Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

21 Steps to 21st Century Learning by Bruce Dixon #ok1to1

These are my notes from Bruce Dixon’s session titled “21 Steps to 21st Century Learning” at the AALF / Oklahoma SDE 1:1 Learning Conference, November 30, 2009. This event is organized by the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, and sponsored by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

5 years ago we’d barely had YouTube

YouTube has taken over dominance in bandwidth

staged photograph by Apple: Journalism school a the University of Missouri

lots of Apple laptops at the University of Missouri

not having a conversation with your community about this, everyone’s expections, is hurting you

how many of your parents are expecting:
– laptops to be used all day?
– will be worried if the laptops are used at school more than 2 hours

What you think they think they may not know

KEY: Building communication strategies around your initiatives is #1
– if you don’t build a messaging strategy that insures every
– what, how and why are you going to do this

question: What should ubiquitous technology access make possible for schools, teachers and learners

– individualized learning
– equity
– access
– creativity
– engaging
– exciting
– hard fun (that is what Papert calls it)

We have to stop thinking that people are reading minds
– we have to be able to understand it and articulate it
– this is not easy
– there are some imperatives that are driving this

When every child in your class have their own laptops, the first thing that will happen is that WHEN we teach much change

WHERE we teach must also change

WHAT we teach must change as well

Heart of it all: HOW we teach must change

It is all about these simple ideas: When, where, what and how
– this does NOT mean we are going to throw the baby out with the bathwater
– it does not mean we are going to stop learning from all our years of experience working with young people
– if we are going to transform learning experiences, then these things must happen

what is classroom transformation: reconceptualizing learning for students

If you get software like Fathom where you do hands-on concept development, and THEN go to formulas is SO strong to develop deep understandings of complex mathematical ideas


When you start to talk with your faculty about how you can talk about more in-depth

in the past we used to send teachers off to “skills courses” hoping teachers would use the computer more in their classrooms
– many of the teachers didn’t have computers in their classrooms
– how can make it meaningful

so we’ve been focused on the wrong things, like “skilling”

kids are going to be historians, not just learn about the facts of history
– that is what we want the technology to do

21 Steps to 1 to 1 Success
– without this you come unstuck
– we are going to go through the major points
– we are in the 21st century
– some of these are common sense (distribute laptops)
– others require months and months of work

Imperatives driving New Visions for Education
– the economic imperative (increasing accountability, shifting economoic foundations)
– the paradox of universal education (unengaged and disenfranchised vs Rich, Relevant and Rigorous – the existing model is simply no longer adequate)
– the globalization of education (unlimited access to vast resources: connecting to experts and ideas – a shirt in the context of expertise and control)
– 21st century challenged (rethinking the essentials of what is 21st cneutry learning, collaboration with teams – global perspectives)
– Digital Lifestyle: multi-modal, multi-literate… multi-tasking – continually connected through new mediums for learning

We used to have viable excuses for NOT doing global collaborative projects
– money is no longer the issue
– time zones are still the main obstacle
– tools and access ARE there now: why aren’t we doing these kinds of projects more?

How the demand for skills has changed
– Levy and Murnane: Identified by the OECD “Learning and Technology, World Forum 2009”
– huge drop off on “routine cognitive” jobs
– the skills that are easiest to teach and test are also the ones that are easiest to digitize and outsource

Mckenzie report in the last 3 months
– The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in Schools
– if the US had in recent years closed its gap…

A world of change in baseline qualifications (also from OECD)
– year 12 completion
– 40 years ago US was #1, now we are #13
– we have a real problem with year 12 completion
– around the world we have economic imperatives that force us to think differently

Views of globalization
phase 1: 1492 to 1800:
phase 2: 18000 to 2000
phase 3: 2000 to now

What if anyone could access a course at MIT or Stanford or….

example: Prof Lewin swinging on a pendulum at MIT
– 3000 people per day download his videos, that is over 1 million per year

Prof Lewin swinging on a pendulum at MIT

The Open University

Book “High Noon” by JF Rischard (20 global problems, 20 years to solve them)

What out the spaces

Bransford’s 2000 book “How People Learn”
– very small amount of time kids are actually engaged in learning in the formal learning environment

1 to 1 Mythbusters
– There IS a difference in how GenY are wired, they can grasp tech more equickly and are able to effectively multi-task
– we need to have these conversations
– parents are making their minds up about things like this

with multi-tasking, the key word is “effective”

Problem we have at the moment is most kids at school don’t connect to much
– quoting Clayton Christensen: Average child in school, 59% of students spend less than 55 minutes in front of a computer each week at school
– that is not worth doing anything
– that’s a waste of time, those dollars would have been better invested in swimming pools and football fields

Everyone here, including me, has gone down that road of “trying to do fishes and loaves” with computer labs and mobile carts
– it doesn’t work

the evolving learning environment
– we don’t have kids just expressing themselves through written work and through voice
– now we have visuals, animations, videos: new medias available

Now we have students who can have a global audience
– This has changed in the past 5 years, 7 at tops

Rischard says we won’t solve these by thinking the same way we did in the past
– his solution: global issues network
his book is very optimistic, btw

Demand for business (web 2.0) solutions
– Gartner 2009 Corporate Web 2.0 Penetration

these blogs, wikis, etc are now mainstream
– but this is still just the tip of the iceberg

Quotation from George Siemens: “It’s not about tools. It’s about change

It’s the change underlying these tools that I’m trying to emphasize. Forget blogs…think open dialogue. Forget wikis…think collaboration. Forget podcasts…think democracy of voice. Forget RSS/aggregation…think personal networks. Forget any of the tools…and think instead of the fundamental restructuring of how knowledge is created, disseminated, shared, and validated.

I like how Prensky talks about dabbling
– it’s about doing new things in new way

there has never been a more challenging and exciting time to be a teacher today

the web is now
– challenging traditional approaches to how we learn
– challenging our assumptions about classrooms and teaching
– challenging our assumptions about knowledge, ….

Henry Jenkins addressing “participatory culture” (quoting Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach)
– paper: “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century”

See Alice Barr’s post “Using Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture for Staff Development

It’s about pooled knowledge

– we’ve got to rethink what we think about teaching and learning
– collaboration
– what about doing collaborative PhDs?

TIGed: TakingITGlobal – For Educators

Tread Lightly is a climate change education initiative offered by TakingITGlobal through the generous support of the Staples Foundation for Learning.

Amazing thing about work in Maine, with Angus King and others is their willingness to share openly their successes and mistakes
– Angus says his biggest mistake was when asked by a reporter on the spot after money was approved if laptops will go home, he said “No”
– what about sustainability: another $35 million coming in 4 years
– another $6.5 million coming in 2 years here in Oklahoma
– I hope all of you are thinking about sustainability now, because that is the key

Maine broke down huge barriers there
– Gov King’s vision was so important
– He realized your main employment options pre-MLTI in Maine were timber, tourism and shipbuilding
– you need to rebuild the economy for a knowledge economy

Now lets talk about Uruguay
– I haven’t met the President
Miguel Brechner is the director of the project
– similar economic situation in Uruguay with OLPC initiative
– the President is an eye surgeon


Next example: Kiva
– micro-philanthropy
– operationalizing idea of teaching people to fish, not giving them fish
– making micro-loans of $25 to $50
– girl involved in Kiva had never turned on a computer
– thought to connect banks for micro-loans to social networking
– Kiva is someone reconceptualizing what technology makes possible

So what does social networking and chat make possible in schools?
– I’ve seen extraordinary examples of kids using social networks so effectively to communicate
– and yet our main response in most schools is to ban it
– we have to re-conceptualize what these tools make possible

the world today is about being able to do what you were NOT taught to do

As Stephen Heppell says, our biggest challenge is not being audacious enough

Be bold and ambitious

the technology emperor has had no schools
– we had technology-driven ideals
– ill-defined expectations
– trivializing teacher competence
– access IS a major issue: 5:1, 4:1 are just slightly better versions of the same thing!
– 59% < 59 minutes What is it that this makes possible? evolution of use: Learning environment - basic ICT - PC labs - classroom eLearning - 1:1 learning I WANT TO KNOW WHERE THIS GRAPHIC IS FROM ratio of students to computers is basically meaningless - 1:1 is not 4 times better than 4:1 - 1:1 is a whole order of magnitude better, it is not a straightline graph - all of you don't share your computer - it's not a straightline relationship - when it is your thinking tool, what you plan with, it is a reconceptualization of what is possible Todd Oppenheimer in 2003 agrees with Papert 1992, 1996 - agree that the full effects of technology cannot be realized while it is still a shared resource talk about vision: Papert and Alan Kay "more and more I was thinking of the computer not just as hardware and software but as a medium through which you could communicate important things..." - Kay: an instrument whose music is ideas..." The imagination machine SHARING THESE IDEAS ARE THE REASON I AM SO THRILLED BRUCE AND AALF IS HERE SHARING THIS CONFERENCE AND THIS VISION. THIS IS SPOT ON. Children, Laptops, and Powerful Ideas: An International Conference - Portland, Maine 2002 Maine's initiative was the tipping point as the first statewide initiative 3.5 years ago OLPC was the paradigm shifting innovation which Clayton Christensen I have never seen cost as a barrier to entry - example of Australian school which has been implementing 1:1 since 1992 Now we really see the affordable computer as a reality - what does this allow us to do? Intel is supporting 43 initiatives worldwide - best estimates say around 2 million young people around the world are in 1:1 - by end of 2010, we will have over 5 million worldwide Australia has just taken a big step forward - had been to sleep for 10 years - then we had a change in government, and we are moving forward Prime Minister Jose Socrates in Portugal leading the vision - redefining the economic base in Portugal - building an entire economy around the laptops SO HERE IS A QUESTION: WHICH LAPTOP HARDWARE PURCHASE WOULD HAVE THE MOST DIRECTLY BENEFICIAL IMPACT ON THE OKLAHOMA ECONOMY? ANY? Identifying the Key Drivers for 1 to 1 1- lays down an econmic foundation for future growth 2- equity: narros the digital divide 3- budget / stimulus imperative 4- improves academic benchmarks 5- improves assessment alternatives 6- provides opportunity for textbook replacement 7- marketing: competitive advantage 8- unlocks the possibility of personalized learning 9- expands pedagogical opportunities 10- offers 21st century learning opportunities 11- more... My own teaching history: I was about personalizing learning for 35 10 to 16 year olds I am disturbed by what California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is saying we should do with digital textbooks - apparently someone forgot to tell him everyone will need their own computer/laptop Join AALF - free to join - we give access to best research available on 1:1 key finding for 1:1 - allows us to write more often and better other research findings.... What are emerging trends we are seeing - constructive accountability (not a shallow, high-stakes testing approach - it is constructive, it goes both ways in terms of investment and sharing) - personalizing learning to address learner diversity - enabling an expanded view of learning environments - increasing pedagogical capacity - leveraging digital content in a re-imagined curriculum In England their vision is: - successful learners - confident individuals - responsible citizens another one: (conceptualization of the 21st century literacy skills we want for our kids) - numerate - literate - articulate - curious - and passionate Vision articulated by Dr Ng Eng hen, Minister of Education in Singapore - first, strengthen competencies for self-directed learning (that is about as radical an idea you can imagine) - second, tailor learning experiences according to the way that each student learns best - third, encourage students to go deeper and advance their learning - fourth, learn anywhere THESE DEFINITELY ARE GREAT GOALS. I WOULD ADD TO THIS, Singapore is about to implement a 1:1 nationwide program Papert in 1998: "My goal in life is to find ways in which children can use technology as a constructive medium to do things that they could not do before; to do things at a level of complexity that was not previously accessible to children." We need to ask: - fundamental change or incremental improvement? - the question is not much which is right, but rather why has there been so little discussion about the question? Where do you see your school, on this continuum from "incremental improvement" to "fundamental change" Where do you see your school on this continuum?

Technology is basically agnostic: it can be used ot
– sustain and support
– or transform

Fullan, 1998″ The more powerful the technology becomes, the more indispensable good teachers are”
– learners must construct their own meaning for deep understanding to occur..

Now referencing NYT headline from Liverpool, May 4, 2007: “Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops
– lots of excerpts from this article reveals what was going on in that school
– they didn’t get 21 steps right, they got 22 steps wrong
– we had 30 or 40 people with AALF respond to this
– guess who leads the public debate in education today? It is journalists and politicians. It is about time we took the lead in setting the terms of that debate


Ron mentioned Dr Thierry Karsenti at the University of Montreal, is helping them videotape student learning in classes to observe creativity, curiosity, etc.

Salesmen’s motto: under-promise and over-deliver
– supporting these things is not a problem, but it does take planning

– technical support
– connectivity
– wireless access
– network storage
– power supply
– security
– physical security
– learning environment
– staff readiness
– parental support
– community support
– leadership support

Lithium battery usually gets around 650 charges, so you need to buy new batteries in the 2nd year to cover you for years 3 and 4 (they do lose some with shelf life)

Implementation models
– a variety of paths to take:
— a class
— a grade level
— a school

pilot vs an expanded program

optional vs mandatory?

You can use checklists or you can use more formal project management tools
– deployment plan: checklists, milestones, timelines

think about prerequisite, preferred and optional

my priority is the things that go to kids

Adam Smith with comparatively weaker machines with less power
– their focus was doing amazing things
– doing robotics
– if you are going to make a decision, please make it in favor of the kids

set a high bar as you do this

you are going to have some issues with wireless
– wifi still catching up with itself
– so underpromise and overdeliver
– say to parents and students: say you still

1 to 1 Funding Equity (core principles we recommend at AALF)
1- funding should ensure all students can participate
2- funding should be structured to ensure it can be sustained indefinitely
3- laptop funding must be supported by a commitment to professional development
4- everyone who benefits should make some contribution

my bias: the notion of kids bringing any laptop they have at home to school doesn’t work now
– there are support limits to what schools can support
– that model also breeds inequity

Where can you get funds:
– govt
– P&F
– foundation
– school/district
– family

What you say to the parents is this: Your kids will be at school for 20% of their waking time, and at home 80% of the time
– so the school is going to provide a laptop… how about if we share this cost, for you to have 24/7 access
– that is the model
– when you explain it like that, no one puts their hand up and says “I don’t understand”
– this is not “parents paying for public schooling”

note I said everyone makes “some contribution” (didn’t say the SAME contribution)
– just like how we handle kids going to camps, field trips, etc.
– let’s say you’re asking for 50 cents per day
– some parents will say they just can’t afford that

Costs: start with assumptions
– student laptop: $1050
– more…

Another option: Expensive netbook for $600, shared cost model $24.61 per month

Italy asked for a capachino per day

In Victoria, Australia, this is the funding model they are following:

1:1 Funding Model in Victoria

Service and support must be tri-level
– most of your breaks are warranty
– why will there be failure? Look at normal driver vehicle failure rate versus taxi driver vehicle failure rate

#1: you are going to have a 3 or 4 year warranty

Life of machines: now we are up to 4 years
– that is what Apples in Maine

Do not buy anything but Tier1 machines
– it is how they are manufactured

Once in 4 years you will get that funding
– for the next 4 years, if you haven’t thought about how you are going to service these things and keep them in kids’ hands, you are going to deal with that
– for $10 or $50, you get the best machine you possibly can
– what matters is you buy Tier 1, because you are looking at taxi failure rates

Conservative failure rates, as bad as you’ll get

Last thing you need to worry about are kids damaging these computers
– if that happens YOU have a problem, you must have them totally locked down, not letting students do anything engaging with them, etc

70% of problems are warranty covered

You need to calculate how many loaners you need
– 5% is the high end
– you need these because kids bring in machines because they need repairs

1 – Set up student teams

you might want to certify them with GenY

70% of the laptop problems presented do not require a soldiering iron and screwdriver
– that is why kids on teams working as you firstline response systems can work on

So you build a helpdesk software and a system in place, everything is reported, so you as the administrator

sometimes kids with the technical expertise are not the most emphathetic
– you want good listeners, problem solvers, empathetic

2- work with your dealer partner
– you are not going to best buy to buy 100 of these
– your dealer partner for service is probably going to lose money with your first agreement
– example: I expect 90% of these machines will be turned around in 48 hours
– rural schools may not be able to agree that
– “key performance indicators of my service level agreement”

rule of thumb: 5% for loaners, but that is high
– kids should never be without machines

What may the failures be and how many can we expect
– adapter failures: can make 30 to 40% of total
– hard dries: noisy / bad sectors / failure
– optical drives: read errors (don’t put an optical drive in there)
– LCD general falure: cracked /lines / pixel failure
– PCB: won’t boot
– keyboard: missing keys / failure

next year you’ll find all hard drives will go SSD

I love Toshiba’s but they have never been able to make good AC adapters

Why would you want kids repairing computers

So which device is best from a service perspective?
– Classmate / OLPC
– Netbook
– Notebook
– Tablet: tier 1 tablets are most reliable, failure rate of screens is 10% of others becuase of

if you can afford tablets, buy them
– applications are now there

Don’t need a tablet to use ONEnote, btw
– Tablet is at the high end

I think OLPCs are brilliant but they were really designed for developing countries

Intel has just released their tablet they call a “convertible,” I’m told that cuts the tablet cost in half

Netbooks generation 3 now is a pretty cool machine
– they ARE real machines
– in another 12 months
– 4th generation will have SSDs
– reason they don’t break is because they don’t have these big floppy screens which break easily
– 10 inch screen is robust size for kids
– yes you still have high end applications that won’t work on them
– ATOM processor was limited

Black Friday laptops are not made for schools
– those machines are made for a price like Best Buy

So “regular” notebook computer: $800 – $1000
– these are the machines to look for

Go for tier 1 only

– get it, don’t self-insure
– don’t use your house cover for it
– existing insurance companies have real trouble with school laptop programs
– vendors have their own insurance policies, pretty detailed
– policies are usually (at high end) 5-7% of cost of machine
– deductible is usually in front, may change for damage versus entire loss
– important you think of that

with insurance, you want it 100% backed up with testimonals
– like cars, make sure relationship between your insurer and your repairer is watertight
– management of parts is critical for your success

PD and Change management…
– no time for this now

Innovation in a 21st Century Learning environment should…
– offer extensive opportunities to significantly address learner diversity
– promote pedagogical innovation
– improve teaching effectiveness and promote personalization
– help us challenge assessment models
– reimagine curriculum

2 things I want to convey in remaining minutes of this session
1- how do you get everyone on board
2- key attributes of a good technology coach

Getting Everyone on Board

folks on front end / early adapters are “the adventurers”

at the right end we have the “unwise” (very small in number, but often loud in voice)
– focus in the middle: on the TRANSFORMERS
– those are the great teachers who simply need to have someone spend time with them showing them what is possible
– that comes from our technology integration coaches / facilitators

2- key attributes of a good technology coach
– being a good listener and empathetic is most imporant

Be sure to adopt good policy guidelines for your school
– we have 44 areas that you need to address
– you are going to setup a policy committee with parents, teachers, and students
– you might even develop a “1 to 1 handbook”

Set 1:1 Policy Guidelines

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3 responses to “21 Steps to 21st Century Learning by Bruce Dixon #ok1to1”

  1. Andrew B. Watt Avatar

    I like these notes. It sounds like it was a great presentation. I’ll have to think about this kind of content when I go to give my second keynote presentation in January, at Digital Nation 2 in Waterbury, CT.

    Thanks for the great information!

  2. Bill Farren Avatar

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. Lots of good thinking points.