and which need some extra help on the current topic.Based on scores on the in-class quiz the previous day as well as students’ results on the interactive exercises completed at home, the teacher thenassigns new lessons. Students who understand the current topic receivemore advanced material; students who do not receive a different lesson onthe same topic.The teacher manages this on her laptop, and then asks students to work insmall groups that are automatically assigned based on appropriate mixes of knowledge and ability. As students work quietly, she acts as a coach, movingfrom group to group to give quick, focused feedback or input as studentsrequire.Since the teacher is receiving constant daily feedback on students’ learning inthe form of simple visual graphs, she can proactively target any weaknesses.For some, she provides extra coaching and teaching. Others may requiretutoring, assignment to a study group, or intervention with a parent. Nonewill be surprised at the end of a term with a failing grade.At the end of the semester, data from all of students’ learning (not just testsor exams) is automatically collated and graphed, allowing the teacher toassign a grade that accurately reflects each student’s learning and growth,knowledge and effort.
The challenge and opportunity
This, some may say, is a great vision … but far from reality. And reality is alittle less amenable to change than we might like.But what makes technology in schools so hard? Why is it that supplyingmillions of euros of technology to students does not instantly increaseachievement? Well, big ships are hard to turn, and large institutions do notchange overnight. Moving from a 19
century factory model of education –students in, citizen-workers out – to a 21
century model focusing onlearning, evaluation, synthesis, and creation skills is a major change.Most educators are willing to do what it takes to prepare students for a futurein the knowledge economy. But it takes support at all levels for meaningful,lasting change to happen. And the critical steps are those taken before anylaptops enter the classroom.The first step is develop a clear vision: what are the goals and what is theplan that will achieve them? A recent study of multiple laptop projects foundthat committed leaders who did thorough planning before purchasing anytechnology were key to success
Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings. Bebell, D., andO’Dwiyer, L. 2010.