Defining Success in 1 to 1

If you can't learn, your leadership will be seriously impaired. If you can't set goals and measure progress towards them, holding yourself and others accountable, then you're setup for failure unless you have a self-motivated team that holds itself accountable for its own learning. And, finally, if you can't be social as a leader, you're destined for failure. Leadership is a contact sport.

This comes to mind as I observe school districts embarking on one to one programs. What's really neat is stumbling across off the record conversations in the midst of PR marketing the school district is pushing. You know something like this:

"How's it all working for your 1 to 1 deployment?"
"Yeah, it going great!" then the pregnant pause. "We've had to monitor and adjust."

When you run into those "monitor and adjust" type of comments, you may do what I do--lean in and say, "Tell me all about it." For me, a real deployment or implementation begins at the point you discover that your plan has failed in some way.
"When you take all the friction out of the experience, it stops being fun."
--Gamification, the New Loyalty (language warning)
That's what makes this conversation that Rusty Meyners quotes via G+ so much fun to analyze, right?
“I think it’s important that you define the goals for 1:1 early in the process of establishing the initiative,” Morris explained.“.. outcomes should be defined, and they must be measured,”
“I agree completely that BYOD can increase the digital gap,” Morris responded. “Or it can force all users to the lowest common denominator.”“Good point,” tweeted Pierce. “Schools should have devices for kids who don’t have their own… and use web resources that aren’t platform dependent.”

“We have 1st hand experience with 1:1 comparing 1 year of laptop (Mac) and 1 year of iPads,” tweeted @vANguyenC17.“All three 3rd grade teachers strongly favor going back to Macbooks.”“Interesting,” Pierce responded. “Was that [because] they had more capabilities?”“Laptops allow much more productivity and creating; iPads are limited in apps’ ability to create, limited features in Word,”@vANguyenC17 wrote.
As you can see from the conversation, there are some important elements in the observations and assertions above. Let's review them:

1) Content we create to use with during 1 to 1 needs to be platform agnostic.
2) Define outcomes and measure progress towards those.
3) Find tools that allow for more productivity and creating (e.g. Macbook laptops) rather than limit students (e.g. iPads).

Don't you think it would be worth meditating on these a bit more?

1) Content we create to use during 1 to 1 needs to be platform agnostic.
During the Flipped Classroom webinar, I made a similar point--flipped classroom content needs to be platform agnostic because our kids are going to access your video/audio content on a variety of computers. Google's vision of a cloud-centered world--with all the security concerns and issues that suggests--calls out to us, the truth is, it's not difficult to imagine making stuff that works on the most types of technology.

For example, when I consider this question--what file formats are platform agnostic--I realize that I limit myself. What if we're not discussing just file formats? What else is there? In the meantime, let's live within the limits.

What video formats work on multiple platforms?
  • Video - MP4, AVI are two popular video formats that work on just about every device out there. I'm able to view content in these formats on Android, iOS devices, Linux netbooks, Windows/Mac computers. (Although I thought that HTML5 video/audio would work on everything, it doesn't on iOS!)
  • Audio - MP3 is another popular format that seems to work just on about everything.
  • HTML - Put all your documents (MS Office, LibreOffice) in HTML.
  • ePub - A format for ebooks that works on about everything. 
What viewer/reader software do you need to have to get access to these formats?
  • Android
    • HTML - any web browser (although I prefer Opera)
    • Audio - any audio player
    • ePub - FBReader is my favorite.
    • Video - Depends.
  • iOS Devices
    • HTML - Safari, but Puffin browser works better with other content
    • Audio - iTunes
    • ePub - Stanza, iBook
    • Video - Depends
  • Laptops running Linux, Windows, Mac
    • HTML - Chrome, Firefox
    • Audio - an plethora of tools
    • ePub - FBReader or Sigil or iBook
    • Video - VLC Media Player but there are many others, too.
Still it seems silly to make these lists. We are approaching ubiquity of content access across platforms that proprietary solutions can't restrict. Perhaps a better question is the media delivery system that we use to get the content on these devices.

A media delivery system needs to be agnostic, as well. One of the key pieces of advice offered during a BYOD/T or 1 to 1 deployment is that you better be using something web-based, like GoogleApps for Education (GAFE), and/or Moodle course management system to make content easily accessible. You simply can't touch every machine students and staff are carrying around.

Other tools can also be used in combination like wikis and cloud storage solutions (e.g. Dropbox, SugarSync, come to mind). Each has its limits and figuring out the configuration of the tools is critical

What other questions to ask, and what responses to find?

2) Define outcomes and measure progress towards those.
When I first started as a director in edtech, one of the first things I did was develop a who will do what by when plan. You may remember these monolithic documents more traditionally as a Goal, Strategies, Objectives, Time Frame, Person(s) Responsible document in the form of campus/district improvement plans.

Assess­ment is always an impor­tant topic for edu­ca­tors. Those one-to-one schools that have focused on truly chang­ing teach­ing and learn­ing also need to think about address­ing assess­ment dif­fer­ently. When stu­dents have access to unlim­ited infor­ma­tion with the click of the but­ton, edu­ca­tors are forced to con­sider new ways to address assessment. (Source: Nick Sauers, Rethinking Exams)

These litter the school district sites, and I honestly wonder if the real benefit of these is their development, rather than their implementation. The time we spend in conversation, planning, reflection about goals, strategies, objectives provides the value of these experiences rather than the actual plan itself.

How do you measure outcomes and measure progress towards those? Consider something Barbara Bray shared:
The teacher is a co-learner with their students and not the sole expert of the content and/or technology any more. No one can be. The world is a different place with Google. You can google any term or phrase. The problem now is for students to know what is authentic and valid and how to think critically on their own. Teachers have to reinvent what teaching is. The school needs to support their experimenting and risk-taking. The teacher is more of a practicing researcher with real people. Each student brings something interesting and special to the class. Now they are bringing their own device.
How are you rethinking those outcomes and progress monitoring approaches? Would something like the Baldridge Model work in this case?

– Planning a change in the budget processD – Implementing the change in how the budget is developedS – Studying the effect of the change with key stakeholdersA – Translating what is learned from studying the budget process into action

3) Find tools that allow for more productivity and creating (e.g. Macbook laptops) rather than limit students (e.g. iPads).
Though none of these points come as a surprise, I'm pleasantly pleased to see this particular point arise, given that I've explored this point in detail. Macbooks are wonderful, versatile machines that can do quite a bit (I own one and use one at work). As powerful as iPads are, they constrain creativity to accomplish the primary goals of schooling...and until schooling changes, full blown laptops are the way to go (IMHO).

Particularly telling in the original quote was this remark:
“We have 1st hand experience with 1:1 comparing 1 year of laptop (Mac) and 1 year of iPads,” tweeted @vANguyenC17.“All three 3rd grade teachers strongly favor going back to Macbooks.”
That's not to say entire populations of school children won't be carrying iPads in lieu of traditional textbooks, etc., but that traditional laptops will continue to have a place in schools. Time will tell.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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