanation of the project was not adequately served through the line of questioning. Instead, these challenges were expressed in the interview through an explanation of the team member's interactions with the seven partner universities and within the context of the seven areas of challenge that were identified, as further outlined in the interim report:
- A. Time and Communication
- It was discovered that establishing and maintaining working relationships with universities is time-consuming. This is attributable to many factors, not all of which could possibly be accounted-for at the outset of the project. Although this was not unexpected, the consequence of setting a timeline lies in falsely creating high expectations about the speed with which project objectives can be achieved. Factors that influenced the timeline ranged from perceived priority issues when communicating exclusively via phone and email (these communications tended to ‘fall through the cracks’); communication protocols and identifying proper project contacts at each institution; budgetary issues limiting in-person meetings, which are highly effective in accelerating project progress; and time burdens (conflicting schedules, other work priorities) on key project team members at individual institutions that has significantly slowed project progress.
- B. Personal and Departmental Agendas
- The universities participating in the ETI are complex political entities, driven by often competing priorities and interests at both an individual and departmental level. A careful study and understanding of these priorities was essential to avoid institutional politics from undermining efforts, and it was important to build relationships of trust within the institution that tempered perceptions that the program served the agenda of individuals or departments, particularly within resource-scarce environments.
- C. Unpredictable events related to project design and timing
- Over the lifetime of Part A, there were unpredictable events that required flexibility in order to adapt. Key to this during the design phase was keeping expectations of what will be delivered realistic and modest, rather than overloading the project designs with highly ambitious objectives. It was better to achieve more than initially planned than to be forced to pull back and thereby create a sense of failure due to project designs that were overly ambitious. Also key to this was ensuring that timeframes were kept tight, but with space to absorb unexpected delays.
- D. Rigid hierarchies and problems in communication and implementation
- Rigid hierarchies within the study institutions could often be a serious problem from an implementation standpoint, and when combined with demands on time, led to cumulative delays. Obtaining permissions for communication up the chain of command contributed to the biggest challenges, and because of this any loss of momentum made it difficult to manage budgets within the project timeframes. In-depth knowledge of permissions and procurement procedures is the key to avoiding potential delays by accelerating the securing of necessary permissions for crucial tasks.
- E. Educational technology marginalized within institutions
- Educational technology units are sometimes integrated into higher-order management, but most often are marginalized and isolated within the institutional hierarchy. Additionally, while the commitment of senior-level management exists in principle, it is not necessarily reflected in practice. Because of this, one of the future key objectives of the Part B PHEA ETI will be in strengthening the profile of educational technology within the institutional decision-making structure.
- F. Capacity development
- There is a strong need within the institutions to develop the capacity to implement and maintain systems, both technically and pedagogically. This may include, but is not limited to, technical staff to maintain the systems as well as staff to develop and effectively deliver the curriculum. Within the context of Part A of the PHEA ETI, the most glaring gap has been the inability of participants to design and deliver projects that have clearly defined deliverables, acknowledge institutional priorities, and are mindful of budgetary issues. Without proper management of these key components, the Part B projects will not be able to function efficiently and effectively.
- G. Lack of infrastructure
- The target institutions were all identified for their established infrastructure, but they are facing serious gaps and limitations. These problems range from limited student access to computers, to an aging infrastructure with often expensive and unreliable internet connectivity, to limited opportunities for professional development. The initiative focused specifically on investing in educational technology that could have an immediate impact and be scaled up and sustained within existing infrastructure constraints, rather than on unsustainable (although perhaps highly effective) educational technology models that ultimately reinforce deficit thinking among the institutions as ultimately unattainable ideals.
The interviewee expressed that the PHEA ETI team is thus far pleased with the progress that has been made throughout the Part A portion of the project, and is enthusiastic about the project proposals for Part B. In light of this, it is important to note that this enthusiasm is tempered by the knowledge that educational technology, with a few notable exceptions, remains a low-level priority on most campuses, and the capacity to implement these projects is minimal both in terms of technology and personnel. Strong support, management and professional development will be required over the next three years of the project to develop the institutional capacity, raise the profile of educational technology, and sustain momentum towards the defined project goals.
- PHEA ETI, , accessed September 29, 2009
- Interim Progress Report, April, 2009. , accessed September 29, 2009
Duke's Digital Initiative - Using iPods to Improve Freshman Writing Skills
William A. Brichta
In the fall of 2005, all incoming freshmen at Duke University were provided with iPods upon arrival with the intent to facilitate strategic academic gains using the new technology. Students were of course permitted to use the iPods for any other personal entertainment such as iTunes, but the gift of new iPods ensured buy-in from the undergrads for new academic initiatives. One such creative project was co-authored by Dr. Julie Reynolds, Mellon Lecturer in Writing and Biology, who envisioned using the iPods to provide audio feedback from instructors and peer students rather than written feedback in a first year Writing Skills class. Dr. Reynolds wondered if this type of feedback might result in greater efficacy for building higher order writing skills. That is, would the audio feedback stimulate the kind of critical thinking from students that resulted in better writing construction, rather than simple corrections of grammar that typically came about when written feedback alone was provided. Would those students learn faster on multiple levels? Because it was important to measure any gains, three peer groups were established without using the iPod audio feedback (control group) while three different peer groups were created exclusively using the audio feedback files.
Value and Importance
Three main educational goals were to be examined.
1. Did it make a difference? Simply put, did the audio feedback advance those students further and faster than the control group?
2. Were higher order writing skills surfacing as a result of the audio feedback? Were these students resisiting the urge to just want to correct mistakes without thinking beyond that limit, or did the quality of writing improve beyond just grammar edits?
3. Pedagogically, did the writing move toward ideas? Were the students challenging themselves in an increased way as a result of the audio suggestions from other peer students as well as the instructor?
If these gains could be demonstrated and proven, then the use of the iPod for writing feedback would enhance the learning experience. This type of success could then be replicated by any college or university that taught a first year Writing Skills class, and that includes just about every institution. Additionally, there could be the added outcome that students needed to spend less time to achieve the same or greater quality in writing, which would be significant.
Planning Process resulting in greatest success
Interestingly enough, there was careful planning prior to the formal start of class including training for both instructors and students (no assumptions were made that the iPod use would be intuitive), and handouts with instructions were delivered by Duke's Center for Information Technology (CIT) Help-Desk. Additionally, CIT and the project leaders recognized that the quality of microphones in laptops would not be adequate and suggested to students that they purchase an $11 microphone prior to the start of class. They also proactively modeled the kind of peer feedback that would be constructive and held in-class workshops on how to conduct a peer review. They coached proper tone of voice, providing reaction rather than criticism to what was submitted, and remaining objective in these workshops. As a result, the peer audio feedback was helpful and not hurtful (a potential risk). They also decided upfront that if any student felt negatively about participation in the project group, that they would allow that student to opt out and return to written feedback via the control group. In fact, only one student came forward with that request.
Planning Process responsible for any problems
While the iPods themselves performed well, one key unanticipated issue was that the students initially did not like using audio feedback. That was primarily because many felt they needed to first listen to the audio feedback, transcribe the comments, then review the material to make edits. This introduced more work into the process for them, which they noted rather quickly and vocally. It took a while before they gained the knack of listening to the feedback and editing naturally on the fly. The planning had not forseen this due in part because there had been no actual testing of the mechanics of a student reacting to an audio feedback file. This temporary shortfall did however result in a positive outcome as Dr. Reynolds explored other possibilites to enhance the process and eventually migrated to Jing. Jing is similar in some respects to Camtasia and is open source software. Students in the next phase would actually see a page of their submitted assignment via Jing video while the audio feedback played comments and writing occurred on the image page itself. That was powerful at multiple levels and most importantly did not require the student to first transcribe the comments on a notepad, saving the false extra step that they had unwittingly introduced.
Surveys were conducted to solicit reaction from the students at the conclusion of the writing class. Because the use of iPods in the first year provided mulitple sensory inputs for feedback, the result was definitely positive and the project was a success. The audio feedback was shown to develop greater higher order thinking in the students and propel them toward ideas in their writing, while the written feedback alone (the control group) stayed more concrete in nature. The addition of Jing open source software after the first year aided even more so with providing constructive feedback at mulitple levels. A discussion board in Blackboard helped to track some of these changes as they evolved in the first year course, and also assisted in mechanical details such as what to do if your file sizes are too big. The Duke CIT Help-Desk functioned as another resource for any student questions about files or any other first-time difficulties. The result of the initiative was that all three of the above educational goals were met. The gains were noticeable and the learning skills were attained more rapidly using the audio comments.
Julie Reynolds and Vicki Russell co-authored a paper describing their results with this project titled "Can you hear us now - Research on students using iPods" at http://cit.duke.edu/ideas/projects/category/tools/digitalmedia/ipod
To further examine the use of Jing software in a Writing Skills class, refer to http://edublog.techsmith.com/2009/07/duke-university-students-use-jing-for-peer-review.html
Perhaps the most impressive outcome from this project was that Dr. Reynolds did not simply repeat the iPod use the same way in the following year, but took the step of improving an already great idea by adding the Jing visual element. The use of formative evaluation as the project started, along with summative evaluations in the summary feedback data at the end, aided in shaping continual improvements for the next phase of the project.
Reynolds, J. and Russell, V., Can you hear us now? Research on students using iPods. Retrieved October 22, 2009 from http://cit.duke.edu/ideas/projects/category/tools/digitalmedia/ipod/
McCollom, D., Duke students use Jing for Peer Review. Education Community Blog. Retrieved October 23, 2009 from http://edublog.techsmith.com/2009/07/duke-university-students-use-jing-for-peer-review.html
Technology Library at the Greater Newark Conservancy
The Greater Newark Conservancy is a nonprofit agency centered in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Income levels in this community are very low, and access to technology has been historically limited. In 1995, an ambitious project was begun to provide an "urban environmental education resource center" for the community. Their mission was to create equitable access to green and recreation spaces to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent chronic diseases and increase the well-being of inner city dwellers, especially children. The founder had a vision of creating a center for horticultural knowledge involving: a green building site, a technology library with an exterior hands-on learning area for horticultural projects; and surrounding gardens that would beautify the city. Schools could come to the site for field trips, view demonstrations at the center, university scholars could conduct research, and townspeople could get their hands dirty in an actual garden. The founder firmly believed that if people could begin to take pride in the appearance of their neighborhood, they would be one step closer to uplifting themselves out of inner city existence. She also believed that people benefit from labor when they are building something they care about and take pride in. Her vision was that this center could provide residents with educational and technological services to raise their standard of living and improve the city one acre at a time.
The Action Plan
The project plan involved the purchase of a historic building, renovation of that building, and the purchase and installation of a computer library. Once the physical location was completed, the center would be used to conduct environmental classes and demonstrations for students, as well as the rest of the community.The conservancy solicited community support to clear empty lots and install beautiful community gardens.
As of 2010, the center is only partially open to the public. Exterior renovations have been completed and the site is in use for garden demonstrations, but the interior of the main building has yet to be renovated. It may not be appropriate to call this project a failure, but after fifteen years, sufficient funds have still not been raised to open the center as initially planned. A desktop computer library, while cutting edge in 1995, may no longer be appropriate in the face of one to one laptop initiatives and widespread home internet access. However, community members could still benefit from this type of educational resource center in a picturesque setting.
Limitations and Challenges
The biggest obstacle to success for this project was funding. As a nonprofit agency, the Greater Newark Conservancy is completely reliant on donations from individuals and organizations, as well as grants from governmental agencies. There is no assigned, departmental budget that can be relied upon, and the effects of recent economic turmoil are readily apparent in the lack of completion of this project. In addition to economic challenges, benefactor confidence may have been undermined by an abrupt change in leadership that occurred in Summer of 2000.
The organization appears to have underestimated the urgency of opening while the project was still innovative. Other projects run by other organizations were competing for the same funds and the conservancy's major competitor, US Green Building Council has gone on to build a veritable empire. The conservancy also lacked sufficient technical people on the board of directors. The founder solicited support from people who had the money for this type of venture instead of those who had the skills to make it happen. The board also consisted of too many people from out of town who lacked investment in the project as problems unfolded.
The most impressive aspect of the planning for this project was the ability of the founder to see the connections between the various projects being undertaken by the Conservancy. In addition to synthesizing the programs together to increase relevancy and educational benefit, she was also able to secure additional funding by reaching out to organizations not directly related to the mission of the Conservancy. For example, when she needed a building, she knew she could seek funding educational endowments but to ensure that she had sufficient funding for the project, she deliberately sought a historic renovation site so that she could seek grant money from those endowments as well. In order to gather the man power needed to clear the lots and renovate the exterior of the building, she connected with other local agencies and members of the community. For example, by working with local nonprofit International Youth Organization (IYO), she combined the environmental mission of the Conservancy with the need for IYO to provide job training for the youth in its program. The educational programs provided by the Conservancy, both at the target site and at local schools drew in additional community members, including teachers, parents and students. By integrating programs with schools and other agencies, additional resources became available in the form of funding and volunteer manpower.
The technology library project of the Greater Newark Conservancy is an excellent example for both what can go right and what can go wrong for a technology project at a nonprofit agency. The initial vision was specific, concrete, and realistic. The founder successfully gathered support for her project by thinking outside the box and synthesizing and adapting the project to integrate with other organizations and sources of funding. Lessons learned from the indefinite delays in the completion of the project include getting the involvement of the right kind of people from the beginning, and doing everything that can be done to move the project forward and secure funding before the competition gets it first, the economy turns sour, or both. Modern Primate (talk)
Reference note: Information for above article came from personal communications from individuals closely involved in the project but who may wish to remain anonymous.