Sunday’s article on MyPlainview.com, “Floydada a showcase for technology education,” highlights the hard work and vision of educators in Floydada, Texas, implementing the district’s 1:1 laptop initiative. The district is hosting a “Digital Learning Environment Open House” tomorrow starting at 9 am. Superintendent Jerry Vaughn is quoted in today’s article:

In today’s environment in Floydada, students have the ability to stay “plugged in” 24 hours a day, whether they are on campus or not. “When you’re dealing with 21st-century kids, they don’t have to power down when they get to school,” Vaughn said. In fact, although in general the students are required to return the laptops at the end of the school year, if the high school students want to take college classes during the summer, they can keep them. From a continuity standpoint, if a teacher has to be absent on a given day, they can screen-cast their lessons so students can continue work with direction from the teacher through their laptops. The efforts of the district not only have improved performance, they have garnered Floydada quite a bit of state, national and even international attention. Students and teachers have spoken in Washington, D.C., about their educational experiences as a result of technology. They have been invited for the third year to travel to Austin and participate in the Texas Capitol Schoolhouse, and they also received the Sylvia Charp International Award for Technology. Vaughn said he realizes one-to-one immersion is not cheap, but “it has become a priority for us because we can see the teaching and learning benefits.” Because the district has made it a priority, officials have been able to continue to find grants to help fund the program. At the same time, Vaughn said, it has become a priority in the community to the extent that the district even has received local funds.

Looking back six years ago to October 2004, it’s wonderful to see the Floydada laptop program still going strong thanks to the hard work of so many great educators and leaders in Floydada.

Read more about the Floydada 1:1 Project on the district’s official WordPress blog. If you’re interested in the original TxTIP application documents, along with the continuation grant from TEA, I’ve archived those on my Google Site.

In 2008, Floydada published a wonderful “Opening Doors” video and was featured on the Apple Learning Interchange (ALI). Since Apple took ALI offline on 3 September 2010, that video is no longer web accessible as far as I know.

Floydada Apple Movie Google Search Results

I have an offline, lower-res version of it, but haven’t sought or obtained permission yet to re-publish it. ALI web coders have evidently setup their site to prevent Google from providing cached versions of its pages, and the Internet WayBack Machine doesn’t have this page cached either. That’s unfortunate, because it was a great article about how Floydada became recognized as “An Apple Distinguished School.”

Wesley Fryer, Jerry Vaughn, and David Jakes at CoSN09

David Jakes may not seem to have a direct connection to Floydada ISD superintendent, Jerry Vaughn, pictured in the center of the photo above. It was David, however, who provided an outstanding workshop on Digital Storytelling for Floydada and Post educators in the summer of 2006 after I left Texas Tech and headed for Oklahoma. I’m sure the Texas teachers who participated in that workshop not only still have fond memories of it, but also continue to be the beneficiaries of it along with their students.

Last week in Yarmouth, Maine, I heard high school principal Ted Hall explain why professional development is even MORE important now– eight years into their laptop program, than it was initially. I hope to publish more of the videos from last Friday soon. If you have not already, be sure to listen and watch the video interview with Alice Barr and Cathy Wolinsky discussing the critical role of technology integrators in 1:1 learning projects. The importance of vision, strong leadership, and technology integrators cannot be over-stated for laptop learning projects. That’s been true (from what I’ve seen and heard) in both Yarmouth, Maine, and Floydada, Texas.

Hat tip to Miguel Guhlin for sharing this recent article link about Floydada.

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