These are my notes from Leslie Wilson’s session, “Leadership: The Critical Factor” (for 1:1 success) at the One to One Institute‘s conference on November 9, 2009 conference in Chicago, Illinois. MY THOUGHTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. I am recording this session and hope to share it as a podcast later.

Leslie Wilson was Director of Michigan’s Freedom to Learn program and is the current director of the One-to-One Institute

Without leadership that causes this shift in teaching and learning, initiatives will not succeed

Remember the NYT article about Liverpool disbanding their program?
– that leader came out in education week 2 months ago and said, that was all about a change in leadership
– not everyone was on board when that program was implemented
– when the leadership changed, the program was disbanded

It all boils down to leadership

It isn’t about putting the hardware and software in schools
– it IS about teaching, learning, context and content in a technology enhanced environment

Fundamentally different shifts

Concept, vision and action
– purpose from research
– communication and collaboration with all constituents
– managing expectations: We’ve worked on helping our governor understand that simply having devices in their hands is NOT going to increase student achievement
– there are a host of factors

HYT, 6 Sep 2009, Alan R Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company
“The more that everybody comes together on what their real purpose is, the higher order of that, the better… and so the higher the calling, the higher the compelling vision you can articulate, the more it pulls everyone in.”

Without that vision,
– criticism of Wisconsin 1:1 project that has lacked vision
– it was corporate funded

back “the why” with research

the compelling vision
– the more we feel we are a part of something significant, and we understand our part in it, the more we can take a team approach to higher levels of performance
– this is about leaders’ ability to articulate a vision so others can become believers, even if it takes them awhile to do it

In Michigan so many of our superintendents balked at $38 million for 1:1

The compelling vision
– connecting the vision and strategies to the outside world
– knowing technology trends
– knowing expectations for students entering the workforce
– understanding the balance of cooperation and competition in the global market


When we collaborate and cooperate both with people here in the United States and people outside the US

The research
– 4000 pages of research around 1:1 and technology rich schools, and what they achieved
– we found very few patterns to hang our hats on
– go to
– ISTE< Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, Rockman et Al, National Research on AAL; Univ of Memphis, CREP; Texas TIP; North Carolina; Maine All of us have points about less discipline referrals, increased student attendance, etc. Did you know there is increased teacher attendance in these environments? Leadership basics: ideals and beliefs - vision: what do we know about the future that affects planning? -- trends, research, blending vendors and educators and university work we can't hang our hats on grants and soft money technology will be used by all students and teachers to increase the efficiency and quality of work - planning for using budgets and resources for short and long term planning Where there is the leadership will and the compelling vision, you will define your action steps to implement 1:1 successfully Must have objective, third party evaluator look at your goals and how you are going to achieve those We fired our in-state university as an evaluator because they were not giving us student level, classroom level data comparing that with traditional classrooms - so we went out with an RFP and found a university that would give us this data (Univ of Memphis) How are the behaviors of students and teachers changing in this new environment - those are the specifics you want to focus on in your study All stakeholders - don't wait till you have 85% of support - you want all stakeholders to be part of the dialog, the process, the Q&A - there need to be stakeholders involved in the process across - budget must come through general operating expenses - solid infrastructure with tech support - process for computer upgrades, replacements - consider leasing Imperative Steps ongoing professional development - internal capacity: train the trainer - tech integration coordinator - cadre of teacher leaders - cadre of principal leaders school board - board members are going to be the ones who get the phone calls - share and seek support for technology vision - supports investment in technology - many school board members DO "get" the fact that we're overdue to have tech-rich teaching and learning environments in our schools ensuring a shared vision - it makes sense to go with low hanging fruit, right? - principals and teachers -- begin with those who believe -- examine research and agreed upon expectations - Partnerships -- frequent interactions and communications -- be an ever present resource We are not going to turn the desert into an ocean: so let's start where there is at least a trickle of hope Teacher's Association support is key - share the vision - share the research and expectations begin with volunteers Instructional tech dept - share the vision - ensure a spirit of service: won't work without them - change roles from repair to networking community - presentations at proof of concept schools - majority support for technology - school and district communications - FAQs - availability and accessibility - town halls, coffee klatches, church meetings Leading change in the 1:1 environment - first order versus second order change (switching grocery stores is an example of first order) - second order change: has to do with how you define yourself, your identity: that means for many people we work with, moving to this collaborative, networked environment IS a second order change proposition challenge prevailing norms and require teachers to learn new knowledge and skills - REsearch from MCRELl: 21 leadership responsibilities - 11 leadership responsibilities are associated with second order change second order change leader "musts" - ideals and beliefs - change agent (challenge status quo) - flexibility: define the negotiable and the non-negotiables - monitor and evaluate: how do you know it's working - intellectual stimulation: professional learning, presentations - knowledge of curriculum, instruction, assessment (research) - optimizer: cheerleader as a leader, I need to be sharing ideas and learning opportunities with you all the time - encouraging everyone you work with to be continually sharing I will celebrate every step you take along this path culture: cohesion, shared vision, purpose technology - share research and developed common understanding of the expectations - develop system for sharing successful lessons - share successful lessons and projects at: -- faculty meetings -- administrative council meetings -- board meetings -- rotated teachers and buildings Communication: easily accessible, open lines - technology examples: show them!!! -- monthly meetings, email, website, frequent classroom visits Can't rely on just 3 or 4 people do do all that work for support - develop team-based approaches order: routines, structures, rules - technology - establish rules and procedures together - communicate through website - lesson explanation for parents / caregivers - more... ongoing input by teams involved in decisions is key - administrative decisions made in concert with 1:1 principals - we don't take textbooks away from kids when they mark on the textbooks, should we do this with laptops? - some schools in Michigan felt strongly that they should: ultimately the campus needs to make that decision shared leadership: building capacity - lead principals - lead teachers - lead technology support - more... sustainability - vision into action plans - revisit annually, at a minimum - troubleshooting game plan - budget alignment - reiterating the compelling imperative - walk the talk Having a plan for troubleshooting is critical: where do people go with their tech problems? lesliew [at] Michigan's 1:1 program happened when the Republican speaker of the house visited a rural school selling Christmas trees, and saw things on that trip that convinced him that schools in the state needed 1:1 In Wisconsin: they were given $14 million to go 1:1 in a district, and it was NOT anyone's idea inside the district So we are not seeing America's Digital Schools: about 4% of our schools per year are implementing

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One Response to Leadership: The Critical Factor (for 1:1 success) by Leslie Wilson

  1. Penny Ryder says:

    Thanks for all your recent posts sharing the conference with us. I’ve been learning a lot from the things that you have shared. This one will be helpful as we start using (and continue using!) laptops in classrooms at my school.
    On a side note, I also listen to your podcast. Today I listened to one from back in August when you wondered whether anyone still listens! I’m a little behind at the moment as I have been busy with uni work, but I look forward to catching up on them all during my morning run, gardening or travelling to and from work.
    Thanks again.

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