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Blair Peterson
Interests: Running, cycling, taking exotic trips, relaxing at the beach and learning.
Recent Activity
Cross posted on Creative Tension This post fits nicely with Nick's "Won't the students be distracted" post. As a principal who promotes new models of teaching and learning with technology I frequently get asked, "How do you know that the use of technology helps students learn? Can you show me research?" I have a variety of answers and I can provide them with several research studies showing positive results. But, recently, someone shared this research report with me and I am trying to figure out how to react and respond. How would you respond to these findings? The article entitled Evaluation of Alternative Delivery Systems on Academic Performance in College Algebra by Wynegar, Robert G.; Fenster, Mark J. shows, " that the traditional lecture delivery system had the highest grade point average and one of the lowest failing rates of all teaching strategies." The study took 3 groups of community... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
Cross posted at CreativeTension This post is a bit different than the typical 1 to 1 Schools post. Different because the topic doesn't directly relate to 1:1 schools and it's from South America. Maybe this example will motivate you to look for other scenarios of 21st century change outside of your normal areas of focus.I find it to be an excellent excercise that keeps me fresh and looking forward. Whether it's videos, new technologies, or examples of children in today's world, I find that it helps us better understand what''s happening around us. This past weekend I had the fortune of attending the Festival Natura Nos here in Sao Paulo. It wasn't the headliners that caught my attention, but it was an Argentine-Uruguayan band named Bajofondo that caught my attention. Ever since my trip to Argentina years ago I have been fascinated with the Tango. The combination of the music... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
Matt, thanks for sharing the information on your program. You sound a lot like Derrel when you say "agnostic view point". You are right that the shift is away from the specific software and more toward learning. How are your students and faculty handling this approach? Any specific examples of exciting breakthroughs? How about challenges? Hope that we hear from others. I hear that the Harker School also uses this model.
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Just less than a year ago the 6th grade students and teachers at Graded: The American School of Sao Paulo kicked off a 1:1 laptop pilot program. I'm pleased to say that the term "pilot" is now gone and the initiative now spans grades 6 and 7. At that time I was the high school principal to be. Prior to rolling out the laptops the school made a decision that, at the time, I thought was unorthodox, uninformed, and crazy. The school's "Y'all come..." model is one where students can bring any laptop they choose as long as it meets the minimum requirements. I was flabbergasted when Derrel Fincher, the director of technology, first explained the plan. It was not what I was used to and it just didn't make sense to me. I started brainstorming reasons why this would not work. How will teachers deal with having multiple operating... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
Cross posted on Creative Tension. We know that practices change when teaches, students and administrators have ubiquitous access to technology on a daily basis. In the classroom, teachers and students have to explore different strategies for teaching and learning. In the administrative offices, school leaders should, "promote and model effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders using digital-age tools." (From ISTE's NETS-Administrators). These changes don't happen overnight because it can be difficult to develop new skills and knowledge and to change habits. What does the school leader who suddenly finds him/herself in a 1:1 environment do? In what ways do they change their practices to effectively leverage these new tools? Let's look at the following scenario: The principal and/or administrative team members are in charge of facilitating a planning session(s) with community stakeholders and all members of the group have access to a wide variety of resources and technological tools. It's... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
Cross posted at Creative Tension As I visit 1:1 laptop classrooms I have been trying to put myself into the shoes of a classroom teacher who has just had their world turned upside down with the introduction of these new 21st century tools. I'm learning that it's not easy for educators to make the transition and that it is very easy to continue old habits. We are definitely creatures of habit and the most simple example is of the teacher who tends to rely on lecture and class discussion. In this case the teacher will use the technology to make presentations and the students will take notes (hopefully by using the computer). Those of you in schools that have already taken the plunge can relate to that initial feeling of, "Now what do I do with this machine?" I plan to explore this over the next several posts but would... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
I'm not going to disagree with you but I do need to clarify a few things. You're probably right saying that overseas educators are risk takers in a relative sense. After nine years overseas life seems so normal to me. I go to work every day, work lots of hours, try to manage the day to day stresses, enjoy time with my family, and then take exotic trips during the vacations. Doesn't seem to risky to me, but then again, things are relative. I remember well the interviews with teaching candidates in NC when I asked the question, "Why do you want to work at our wonderful school?" All too frequently the answer was, "Because it's closer to my home." Those of us at IB schools know all too well the Learner Profile where we strive to help students be "risk takers". There are two items that I need to comment on. 1. $30,000/year is the very high end of tuition at international schools around the world. I've been at two and they weren't even close to that amount. With that said, we are relatively well resourced. 2. The overseas educators that you met at ASB are at schools that are moving ahead with one to one and they are the leaders in this area. In terms of technology and education, the ASB Unplugged attendees are not representative of the majority of overseas educators. There are many who are not enthusiastic about pulling technology into education. It's very interesting to look at others' perspectives. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to experience working in an international environment. For me it just seems normal, and sometimes dull.
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Hey, maybe we all can't go to ASBs Unplugged Conference in Mumbai at the end of this month, but there are other options on the horizon. Want to learn and grow professionally without having to worry about dipping into the pocketbook? Check out these two upcoming opportunities that are geared toward educators in 1:1 programs. They look very interesting. The Capital Region Society for Technology in Education (CRSTE) Cyber Conference runs from February 21 - March 5. Speakers include: Ian Jukes, Doug Johnson, Sylvia Martinez and many others. You can get credit for your participation on workshops. Hurry because sessions are limited to 200 participants. Education Week is hosting a Webinar titled, The 1-to-1 Computing Challenge: Overcoming Barriers on March 4th from 2:00 - 3:00 pm (ET). Presenters: Matt Federoff, chief information officer, Vail School District, Vail, Ariz., Steve Garton, coordinator of educational technology, Maine Department of Education Brion Deitsch,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
I have been wanting to comment on Sylvia Martinez's post Measure what counts, don't just count what's easy to measure for weeks now. This topic is definitely on my mind and it constantly comes up in discussions with other school leaders. We're all trying to make sense of what it is that we're trying to accomplish with students. Sylvia writes, "While we may write in our grant narratives that we expect x% improvement in test scores and y% decrease in textbook costs, we really hope that 1:1 changes more than these bottom line digits. In secret, we hope that students and teachers fundamentally change what school means. How can you articulate that, much less measure it?" As I think through this I want to share three items which help me frame this concept. 1. I'm in the process of reviewing the literature on leadership for 1 to 1 schools and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
Ed, While I have no idea of what the thought process was, it's too bad that this mindset is still around. It's so limiting for teachers and students. Let's hope that groups like this continue to scan the horizon to look at other possibilities.
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I just want it to be noted that Oanh is an experience French teacher who has been teaching in an established laptop school for years. She totally understands the tools and the power of ubiquitous access. Thanks for commenting.
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Matt, you are right that there is some great stuff being discussed on this new blog. Thanks for the comment. I like the one criteria for evaluating software tools that you suggest. Accessibility has to be one of the main factors. Have to remove the limitations that labs provide teachers and students with.
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Cross posted on Creative Tension. Transfer these ideas to a 1:1 environment and my argument becomes even stronger. I saw this article yesterday in Digital Directions from Education Week and it's been on my mind ever since. While I'm actually a huge supporter of the use of technology in teaching and learning for languages, I believe that there are problems with the way thinking that is portrayed in the article. Now I don't know what the situation is at the school and I'm not in their shoes, but it seems to me that their view is myopic and that they are not looking at the big picture of the future. The future (and the present for many schools) is not in fixed labs where students and teachers have to be in a specific location for learning to happen. The future is anytime, anywhere ubiquitous access. The article mentions that Robotel's... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2010 at 1 to 1 Schools
This post follows up on Nick's post entitled, Getting Started. I know that as a school leader I would love to have access to a to-do list that would help with the planning and implementation. I've done quite a bit of research but have not found a simple nuts and bolts list. If you know of an organization that has a list like this, please share it with the rest of us. If not, why not contribute to this list in Google Docs. I have chosen to organize my categories by: Vision and Shared Leadership Curriculum Ongoing Professional Development Financing Infrastructure and Support Plus, feel free to share this link with anyone who may contribute. We need all the help that we can get. Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2009 at 1 to 1 Schools
Deron, it looks like you have put some excellent work into this initiative. I love the resources that you have on the wiki and I'll make sure that I refer to it often. It has helps me to think of the planning and implementation process in this way. Umbrella - Vision and Leadership (involves planning, building coalitions) Planning Includes: CurriculumInfrastructure and SupportProfessional Development Financing Thanks for sharing the resource.
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Hi Bill, thanks for the comment and extending the concept. You are right about the bus drivers typical role. If the leader engages in this type of behavior the initiative will be doomed to failure. I think that I will make a slide out of this photo. I look forward to continuing the conversation about leadership for 1-to-1 initiatives. Blair
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2009 on Leadership and the 1-to-1 Bus at 1 to 1 Schools
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Let's use Jim Collins' metaphor of getting the make up of the bus from the book Good to Great to discuss leadership for planning and implementing a 1 to 1 Initiative. Based on my experience, I believe that the leadership component is the most important. With the leadership component in place, the curriculum, professional development, infrastructure and finances will be sorted out. The leadership team will make sure that these are planned for. During a visit to a school that was planning for a 1 to 1 initiative the principal said to me, "The IT people are driving this and I'm taking my lead from them." Needless to say that this worried me since this type of initiative is major and the lead has to be shared amongst a variety of stakeholders. It's also a long trip so the drivers will have to switch off based on the important tasks... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2009 at 1 to 1 Schools
Oil Dipstick Bouquet by RIPizzo I love the simple survey that Pamela Livingston shows in her latest post and would encourage all schools that are planning or implementing a 1-to-1 Laptop program to design their own to use periodically. The results will provide you with valuable information on how the program is going. Use them with teachers, students and parents. Keep it simple and make it easy to compile the results. Even if the results verify what you know, it will be worth your time. While the data below did not come from a formal survey, just think about what your leadership team could do with this type of information from students. The following quotes from students were posted in a school's student newspaper while the school was in the first semester of implementing their laptop program. "Have Laptops Benefited [School's Name]?" “No, because we don’t use them, but we... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1 to 1 Schools
Cross posted on Creative Tension. As someone who is passionate about providing students and teachers with ubiquitous access to technological tools for teaching and learning I am shocked when 1:1 initiatives fail or when critics block progress. Yes, there are actually schools that have dropped the program. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be a student who turns in his/her laptop when the pilot fails. When planning for a 1:1 laptop initiative I suggest that the leadership team be prepared for the critics, cynics, killjoys and prophets of doom. Seymour Papert in Pamela Livingston's book 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs that Work states, "expect opposition and know that it can be beaten". What can we learn from the failures? The May, 2007 New York Times article titled "Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops" is a good place to start when researching failures. This three page article offers... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2009 at 1 to 1 Schools
There is a story about Gary Wilkinson who is a star forward on the Utah State University team (currently ranked 23rd in country) that fits with this idea of learning and power. Guess what? The guy has courage and it worked out for him in the end. Take a look... "During his senior year at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, he decided that nothing he learned in school prepared him for life after. Faced with the choice of partying or studying, he dropped out. “I’m not proud of it,” said Wilkinson, who was cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore. Wilkinson said he decided to attend one final class, and if he failed to “learn anything of value” on that day in November 2000, he would drop out. In the family studies course, he said, the teacher was going to assign the students to go on dates. Wilkinson raised his hand. “I’m leaving,” he said. “And I’m never coming back.” For more on what happened to Gary check out the entire article.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2009 on Learning and power at Dangerously Irrelevant
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