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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sustainability and One-to-One

An email from a reader of my HotChalk column asked about paying for 1-to-1 which made me think about sustainibility.  Back in October, I'd had a great conversation with Leslie Wilson who heads up Michigan's One-to-One Institute, about paying for laptop/tablet programs as well as continuing them.  So between Leslie's ideas and survey results (see it to the right - please take it if you can) I'll be writing a column on sustainability.  (By the way, in February I'll be in Dearborn, Michigan for the One-to-One Institute, teaching in a 21st C. classroom, viewed by educators as part of a 2-day conference.  And in August Leslie and I are planning a peer conference for national leaders of One-to-One programs.  Will post URL's when they're available.)

Initial thought about sustaining - it's about more than money, but in the end it's about money.  If the program hasn't been accepted by stakeholders, and if the program is viewed as an extension or an add-on to "real curriculum" or real "tools" - it might be cut.  Especially in these complicated times with our economy.  Schools are going to feel the effects because the dominoes will be falling.  Public schools are funded by tax dollars and if people have lost their jobs and houses, they're not paying full taxes, if at all.  Independent schools will likely feel the pinch in enrollment for the same reasons.  It will be a tough act for every program at many schools which use a zero-sum budget model.  

But in corporate America, if you're working, you've got a computer.  It's a given that it's how business gets done.  It would seem that in schools where laptops is how learning gets done, laptop budgets will continue.

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