Lessons Learned from 1-to-1 Laptop Initiatives: Reflections on the Critical Components
A SITE 2006 presentation


Presenters: Mike Muir, University of Maine at Farmington, USA; Alice Owen, Irving Independent School District, USA; Gerald Knezek, Rhonda Christensen, University of North Texas, USA; Elliot Soloway, University of Michigan, USA; Cathie Norris, University of North Texas, USA; Peter Albion, University of Southern Queensland, Australia; Ian Gibson, Macquarie University, Australia

Mike Muir starting
– we have a collection of folks involved in 1:1 and ubiquitous computing initiatives, both laptop and handhelds
– this includes a lot of diverse perspectives
– goal is to save the last half hour for Q&A

Mike is representing MLTI and a pilot initiative in Massachusetts

Ian is representing a high school in Syndey, Australia and a school near
Cathy Norris: emphasis should be on the learning, not the device
Elliot will talk about learning environments as opposed to

– 39K laptops to 7th and 8th grade teachers and students
– just completed 4th year, 5th if you count pilot year
– spring 02: exploration sites
– fall 02: computers for 7th
– fall 03: computers for 8th

Funding didn’t hold up for high schools, about 40 are moving that direction, many others are looking at carts
– Middle grade program has been fully integrated with the state education budget

Article in Fall 2004 (Nov) of Learning and Leading with Technology

Have tried to stay focused on teaching and learning
– Maine is local control state: so districts decided if kids would take laptops home
– using UNT measures, found students with access with home had better attitudes toward school, self concept, etc.

Model for evaluating 1:1 learning with laptop initiatives
– 2 critical parts: teacher practice and leadership
– these elements make or break success

4 supporting but necessary components
– professional development
– tech access
– funding
– partnerships

New Bedford Global Learning Charter School (MA)
– Horace Mann Charter School
– 2002: grade
– global connections are a part of their charter, along with using technology

Irving TX 1:1 laptop project
– Irving was about one third the size of all Maine
– phased in over 3 years
– 9600 laptops deployed at all 4 high schools
– program evaluation conducated for baseline data
— spring 2004
Research design
– online teacher and student surveys
– focused group interviews with teachers
– classroom observations
See L&L article

Major findings so far
– laptop program is strongest factor in attracting new teachers
– guided/facilitated instruction has replaced direct instruction as most common mode (guide on the side is REAL in Irving now)
– many students (>1000) assist siblings and parents on use of laptop at home
– classroom management is the greatest problem

Impact on Teacher Skills, Student Discipline at end of year 1
– found treatment teachers are higher with technology skills, but Irving teachers HAVE had laptops for many years
– fewer discipline referrals have gone down more

Elementary teachers seem to be a lot more embracing of the technology than secondary teachers
– Irving is the only vertical integration project

Australian Case Study: Methodist Ladies College, Sydney, Australia
– building a School for the Future
– very select, elite school
– there is a strong feel and rhetoric here to “create a school of the future”

Methodist Ladies College
– fast access to the internet, MLC secure intranet, by airport wireless, online anywhere, anytime
– use of internet site and links as direct teaching resources and instant info

What is going on?
– school based research-variety research strategies
– trying to integrate studies at school with community issues and work

Has been very little change in traditional pedagogy, despite the large intrusion of technology


not a situation where the kids are fully owning the learning experience and environment

Ian: next example, Sedgwick High School, Kansas
– building a culture of learning, if you give a kid an iBook
– big emphasis on giving the kids control
– less ordered environment, a lot messier

Questions they are asking at Sedgwick High School:
– does it really make a difference?
– do students really want to come to school?
– do teachers teach differently?
– are students excited about learning?
– does it help to install the love of lifelong learning?
– does discipline go down?
– do test scores and attendance go up?

The answers are all YES

Keys seem to be bringing the kids in through an environment of responsibility and ownership

comments from Peter Albion:

Long Term view of 1:1
– back to 10 years ago in Queenstown
– is the driving factor ownership v loanership?
– how much of the enthusiasm is marketing by schools or providers?
– access to data and processing is key
– will ubiquitous access obsolete 1:1?

Same advantages seemed to be the same as the ACOT program, no one seemed to see a particular advantage to the LAPTOPS
– so this begs the question of whether access was the issue: whether it is a laptop or desktop

Effect will be there if you have the access and the pedagogy

Now from Cathie Norris: what we are talking about IS THE LEARNING

Convergent Learning: Addressing the Mainstream
– now the technology use is moving in the last 6 months through access, this is moving from the early adopters to the early majority
– how do you care and feed the early majority, versus the early adopters

Schools don’t want technology, schools want learning
– technology can be the means to that learning
– the technology is not and should not be the focus

term convergent learning: Susan McLester saw this in 2001
– being practiced today: Team teaching, project-based learning
– this is happening in many places WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY
– CL is opportunities, for learning, that are multi-source, modal, task, day, person

outcome: essential elements (simple) but also deep understanding (a deeper and better understanding on the part of children)
– to get this type of learning, we (in fact) need technology

Example of using technology for CL
– early focus on smaller screens (Palms) because laptop model couldn’t scale across the country
– TCO was the factor, over multiple years
– anything sub-XP
– example is a project page with many different types of files (concept mapping, word processing, drawings and animations, etc)
— focus is on a main project, all are multiple representations of learnings
— some will excel in drawing, some in writing

Good news: the technology we need to do this is readily available

Now from Elliot Solloway
– Book Crossing the Chasm: Addressing the Needs of the Mainstream
– tech over the past 30 years have remained in the early adopter portion of the curve (early adapters, mainstream, conservatives, laggards)
– The genie is out of the bottle

Learning solution is not technology

First go at this
– audience: early adopters, need was access, how was 1:1, what was clerical apps (not really productivity apps: clerical apps are getting

W. Penuel’s report in 2005 from SRI
– quotation indicating that students are using clerical apps, basic stuff

What we need to do now to get to the convergence level, go get to the next level, we need to avoid being overwhelmed with technological gobbletygook

handhelds are PentiumIII level machines!

task appropriate, low cost, learner centered, integrated, 3rd party friendly, an OS for learners

issue of having the technology available

if you really deal with the kids, it is TOTALLY ABOUT OWNERSHIP
– I really disagree with Peter on this, it is completely different when it is
– we can’t go back to the carts, if we can’t do 1:1, then we have to figure out how to do 1:1

Mike: most of the time, people don’t need information, they need stories
– Mike has started this project: the 1:1 Stories Project


Elliot: with handheld projects, you absolutely have to have keyboards for students, it is still
– The moment you have moving parts or XP or Mac OS running, you have enormous drain on batteries
– there is new device coming out, if you boot to XP you have 2 hours, in Windows CE you have 8 hours

Carrolton-Farmer’s branch has taken opposite approach to Irving’s 1:1, ubiquitous computing

Michigan’s freedom to learn project: schools chose platforms, about 1/3 chose handhelds
– the platform was the biggest factor
– students and teachers had less positive responses on handheld campuses compared to handhelds

PD has to be in the context of using the device for teaching
– NOT teaching technology skills

Elliot: applications running on handhelds are learning environments, not clerical applications

Mike: Chris DeDe has created simulation software working with GPS, that works best on handhelds
– iMovie doesn’t really run on any handhelds currently

Teresa has been following a 1:1 project since 1997
– first effects they saw did not sustain
– professional learning committee was strong through 3 years, but faded away
– problems in the regular classrooms have overwhelmed
– constant effect: students lose their motivation eventually with laptops, but they lose it less
– fewer dropouts is another strong finding

See what Johnson and Maddox call type 1 and type 2 of learning
– automating is type 1: business has found there is not much bang for the buck (adaptation)

– students from MIT designing place based games using GPS, GPS gives different content from a location to come up
– people from Swiss technical institute built an orientation game for new students, the wireless LAN of buildings sent out info about where you are, and who was close to you and what they knew, you had to construct knowledge based on that info
– these moved use of technologies along
– Korean study: on handheld, you are the learner and talk to a decisionmaker on the content (SOUNDS LIKE A CHOOSE YOUR OWN STORY BOOK ON A WIRELESS HANDHELD)

Knezek: will present at AERA study shows through PD and content oriented instruction

Literature does not seem to reflect learning as demonstrated through formative as well as summative assessment

Mike: really important thing to remember is it is not a technology initiative, it is a learning initiative
– Maine answer to “does it improve learning” is now “No, teachers improve learning”

Elliot: talk about evolution, not revolution
– we learned not to preach revolution and BASIC programming of content
– we are finding ACOT 3-5 years of adaption is half the time in handheld schools

Question: how are you getting critical thinking, collaborative environments, higher order thinking, etc

Mike: we decided initial training would not be nuts and bolts
– rest was: how do you teach data collection and analysis with spreadsheets
– now we have regional content meetings
– we get people early to share their issues and concerns, and then shape the presentations by the end of the day focused on those issues
– are working with the principals to make more embedded training as part of the staff day (quick skill shops)

Other contexts: have mentor teachers to provide just-in-time support to balance pullout training
– this seems to balance training well
– having 1 mentor teacher per school

Ian: developing a professional learning community is preferable to the more “traditional” drive by professional development model
– size does NOT MATTER, it is what you do with it
– we need access to space and communication potentials


If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes' free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes' newsletter online free!

Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes' subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wes' Facebook page for "Speed of Creativity Learning". Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?"

On this day..

Share →

One Response to 1:1 Laptop project lessons

  1. […] Wesley Fryer blogged the session, capturing most of the of the panelists’ ideas (and adding a few of his own). He also recorded the session and the podcast is available for download. […]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Made with Love in Oklahoma City