At BETT 2013 Alaskan and UK educators will collaborate to provide quality advice on 1:1 schemes through A4L
Scrapping the Building Schools for the Future programme without garnering what had been learned might have been a stupid decision but there is a glowing silver lining. A lot of bright, experienced educators were released into the private sector to share the insights that they gleaned.
And they are cultivating new, much-needed projects that UK schools can exploit to good effect for themselves – like Educating 4 Leadership (E4L). Scheduled for a BETT 2013 launch, this not-for-profit group of top-drawer academics knows most of what there is to know about learning, technology and schemes like 1:1 tablet provision.
Why re-invent a digital wheel when those algorithms have already been traversed by school leaders elsewhere? The core leadership of E4L comes from six Alaskan professors – Mark Standley, Pam Lloyd, Robert Whicker, Steve Nelson, Larry Ledoux, John Monahn – who have already pioneered the 1:1 schemes that are reaching every single child in Alaska. And while most of their schemes have involved Apple’s iPads, the insights transcend technology platforms. They are about learning.
The groundwork may have been done in the US, but this initiative is being "localised" for the UK by an education advisory board that includes UK expert educators. Steve Moss, formerly of Partnerships for Schools, veteran researcher Don Passey (University of Lancaster) and Open University professor Peter Twining, who created the Vital CPD programme, are working together ensure that the insights gained in the Alaskan work are relevant for UK schools.
Educating 4 Leadership will hold a video conference at BETT
Three of the Alaskans – Pam Lloyd, Mark Standley, and Robert Whicker – will share their work and research via a video-conference at BETT 2013 in Gallery Room 7 at 2.45pm on Thursday January 31 in a one-hour session: "One to One Guide Book: presenting the latest thinking on One to One programs in schools". Steve Moss, Hannah Jones and Bob Harrison will handle the UK side of the event.
Visitors will learn about the Alaskan research and implementation project which highlights the potential, problems and successes of its school projects. They will also learn about the One to One Guide Book which provides a synthesis of the latest international research on 1:1 programmes in schools, looking at issues of professional development, pedagogy and culture, broadband access, and student perceptions of learning (download the US version here).
The purpose is to help school leaders run successful projects of their own, and this workshop will give them a flavour of what they can expect.
This UK group is currently busy creating a UK version of the popular One to One Hand Book, packed full of advice for schools (even multimedia interviews) and a web presence. The group has no exclusive ties to any one technology provider. The Guide Book is free and not biased towards any particular types of device. Along with the Guide Book the organisation also offers consultancy support. One model that has emerged with technology provider Toshiba is that the cost of consultancy is covered for the school by the company if the school decides to purchase its tablets.
Consultant Bob Harrison, wearing his Toshiba educator hat, was instrumental in getting things moving. "There are so many stories of headteachers and schools buying into the 1:1 "tablet hype" without a detailed consideration of the pedagogical implications," he says. "It is both laughable and tragic that resources will be wasted and pupils' expectations depressed because of poor planning by our profession."
'We need practical, workable solutions that reach beyond the techno-rhetoric'
Hannah Jones, of Connecting Learning, the consultancy supporting the initiative, is working with UK headteachers to write the UK version and is leading the accompanying consultancy support for schools. She explains: “There is a real worry that some schools have just been seduced by the technology rather than the learning and are just 'following the herd'. They should not be dazzled by the latest technologies and the simplistic view that introducing devices will lead to instant transformation of learning.
"We need practical, workable solutions that reach beyond the techno-rhetoric. And what better source than head teachers and researchers who have already been carrying out this work for four years. They understand the potential and the impact."
Steve Moss was already on the board of the Alaskan organisation before he brought its work to the attention of UK educators. The Alaskan academics visited the UK in 2012 to start the groundwork for extending their reach with new international partners. And he will lead the presentation at BETT 2013 that will start the next phase.
"I believe that schools which are thinking about implementing a 1:1 solution, or that already have one and want to make it more effective, should reflect on the key strands and elements identified in the Guide Book and have an awareness of what the reputable research tells us about successful 1:1 implementations," he says. "The UK and US editorial boards will scrutinise all the case studies as they emerge and point up links with recent research findings. Hopefully schools around the world will find this valuable."
"One to One Guide Book: presenting the latest thinking on One to One programs in schools" takes place in ExCeL Gallery Room 7, on Thursday January 31 at 14:45.
The one-hour presentation explores the potential, problems and successes in implementing one to one programmes in schools. The UK speakers are Steve Moss, Hannah Jones and Bob Harrison. The Alaskan participants, taking part via video-conferencing, are Dr Pam Lloyd (senior director, GCI School, Access General Communications Inc), Dr Mark Standley (education leadership program director, Professional Education Center, University of Alaska Southeast Juneau Center) and Dr Robert Whicker (director, Consortium for Digital Learning Association of Alaska School Boards).
Steve Moss, Hannah Jones and Bob Harrison will also take part in daily events with Professor Stephen Heppell on his "Learning Together" feature at BETT 2013, and on the Toshiba Information Systems stand (C90).
Hannah Jones will be speaking about the One to One Guide Book and Educating 4 Leadership in a theatre presentation on the Stone Stand at 3pm on Wednesday January 30