Bill MacKenty

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Stunning: One-to-one computing programs only as effective as their teachers

Posted in Educational Tech Support on 16 - February 2010 at 05:36 PM (14 years ago). 225 views.

Eschool news writes "One-to-one computing programs only as effective as their teachers".

Do you hear that thumping sound? That is me hitting my head on my desk. Repeatedly. The article should of said "study confirms what everyone in educational technology already knows: good teaching is more important than blinky-things."

To be fair, the article links to some nice research:

Laptops and Fourth Grade Literacy: Assisting the Jump over the Fourth-Grade Slump (PDF)
Evaluating the Implementation Fidelity of Technology Immersion and its Relationship with Student Achievement (PDF)
After Installation: Ubiquitous Computing and High School Science in Three Experienced, High-Technology Schools (PDF)
One to One Computing: A Summary of the Quantitative Results from the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative (PDF)
Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings (PDF)

Here's a choice quote:

Across the four empirical studies, it is evident that teachers play an essential role in the effective implementation of 1:1 initiatives and that the onus of responsibility for implementation often falls to the teacher. For example, Bebell and Kay (2010) concluded that it is “impossible to overstate the power of individual teachers in the success or failure of 1:1 computing”

What's my take away?

1. It's about the "how" not the "what".

2. Before we give teachers technology, they should have a a very clear idea about how they plan on using it - never push tech into a teachers face

3. Teachers should evaluate if teachers should use technology in their classroom, ala learning communities - so for example, a teacher would go to a committee of teachers and say "I want 25 iPads" and THAT group of teachers would hack through the proposal - what learning is happening? How is this different than what we are doing now? Will this materially increase student achievement? Does this make learning better? Is this a sound investment? etc...

4. It's always good to let a teachers play with technology before actually using it in their classrooms to teach. Teachers need to have a cognitive model of how they are going to use the latest widget to make our kids smarter

5. Clear outcomes are critical. Before embarking on a tech initiative, outcomes should be very clearly defined and understood by everyone.

Reference: Bebell, D. & O’Dwyer, L.M. (2010). Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 9(1).
Retrieved FEB 16 2010 from