Technology Vision Notes

  • Brighton Area Schools
    Learning & Technology Initiative
    Summer Vision Series 2012 - Notes

    Brandon Center, Ron Miller
    • New vision for “digital library” - no bookshelves, multiple collaborative spaces, many different methods of showing and sharing information with groups of varying size
    • Entrance area welcoming like a coffee shop, open to visitors outside School of Ed, with a “living room” off to the side
    • Use of directional speakers to control sound in open spaces
    • Support multiple device types, but observing ~80 / 20 preference for Apple devices (shift from 40 / 60 preference for Windows)
    • LCD displays, no projectors or interactive white boards (functioning as such). LCD in main conference room has touch screen overlay
    • Displays have multiple input modes - either choice of wireless kb/m or wireless iPad app controlling attached Mac Mini, or (multiple) VGA cable(s)
    • AV device control on iPad app, not on dedicated “smart room” control system
    • Exploring an all-iPad workflow: iPad to capture photos & video, create multimedia document with embedded photos & video, upload to cloud or school server, access on conference room / classroom display controlled by iPad
    • Logitech webcams above every display for Skype et. al., not dedicated Polycomm video-conferencing systems
    • Devices and dongles available for checkout
    • Staffing: 2 desktop, 1 network, 1 help desk for 800 users, 100 tickets / day
    • Workflow of actual assignments drive space, furniture, technology choices
    • Online room reservation system tied to LCD touch panels (Steelcase) with red / green light status
    • Segregated network - some content public, some content restricted. Video is very difficult to publish effectively. Every station has wired connection for large video files - wireless not yet good enough. Discourage student use of home networks for FERPA reasons.

    Maker Works, Tom Root and Dale Grover
    • Combination of art studio, machine shop, and craft workshop, Maker Works offers membership-based access to a wide range of tools and equipment - from computer software tools to electronics to textiles to wood to metal, etc.
    • Each “shop” includes a computer-controlled machine, ranging from mills and lathes to an embroidery machine, laser and plasma cutters, vinyl cutter, 3d printer, etc.
    • As much about building community and fostering sustainability as about developing skills and making works
    • Vision “triangle” -
    • Focus on collaboration among makers, students, and 1099’ers (unemployed or underemployed skilled manufacturing workers, independent contractors, retirees, etc.).
    • Main revenue from entrepreneurs who may also be tenants; excess capacity for collaboration with community
    • Artists in residence program to encourage interdisciplinary “making”
    • “BYOT” (tools) encouraged, no real management
    • Some arrangements to house and maintain others’ specialized tools
    • Use in-house tools to build other tools - work tables, sewing tables, plasma cutter, labels & signs, etc.
    • Opportunities for creating and publishing documentation, instructions, videos, etc. of methods, processes, procedures, etc.
    • Collaboration through sustained communication of vision, building culture and expectations of community, natural outgrowth of providing space for people to gather and share ideas
    • For kids, most powerful experiences involve getting hands-on with tools and translating imagination into reality
    • Technology (besides actual computer stations and tools themselves) - some projectors, cheap melamine sheets as whiteboards, wifi. Plenty of space to assemble projects, collaborative space - not just workshop for specific machining tasks.

    Calvin Clark, Apple
    Recorded Presentation (Live):

    Prof. Leigh Graves Wolf, MSU
    Recorded Session (Google+):

    • Maker Spaces
    • Interactive White Boards can Restrict a Classroom
    • Avoiding Single Function Devices
    • Providing Devices v. BYOD
    • One Technology That Everything Depends On - WiFi
    • Using iPad as Primary Device
    • Classroom Models
    • Khan Academy
    • Tension between freedom of choice & equity among students
    • Prof. Wolf's teaching style
    • 99% Psychology, 1% Technology
    • Spreading vision
    • Unclass method
    • Professional Development
    • Broad-based buy in
      • Pam Moran, Evermorrow Community Schools, Virginia
      • Scott Graden, Saline

    Prof. Larry Cuban, Stanford
    Written responses to questions:

    Recorded Session (Skype):

    • Enabling technologies
    • Questions that teachers ask
      • Example: iPads
    • Pilot program v. standard expectation
    • Flexibility is key criterion
    • What's happening at colleges & universities
    • Criteria for scaling up from a pilot
    • Novelty effect
    • Problem with using test scores
    • Teachers learning from one another in pilots
    • Introducing pilots at elementary schools
    • Secondary pilots by department
    • Secondary early adopters & visits to other schools
    • Emphasize keeping the perspective of teachers at the center of any technology implementation

    John Sowash, Google Apps
    Written responses to initial questions:

    Recorded Presentation (Google+):

    • Living on the Web
    • 5 Reasons Why the Web
    • Google Apps
    • Chromebooks
    • One-to-one
    • One-to-one may not be necessary
    • BYOD
    • Moving to create & collaborate
    • Privacy concerns of cloud services
    • iPads at elementary level
    • Google Apps @ Brighton
    • Device:Student ratio
    • Computer labs
    • iPad keyboards

    Dr. Greg Mathison, Cisco
    Written responses to questions:


    Recorded Presentation (Webex):
    • Classroom is everywhere
    • Learning is social
    • Technology trends
    • BYOT / BYOD
    • Collaborative Learning
    • Game changer - video
    • Flipped classroom
    • Educational technology trends
    • Examples
      • Katy ISD
      • McAllen ISD
      • Mooresville GSD
      • Pymble Ladies College
      • Oxford Community Schools
      • Itasca Area Schools Collaborative
      • Paradise Valley Unified SD
      • MSAN, Cambridge Schools
      • TUKE in Slovakia
    • Cisco enabling technologies
      • capture from any device
      • deliver to any device
      • live or recorded
      • consistent user experience
    • Technology innovation with special needs students
    • BYOT - equity is an issue, but maybe not as large as we think
    • Broadband access may be a larger challenge
    • Facilitator, not star

    Adam Garry, Dell
    Recorded Session pt. 1 (Google+):

    Recorded Session pt. 2 (Google+):
    • "We really applaud you for saying, 'No, we're not going to talk about devices, we have to have a vision for learning first. We already know we have the money, we know we can spend money, but let's do it and focus on doing it the right way."
    • "We went to...a more of a standardized way of making sure every kid knew the same thing, even though when we look outside of school, that's not the way the world works."
    • "If you think about the way states have implemented 21st century classroom's always been about putting boards on the wall and saying, 'We're 21st century now.' Or putting technology in a classroom and then saying to a teacher, 'Now make this 21st century.'"
    • "When they put all that technology there, if it doesn't actually change the approach at all, it's still 18th century [learning]."
    • "If you're going to ask kids to problem-solve, they have to know it's OK to make mistakes...There are a lot of cultural things that come into this; it's not just having a great mission statement that says 'We believe in these things.'"
    • "We understand what it means for pedagogy and content to be see technology isn't the full bubble there, technology is a component. And when used appropriately, helps drive us towards 21st century learning."
    • "We've seen a lot of initiatives that were technology-driven that failed; we've seen a lot of initiatives that were just instructional-driven that failed. If you marry both of these things, you'll actually have the best initiative."
    • "You need to harness the power of collaborative and social tools – it shouldn't be a place where kids go outside of learning, it should be a part of their learning. And, you need to be able to rethink the way kids interact with content and information. It can't be about taking the static way we teach face-to-face and putting it online."
    • "If we're not building the learning environments based on the way we know [kids] learn, we are going to lose more and more and more of them. It's like saying, 'If we extend the learning day, they'll learn more.' No, they'll actually drop out at a higher rate."
    • "More kids in lower socio-economic areas actually have cell phones than kids that are from middle or upper. And the reason for that is because upper and middle have other ways to do their interactions – through tablets and laptops."
    • "Kids don't look at information as static anymore...Kids no longer look at a book and go, 'OK, I've read the book and I'm done.' If you look at webpages now for a book series, kids go on, they create characters, they create different endings, they don't just read a book anymore."
    • "It's not about, 'How do we go out and purchase a bunch of stuff to help kids do this?'...It's how do we take advantage of those things, and how do we give kids the ability to personalize what they use."
    • "If we look at how kids use apps, they use apps for 2 or 3 weeks and move on to the next one. So driving yourselves crazy trying to figure out, 'What apps do we give every kid?' is probably not a good use of your time. What's better is how to create an ecosystem that allows for personalization."
    • "A lot of school districts bought student responders, and did training on student responders...But the training was, 'How do I create a question, how do I get into the data?' It wasn't on, 'What do I do when kids don't know?' So if a teacher didn't have anything else in the toolbox around that learning that was going on, all they did was ask the question louder and slower. That was the number 1 strategy."
    • "If you engage in a professional growth process, student responders become part of quality questioning or using data to drive instruction. The technology is just one way to help us do that. But the focus isn't on student responders."
    • "As long as we keep learning in front of all this stuff, we're going to find lots of technologies to bring into that process, and we're going to empower teachers to bring lots of different things into that process. But we'll keep the focus on learning."

    Dr. Erik Drake, REMC13

    Video (Skype):

    • “In 2009, we sold 21 items that had iPad in the name for about $8,000. In 2010, that number climbed to 8,212 items worth $1.9 million. In 2011, we sold 46,000 iPad items worth $14.2 million. In the first half of 2012, we've sold 48,000 items with iPad in the name worth $14.8 million.”
    • “Interactive white board manufacturers are unbundling their software from their products...interactive technologies that schools are moving to when they're moving away from interactive white boards are software agnostic.”
    • “If you're looking at doing a district-wide or even a building-wide install of interactive technology, I wouldn't go too cutting edge, because these products haven't been tested widely enough to know how they're going to perform.”
    • “We've really gotten away from the era right before the iPad movement, where we were looking at clickers and slates and those types of devices that would get the technology in the hands of students. We've seen the sales of those types of devices really dropping off, because you can do all of that with a tablet device. There are apps for all of those things, and many of those apps are free.”
    • “Long term, the reality is that schools are going to have to allow students to use their own devices in schools, because it's just not financially feasible for schools to be expect to buy iPads every year.”
    • “All of our traditional computer sales, including laptops, have fallen off dramatically in the last 6 months to a year. I don't think schools are buying those – they're putting their resources into iPads.”
    • “With the Governor's push for anytime, anyplace education, there have to be portable devices. That's the only way that model can work.”
    • “Everything that Apple produces is produced for the consumer market. They don't produce anything for education. They just wait until the consumer market is saturated to the point where so many people have their products available, that we have to try to figure out how to shoehorn them into education. That happens over and over and over with Apple products.”
    • “You really still need a laptop or desktop computer for teachers, just because they have some other things they need like their gradebook program, their attendance, and some of those kinds of things.”
    • “There has been tons and tons and tons of research in education over the last, at least, 50 years. We've been talking about that issue since the days of filmstrips and TVs, instructional TVs. You can put any technology you want in a classroom, but instruction doesn't change unless teachers are taking opportunities to learn new teaching skills.”
    • “When books were first brought into education, prior to that, the only way convey large quantities of information to students was lecture. Thousands of years later, we still have lecture. You can bring an iPad for every student in your district, and unless teachers have support to learn new instructional really have to rethink the way you think about education. It's not about just conveying information to students...You can give a student a textbook on an iPad and the student's not going to learn any more than they would before you bought the iPad...You have to rethink the way that you're teaching using the technology. In what ways can I make the content more real and engaging for students using the specific technology tools I have access to?”

    Profs. Kristin Fontichairo and Jeff Stanzler, University of Michigan

    Recorded Session (Google+):

    • “You are to be congratulated for taking this time out to really think about where you want your technology to be.”
    • “Adding frosting to meatloaf, it's still meatloaf. Sometimes it's not even about the technology, it's about the pedagogy.”
    • “Great teaching transcends technology.”
    • “This is a district that can do it better than almost any other district in the state...You have a have a tradition of teacher engagement and teacher trust. It just takes a long time...”
    • “The opportunity in a space that's nominally called 'Technology' for colleagues to talk with colleagues.”
    • “How many of us have been in teaching our whole careers with technology, but we haven't yet really seen it make a difference?...You really need to look at some really sustained work about what it means to teach in the 21st century.”
    • “It's a chance to reinvent yourself as a teacher.”
    • “It's like they're buying it now and figuring it out later...What it does to teachers is that it stresses them out – 'Giving me one more new thing you're not going to train me on?' as opposed to saying, “Here's where the needs are, and as a result of the needs, here's what we should buy.”
    • “I think you guys are doing the right thing by not buying first and figuring it out later.”
    • “Person + Computer > Person...If the tool isn't improving what we're doing, then there was no point in using the tool.”
    • “You guys are 80% of the way there. That's incredible. I'm constantly amazed at how much less money you get from the state than so many other districts and what you're able to pull off regardless.”
    • “When we talk to teachers about interactive technology, we ask, 'What excites you about this? Well, because Pinckney has them. What about Pinckney having them is exciting? Well, because they have them and we don't.' That's not someone who is ready to work with interactive technology.”
    • “Teachers have a very hard time articulating what they would use interactive technology for. But they have a very easy time articulating that it isn't fair.”
    • “It's going to be great, but it's not here yet”
    • “That's the elephant in the think school is pretty pointless and parents, sadly, are starting to agree with them. That's the real momentum for change – we're losing the authority we've always had.”

    Prof. Yong Zhao, University of Oregon

    Recorded Session (Google+):

    • “It's not really one-to-one. It's many-to-one. It's many devices to one student...It depends on the type of learning activities, you will purchase all kinds of technology devices.”
    • “I would start with tools for students, technology devices for students first...I would go for that instead of a Smart Board. I wouldn't go for a Smart Board. If you have a lot of money to waste, go ahead and buy them.”
    • “The iPad is a very standard thing, because the iPad itself is multiple devices. It's a camera, it's creation, it's connectivity, it's clicker, it's control, it's everything.”
    • “You will engage your teachers to change their pedagogy a little bit more towards project-based learning or product-oriented learning. Getting students involved in creating and making things so the learning is done through making, through designing. You're turning students into makers, making real stuff.”
    • “A lot of the instructional technologies themselves, they look very flashy, but they don't change the pedagogy in the classroom.”
    • “You can imagine anything, you can have a creative imagination. I would get the teachers together to think about how you would teach in a space differently. It's a chance to think about pedagogy; it's a chance to think about philosophy.”
    • “You don't pre-impose a design, because teachers have different personalities, different strengths. I would only require them to 'Do something different.'”
    • “Get teachers to say, 'With this, how can we engage students to do more creative work? What kind of activities can you imagine? What part of the curriculum can you reorganize?...Reimagine, 'What can you do?' Have a new teaching plan, a new learning plan. Learning by making – teachers are making things as they are learning.”
    • “Professional development has to be problem-based and design-based itself. It has to start with what the issues are that we face today, and how we could solve that problem. And then we look for solutions from technology, from redesigning space.”
    • “Don't do a survey, a survey is useless. You can ask teachers what they want, and they will want everything. They want the moon and the sun.”
    • “Three F's are the key to teacher adoption of technology: Focus, Friends, and Fiddling...You need to have a Focus – what are you going to do with this stuff? You need to make Friends, build a social network and support...And you need to Fiddle with the stuff, to play around with the devices to get comfortable.”
    • I'm quite impressed by the bottom-up effort you guys are trying to engage in.”
    • “If you don't invest up front to do professional development, redesign, rethinking, the technology will go in there and be gone in five years and you will have wasted your money and nothing will change.”
    • “If you bring the typical tools in there, you'll experience something. But you won't see truly innovative changes that could happen. It's the people – you need to invest in people, not in technology first. If you don't invest in people, you won't go very far.”
    • “If people don't want to change, the easiest thing to do is go with teaching tools. Replace your white board with a Smart board, and you won't see much change. Don't give the tools to students. I wouldn't even put wireless in there. Just put some Smart boards, put some clickers in there, you'll be fine.”“Technology tools themselves do not lead to dramatic change, unless you spend time around it, discussing and redesigning how you teach.”
    • “Ask the tough question – you love technology, but do you love it so much that you actually want to make some real changes? Or do you just want to put stuff in the rooms?”
    • “It's a great opportunity to do some transformation. Especially in Brighton – you guys are among the very few places that are growing, and you have a good chance to be dramatic, to do something cool.”
    • “Traditional achievement is great, but you can do a lot more. You have to think about where did the traditional achievement come from. Are they simply ovarian accidents – they're just born into nice families? Think about the change in the future – will universities take the same students? Where will students' future careers be?”
    • “When I was approached to talk to Brighton schools, I was really thinking that you guys have a great opportunity to do something courageous.”
    • “This time is the time to dream. It's time to imagine. Teachers have been given very little license to re-imagine what they could do...Even if you don't implement all of it, it's time to energize the teachers, to think through this process, to give them the power to say, 'What can we do?' It's going to be hard, it's not going to be easy...It's very scary to think like that.”
    • “Brighton, I would say you may be a good school, but not a great school. You can do a lot more with your kind of students, your kind of parents, your kind of money, you can do a lot more. Right now, you're just simply coasting...Many, many schools are good enough schools.”
    • “What you need is a much broader dialogue of the vision of the future...If you rush to some easy model, you will not see the kind of transformation the community expects for you to have...I would really encourage you to drive, to dream.”
    • “Don't underestimate the power of individuals. The Flipped Classroom movement was started by 2 individuals, now it's moving everywhere.”
    • “Technology represents a great opportunity to change culture. I haven't seen technology making dramatic changes anywhere without changing the culture.”