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Thursday, October 11, 2012

1-to-1 for Global Learning - Free Webinar!

1-to-1 is as good as what you do with it. If educators view this as a vehicle for critical thinking and 21st Century learning skills, and are ready to allow students to roll up their sleeves and get deeply into thinking, analysis, questions, problems, and ideas, 1-to-1 can offer the facility, resources and tools to make learning happen in deep and meaningful ways. 
An important manifestation for 21st Century learning today is global awareness and understanding. The challenge is for students to embrace our new global world, develop an understanding of other cultures, hone skills and increase knowledge of other ideas and people. 1-to-1 deepens this because student have at their fingertips paths to researching, communicating, sharing and collaborating online.
A leader in global learning is Lucy Gray. I'd like to invite everyone to participate in a free Webinar all about Global Learning from Lucy who heads up the Global Education Conference. It will be Wednesday 10/24 at 1 p.m. Eastern. Please sign up here and feel free to invite others.
Hope to see you there!
Pamela Livingston

Monday, April 9, 2012

BYOD - Questions to Consider - Reposting from

BYOD Questions to Consider 

  • Hardware is diverse and at price points that are more affordable
  • Schools are hyper budget conscious
  • The "cloud" (previously called The Internet, the Web and the Information Superhighway) is ideal for core apps which are free or inexpensive such as Google (although be sure to use GAFE), and Zoho
  • Parents are realizing that a digital device is necessary for learning
  • Schools want to be sure students possess 21st Century skills
But BYOD upsets apple carts right and left. We've been building school infrastructures for a long time that have supported a data-centric model in that IT directors allow or disallow devices on the school network according to a set model which is partly about good design and support, partly about supporting what already exists and partly about not taking on new projects or approaches that require more work, resources, and skill sets. And I've been a tech director in schools so know firsthand that opening a can of worms when it impacts the network, the laptop/desktop standardization, and the hardware replacement plan is not something many people will relish.
But then there are the students. They grow and develop and move to the next grade level and out the door to college and to life. They need to be empowered and learn in an environment that encourages them to think and write and research and publish and present and analyze and create new ideas and solutions to problems. They also need to own and understand the vehicles used for learning. So this might mean BYOD.
In order for BYOD to work well there must be a strong partnership between administration, Board members, teachers, technology, students, and parents. Everyone is going to be impacted by 1-to-1 no matter how it is implemented, whether BYOD or a standard hardware platform either provided or specified by the school or district. But with BYOD it's likely you are going to see some pushback from technology people because of the complexity, change, work, planning and resources required. So here are some questions to consider:
  • Have you visited a BYOD school or district?
    • If not a team with representative stakeholders should do so armed with lots of questions
  • Are you already using Google or Zoho or some cloud solution?
    • Without cloud apps BYOD is going to be nearly impossible to implement in a meaningful way
      • You need the entire school/district community to be able to communicate, publish, present and share centrally
  • How will you define BYOD?
    • Will there be a minimum device or specification?
    • Will smartphones be one of the devices?
  • How's your network - is it ready for
    • Wifi everywhere with multiple roaming wireless devices
    • Centralized data security (BarracudaLightspeed, etc.)
  • How will you address logistics?
    • Will students be charged with keeping their devices charged, ready and safe/secure?
    • Will you have "loaner" devices?
    • Will devices be locked up somewhere/somehow during lunch, tests, sports?
  • How's your curriculum?
    • Are teachers already used to assignments in Google and in using online social media tools so that student work is already free of hardware requirements - and happening in "the cloud"?
  • How's your digital citizenship education?
    • Do students already know how to keep a respectful appropriate digital footprint?
      • In my book I talk about L.A.R.K. - technology use by students should be L - Legal, A - Appropriate, R - Responsible, K - Kind
  • How's your communication channel with parents, students?
    • If the device is purchased, maintained, repaired and managed by parents and students, it's going to be important to communicate often and well
  • How's your budget?
    • Unless you have planned fully for the changes of BYOD you might be blindsided by some upgrades or unexpected costs so make sure to ask these questions when you are visiting BYOD schools
There are terrific schools that have been BYOD for years, The Harker School in San Jose comes to mind for instance. Many people I respect have been writing about BYOD including William Stites who posted this blog post for Educational Collaborators early this year, Lisa Nielsen who wrote about debunking BYOD for T.H.E. Journal and a recent article in District Administrator starts with a quote from Lucy Gray who I respect very much -this entire article by the way is an important read. The Laptop Institute which is highly recommended will have threads this summer in Memphis on BYOD.
BYOD can be a solution if you do your planning and homework and try to figure out up front exactly what you're getting into and plan carefully. You'll want to be ready to rethink your network as not being about enabling a few models of specific controllable devices but instead as a pathway to the cloud where your school/district-wide learning community resides.
- Pamela Livingston

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Teachers - All Teachers; Students - All Students

Recently I was on a listserv where a discussion on different philosophies and teachers and school models ensued. We seem to have replaced some of the Mac Vs. PC "wars" that used to occur (partly because of  most apps moving so clearly and fully to the cloud) to the private (independent school) vs. charter schools vs. public school arguments.

My take on it - we should be student-centered. That's what I believe. When you are in a student centered environment it is clear from the beginning when you walk in that students are valued, are part of decisions, are included in thinking/planning/ideas, are respected and important. It's not just lip service - it's the real thing. If a school or district makes students integral to the community in multiple ways, students know and value this and I believe will achieve more.

My take on professional development is that it should be teacher-centered. Teachers should participate, chose, frame, give meaningful feedback on, and be heard about what they want to learn, how, when and with whom.

I have personally seen and experienced student-centered spaces in private, public and charter schools. I have also personally seen and experienced highly adult-centered spaces as well. I have also seen and experienced teacher-centered PD in all three spaces; along with PD clearly not involving teachers in meaningful hands-on, community-building and enhancing ways.