Must-read K-12 IT Blog

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Becoming a Digital Citizen

"I was very impressed with the Immersion Training for the teachers and the OTO Digital Coach did a phenomenal job with our staff. The teachers came in feeling very overwhelmed about the new 1:1 program but by the end of the training, they were much more at ease. This training was essential to getting our 1:1 off on the right foot."

Sarah Wood
Technology and Media Integration Specialist
Godfrey-Lee Public Schools

“I just wanted to say thanks for giving me direction with the Principals/Leadership team. I created a walk-through form to collect data, and the principals now have iPads to use to collect that data.”

Tracy Watanabe
Technology Integration Specialist
Apache Junction Unified School District  

“I am glad to see the evaluation shows signs of transformation. That is exactly what we wanted. That transformation has to be attributed to your team’s presentation of their knowledge and experience. Thank you again for your patience, flexibility and professionalism.”

Mary Lange
Ed Tech Resource Teacher
San Diego Unified School District

Monthly Messaging

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Unpacking the Common Core for 1-to-1 Environments

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Unpacking the Common Core for 1-to-1 Enviroments

In this professional development sessions teachers will unpack a Common Core State Standard (CCSS).  An instructor from the One-to-One Institute will model how to unpack a standard and teach a model lessong that uses technology tools to support the CCSS in a one-to-one environment.  The tools demonstrated in the model lesson can be used to support a number of the CCSS and be implemented by teachers the next day.  Teachers will develop a lesson that uses technology to support the standard they have unpacked.

By the end of the session, teachers will:

  • Unpack a Common Core State Standard
  • Participate in a Model Lesson using technology to support a Common Core Standard
  • Create a lesson plan around the standard they unpack
  • Collaborate and post reflections in an online community of learners

Activating Inquiry in Our Schools

In this professional development session, teachers will participate in a Model Inquiry lesson taught by a One-to-One Consultant.  During the model lesson, teachers will learn to use technology tools that can support the inquiry process that they can use in their classrooms the next day.  Teachers will also be given time and guidance on how to create an inquiry lesson using technology for their own classroom.

By the end of the session, teachers will:

  • Participate in a Model Lesson using technology to support the Inquiry Process
  • Learn multiple easy to use technology tools that can support the Inquiry Process
  • Create an Inquiry Lesson for their own classroom that integrates technology
  • Collaborated and posted reflections in an online community of learners

OTO Blog

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July 31, 2014          Passionate Disregard for the Usual rules
June 19, 2014          Revolutionizing the Ecosystem
March 20, 2014          Learning from March Madness
March 3, 2014             Disrupt? No, Enable!
November 1, 2013       Stop the Madness of Blindly Dumping Technology Into the Classrooms
August 19, 2013           August 2013 Hot Topics
July 25, 2013               Differentiated PD for 1:1 - It's Personal
July 23, 2013               Use of Technology & Teacher Expectations in 1:1
June 21, 2013              Inquiry-based learning sparks innovation and collaboration
June 10, 2013              WEBINAR:  Mooresville & Piedmont Districts share best practices on the Financial Implications of EdTech
May 29, 2013               Harnessing Technology's Full Potential
May 23, 2013               Four Critical Steps to Understanding and Reducing Digital Inequities
May 20, 2013               The Role of Technology As We Transition to the Common Core State Standards
May 17, 2013               The Flipped Classroom Delivery Model: Evidence of its Impact
May 16, 2013              The Blended Learning Approach
April 25, 2013             Are Educators Ready for Personalized Learning?


Teacher Professional Learning

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One-to-one learning provides students and teachers with their own personal portable technology devices connected wirelessly to the Internet.  These devices enable teachers to provide highly personalized and targeted learning experiences.  Students use their devices for everything from research and inquiry-based projects to collaboration, presentations, content creation, and assessments.  All learning resources and activities are at their fingertips - anywhere, anytime.  With one-to-one learning, students not only master core subjects but gain skills vital to success in the 21st century workplace.
Whether your institution is currently engaged in one-to-one learning or interested in expanding its technology-enhanced learning environment, OTO can support your efforts through the following:
  • Immersion Experience
    • Shifting practice from teacher- to student-centric
    • Meaningful integration of technology 
    • Unpacking the Common Core
    • Inquiry-based teaching and learning with technologies
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Virtual community of practitioners 
  • Capacity building program for growing internal expertise - train-the-trainer
  • Showcase Schools in urban, suburban and rural locations
  • Certification as a 1:1 program, teacher, or administrator



Leadership for 21st Century Schools

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If you plan to implement a one-to-one learning program, there is no need to start from scratch.  Take advantage of OTO's experience with hundreds of successful one-to-one programs and our knowledge of the Key Implementation Factors that we determined from Project RED's research.

OTO offers schools and districts a One-to-One Implementation Protocol designed to guide the planning and implementation process, as well as the development of leadership and instructional practices that will lead to a successful and sustainable one-to-one learning program.

  • Leading ‘change’ in schools
  • Project planning
  • Facilitating one to one program development and implementation in:
    • countries
    • states
    • districts
    • education service agencies


Common Core

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One-to-One Institute is committed to helping districts disseminate their respective Common Core requirements.  We have developed  a training module specfically around unpacking the Common Core standards.  Participants will select a standard to unpack and build a model inquiry lesson around the standard they have chosen.


An issue brief from the National Governors Association (NGA) highlights four trends in Common Core State Standards implementation.

The educator effectiveness brief is the first of four briefs that will be released to address the NGA's key recommendations. These recommendations are for governors and state policymakers as they support the work of incorporating the standards into their education system. The brief's four recommendations:

          Communicate a need for reform to parents and leaders in education, the community, business and philanthropy.

          Change educator preparation, licensing, evaluation and development policies.

          Call for state accountability policies, assessments and interventions that address low-performing schools.

          Coordinate implementation activities and support them with policies and resources.


The NGA interviewed staff in governors' offices as well as in state education agencies about how their Common Core progress was going. As of June, 48 states and territories, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity had adopted common standards in English language arts/literacy and math.

Four trends are indentified in this brief, including educator preparation, licensing, evaluation and development policies. 

1. Educator preparation

States have been linking graduates from education schools to their students' test scores once they move into the classroom. Tennessee has been doing so for four years, and New Jersey started more recently. This is all part of a push to hold education schools accountable for how well their graduates perform during their career in the classroom.

2. Licensure requirements

Because the Common Core State Standards represent a shift in how educators teach, these standards should be included in the requirements that current and future teachers are required to meet, the brief says. Maine is considering a plan to have educators score student assessments as part of the teacher recertification process. And this fall, Indiana is using new teacher standards and licensure exams.

3. Evaluation systems

Thirty-three states now require educator evaluations to be linked to student growth or value-added data. The more their students improve during the year, in theory the better their evaluations will be. But principals also need to be evaluated. And the Common Core should be part of these evaluations, the NGA says.

Colorado now evaluates how teachers master Common Core State Standards content. And Louisiana designed a rubric that integrates the standards and helps teachers improve rigor in their classrooms.

4. Professional development delivery, support

Along with evaluation systems, states are providing tools intended to help educators learn how to better deal with these changes. Georgia is creating learning videos for educators on the Common Core in partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting. New Mexico is hosting a Common Core Summit, and Kentucky has designed leadership networks.

For more on how states are handling Common Core data and assessments, check out these Center for Digital Education stories:

          5 Education Data Obstacles States Face

          5 Challenges States Face with Common Core Assessments


Used with permission:


Common Core States by Assessment (click on image below to access Interactive Map)




iPad Deployment Map

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Below is a world map of the K-12 schools and universities, created by Eric Lai, that have introduced iPads and other tablets in the Fall of 2012.

View School iPad & Tablet Deployments, Fall 2012 in a larger map

Project RED Implementation Webinar Series

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Financial Services: Dynamic Technology Planning Program

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The Dynamic Technology Planning© program is a technology projection tool that gives school leaders the capacity to systematically plan and communicate a short and long term vision for technology needs, costs and funding sources in a straightforward way.  The program utilizes many features of Microsoft Excel.

Outcomes from utilization of the Dynamic Technology Planning© program include:

  • Long-range,systemic plan for funding technology
  • A strategic planning tool for decision-making, revisiting plans and goals
  • Identification of resources, cost avoiding, reallocations, new funding sources
  • Definition of priority goals and alignment of resources
  • A district collaborative team model
  • Strong communication through graphs and reporting tools relative to numerous points of consideration

The software is an important component.  However, the professional development (PD) that accompanies it iscrucial to program outcomes.  The two-or three-day professional development incorporates facilitation of the district leadership team’s:

  • Vision and prioritization of systemic technology goals
  • Identification of resources needed to implement the vision
  • Identification of current resource allocation and results
  • Calculation of vision implementation costs
  • Identification of funding sources
  • Communication of the technology plan to stakeholders
  • Development of a multi-year planning tool

The One-to-One Institute provides facilitators who assist the district team in data driven decisions based on current costs and their relative value toward attainment of district goals.  The core team working with facilitators ordinarily includes the superintendent (or designee), assistant superintendents for business and curriculum/instruction and the technology director.  Of course, the district may choose to include other key leaders in this process.
Once the district inputs the date, facilitators return to provide support for next steps in the process, using the software tool.  The district’s current and complete technology expenditures are examined relative to goals and expected outcomes.  Facilitators use this data to drive the strategic action plans defined by the district’s leaders.  This effort provides focus for considering reallocation of resources, cost avoiding, discovery of unused and under-utilized funds and what current programs/activities are not reaching district goals.  Though this is not a silver bullet approach, engaging this process has helped districts realize resources for building technology capacity and sustainability.
The tool’s reporting mechanism provides stakeholders the ability to easily understand current and future resource allocations and related results.  Included are high quality reports which enhance communications with board members, staff, business and community members and other district stakeholders.
Additional benefits of the Dynamic Technology Planning© program are its flexibility and ease of use!  Key features include:

  • Navigation ease via menus and dropdowns
  • Quick and easy data entry components
  • Limited Excel experience needed
  • Formulas internal and protected
  • Flexibility
  • Options of level of detail in data entry and output
  • Comprehensive projections for:
  • Staffing needs
  • Cost for technology objects
  • Hardware, software, network and all other operating costs
  • Professional development
  • State and federal grants
  • Other local resources

To take advantage of this opportunity for your district, contact Alicia Sutfin at or 517.978.0006.  

Innovative Financial Solutions

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One of the greatest challenges when implementing a 1:1 computing program is finding the funds to sustain the program over the long-term. We know from our experience with hundreds of 1:1 program implementions that these programs are not sustainable unless the district allocates ongoing operating funds to the project.

OTO can help you find these funds. We provide expert analysis of current district expenditures and make recommendation that can lead to cost savings and the ability to redeploy assets to fund your program.

Collaboration, communication, confidentiality and productive relationships are the hallmarks of this work.  After carefully defining the desired outcomes with key district leaders, we assess the political landscape, individual's needs and the qualities unique to the organization's situation.  We collect district data and conduct in-depth, private interviews with the individuals responsible for key areas of operation. Once the appropriate data has been collected and analyzed, we work closely with client districts to finalize our recommendations.

For more information contact:  Alicia Sutfin at or 517.978.0006


St Joseph Academy

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006.

School:            St. Joseph’s Academy

Address:         Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Grades:           9-12
Type of 1:1 Implementation:  Laptop Tablets

St. Joseph’s Academy is a private Catholic, college preparatory school serving girls in grades 9-12. Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, SJA was founded in 1868 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, who continue to own and operate the school under the leadership of a board of directors.

In 1994, St. Joseph’s Academy undertook an audit of its academic program. As a result, the curriculum was redesigned to ensure that what was being taught helped young women understand information rather than simply recall it. On the heels of the redesign came the realization that a more complex and sophisticated tool was needed to facilitate this new way of learning. In 1998, SJA launched a program to immerse the educational environment in technology training and usage, integrating the power of computer technology across the teaching culture.

While a 1:1 learning environment, and its technology immersion are cutting edge at the secondary level, SJA’s extensive experience proves their value. Students who work in 1:1 environments exhibit a greater engagement in their work; improved writing skills; higher-level thinking skills; and an enhanced sense of responsibility through care of their personal computers.

SJA has been recognized three times by the U.S. Department of Education as a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and was one of three schools in 2002 to receive the U.S. Department of Education’s Special Emphasis Award in Technology. The award honored SJA for its innovative and pioneering “Reengineering Learning” program that builds the education program around student usage of wireless personal computers.

Today, tablet computers are used to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in all academic areas. Integrating technology across the curriculum provides opportunities to enhance the instructional process and to raise the level of student learning and performance, producing active, engaged teachers and learners who undertake complex and meaningful tasks.

Schools from around the state and country visit SJA for insight into how to effectively implement a 1:1 program and successfully integrate technology into the curriculum. SJA relies on educational software such as Moodle and Dyknow to expand the possibilities of what can be done using laptop/tablet technology. Moodle and Blackboard augment classroom teaching with the power of the internet. Dyknow allows teachers to easily supervise and control student computers and encourage participation. Using these resources, teachers are able to make lessons engaging and comprehensive. Laptop/tablet technology gives students near limitless access to educational resources enhancing collaborative learning, critical thinking and independence. 

The crown jewel of the Academy’s technology program is the student-run Warranty Repair Center, which celebrates 12 years of successful operation this year. Paid student technicians maintain all computers on campus. SJA is among the first high schools in the country to implement a 1:1 laptop/tablet program fully supported by a student-run repair center.

SJA has created a technology outreach program in which staff members, students, and graduates bring access to technology and technology-based education to those who would otherwise not have it. From local elementary schools to orphanages and schools in Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico; from the barrios of Nicaragua to the rural townships of South Africa, SJA technology teams have established computer labs and provided training to share the gift of technology locally and around the world.

McAuley High School

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006.

School:                 McAuley High School

Address:              6000 Oakwood Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45224
District:                  N/A

Grades:                  9-12
Type of 1:1 Implementation: Laptop Tablet

McAuley High School is an all-girls Catholic high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. The school is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School. McAuley provides a balanced education with high levels of academic rigor, while empowering its students and creating an environment to guide its young women in the development of all of their gifts and talents.

McAuley's Tablet PC program combines the best aspects of a traditional education with the technological skills that our students will need to be successful in the future. It is obvious from both research and their experience that having access to technology is only part of the equation. More important is whether it's used effectively to help students learn better.  McAuley provides ongoing professional develop to ensure the shift in pedagogy and the use of instructional strategies that lead to effective use of technology, and ultimately to improved student learning.

McAuley’s leadership has made the commitment over the past ten years to continually upgrade their technology infrastructure and train faculty members to use the Tablet PCs to make education come alive in their classrooms. Each grade receives the same model of Tablet PC, and having universal software promotes a learning environment that provides both structure and flexibility.

The Tablet PC empowers student-centered learning and offers opportunities for differentiated instruction that were not possible before.  Their students consistently report that they are well-prepared for college and careers where the effective use of computer technology is essential. 


Auburn Junior High School

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006. 

School:                  Auburn Junior High School       

Location:              Auburn, AL 36830
District:                 Auburn City Schools
Grades: 8 and 9
Type of 1:1 Implementation: Laptops


The Auburn City School System (ACS), was established in 1961 and is now the city’s second largest employer. ACS is a relatively young system; yet, it has become a recognized leader in education throughout the state of Alabama. The mission statement of Auburn City Schools is to “Inspire, Educate, and Empower”. Because education is a highly valued commodity, expectations by the community are ambitious. Teachers and administrators are challenged to meet the high standards set by the school system itself and by actively involved parent groups.

At a time when every facet of society is searching for effective leaders, nowhere is it more vital than in education. The wide range of diversity throughout the City of Auburn has always required a level of administrative leadership that is intrinsically different from most systems.

The primary focus of the curriculum is to prepare students to achieve their unique maximum potential. Auburn students consistently score above the state and national averages in all areas of assessment. Auburn High School averages seven National Merit finalist/semi-finalist each year from the senior class. Upon graduation, approximately 84% of the graduates move on to higher education.

The leadership of Auburn City Schools has, for years, recognized the importance of implementing the best practices and remaining on the cutting edge of innovation for effective instruction.


Mooresville Graded School District

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006.

Schools:  East Mooresville Intermediate School, Mooresville Intermediate School, Mooresville Middle School, Mooresville High School

Address: 233 Kistler Farm Rd., Mooresville, North Carolina 28115
District:      Mooresville Graded School District
Grades:      District-wide 4-12
Type of 1:1 Implementation:  Laptop Program


The Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) is located in Mooresville, NC, approximately 30 minutes north of Charlotte.  In 2007, the MGSD School Board adopted a six year strategic plan which set clear goals around utilizing 21stCentury resources in all classrooms with a focus on academic achievement, engagement, opportunity and equity.  This new strategic plan’s defining mission and vision embodied the philosophy that was to become the district’s motto:  every child, every day.  That same year, in keeping with its vision, MGSD initiated a “Digital Conversion” that has been the foundation of a transformative and exciting change for the entire school community.

The initial phase of the Digital Conversion was introduced in 2007 when all district teachers were issued laptops and all Mooresville High School (MHS) English classes were provided laptop carts.  That summer the district implemented an institute providing differentiated training for all instructional staff; furthermore, early release days were incorporated in the school year calendar for integrated teacher training including data analysis, software use, methodology, and team training and planning.  In addition, all administrative staff was involved in leadership training and weekly “implementation training meetings.”  A robust wireless network was installed in all schools and the technology staff was involved in broad based training and development.  Also, a technology symposium was conducted for parents and the community with the attendance exceeding 800. 

In the fall of 2008, all students at MHS and Mooresville Intermediate School (grades 4 – 6) received laptops for their use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  During the spring semester, laptops on carts were deployed at Mooresville Middle School (MMS) and East Mooresville Intermediate School (EMIS); furthermore, all K-3 classrooms were outfitted with interactive white boards.  The MGSD School Board added six early release days for professional development and training to the school calendar and an on-going teacher training program was implemented.  That following summer, all MGSD teachers participated in the second summer institute for development.

By the beginning of the 2009 school year, all MGSD students in grades 4 through 12 received laptops for their use 24 / 7.   While it may have been the final phase of all students receiving laptops, it was just the beginning of a comprehensive program that is already producing positive results for MGSD and other districts as well.  The summer of 2010 MGSD not only held its own summer institute for its faculty, but it also hosted a summer institute that realized a participation of 250 staff members from 12 states and 36 school districts.

The success of the MGSD Digital Conversion can be attributed to the support from all involved:  administrators, teachers, parents and students.  It is a team effort.  A Teacher Leader Program has been initiated with a focus on distributive leadership models (Lambert and Fullan).  As part of the deployment process all parents and students are required to participate in a training and orientation for appropriate use and care of the laptops. They must also attend update sessions each August.  All students are also required to sign a use policy each year that provides explicit direction on appropriate use.  Student homework, grades, assignments and calendars are done online.  Furthermore, there is a parent portal for keeping track of their child’s assignments and performance, as well as a means of communicating with the teacher.  The schools hold Parent Technology Nights throughout the year to assist parents in learning how to use those programs instrumental in their child’s education.  The district also utilizes Parent and Teacher Advisory committees.  These committees meet quarterly throughout the school year and provide recommendations and feedback regarding the district and its programs including the Digital Conversion.

In the fall of 2010, laptop carts were deployed at the third grade level and the Teacher Leader Training program has began its second year.  School improvement plans and individual growth plans are interwoven with the district goals of student achievement and the Digital Conversion.  Online formative assessments, expanded teacher and student collaboration, and engaged active learning and instruction are the expected norm and are ubiquitous in all MGSD schools.  Evidence of a growing synergy is abundant and in many forms.

Mooresville GSD was featured in the New York Times; click here to read more.

To see the Mooresville Tech Revolution video click here.


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OTOCommunity is a place for members to post their best resources, share classroom success stories, or even ask questions of the entire community. To access the OTOCommunity, simply click the link below and ask to join.

If you are not yet a Wikispaces member, you will first need to register on their site before you will be allowed to become a member of our OTOCommunity.

OTOCommunity LInk

iPads and Apps

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iPads and Apps  

Technology Workshops
Transforming Instruction
Tools for Communication
Tools for Collaboration
iPad and  Apps

iPads have become one of the hottest new technology tools in education, but many teachers do not know how to integrate them appropriately into their instruction. Below are workshops to help guide teachers in the effective use of the iPad in a variety of classroom settings.

Contact the OTO office at or 517.978.0006 for more information or to schedule a workshop.

iPads in Special Education (beginner)

This workshop is designed for teachers just beginning to use an iPad. Participants will learn why iPads are effective for today’s students, how to use all buttons, cords, and connectors for the iPad and how to organize, customize, and personalize the iPad for learning. Explore assistive devices for adaptability, apps that come with the iPad including camera, photos, and safari, apps for special education including how to access key web sites, and get an overview of  iTunes to manage the iPad.


iPads in Special Education (intermediate)

This training is designed for teachers with an understanding of iPad functions and would like more in-depth training. Participants will receive a quick review of iPad basics including more operational tips and tricks. Participants will learn how to use iTunes to add content, including music and video, explore the iPad as an e-reader for Special Ed students, and see examples of how iPads are working with Special Ed students today. Participants will also explore apps for

  • Student learning of academic, social, and fine motor skills.
  • Student communication, organization, assignment completion, and test taking tool.
  • Classroom management (including data collection and behavior management).
  • Teacher productivity (including social stories, video modeling and reward programs).


iPad Deployment Strategies in K-12 Schools

Implementing new wireless and tablet technologies in the K-12 environment can be challenging. Unlike desktop or laptop computers, Apple’s new iPad and iPad 2 create a new direction in how to successfully infuse these exiting tools in education. This session will address the district management piece of iPads relating to configuration, imaging, deployment, timely updates and ongoing administration. We will also cover the importance on getting your staff on board with Apple’s new Volume Purchase Program (VPP), and creating a network of staff in your district that will become self-sustaining facilitators of the program for years to come. Learn how to create program facilitators, redeem vouchers, deploy and sync multiple iPads and more in this hands-on and informative workshop.


Everything Apps: K12 Literacy and eBook Creation with iPads

Participants will experience free and low cost literacy and information fluency apps to personalize student and educator learning. Participants will use selected apps for specifically designed multimedia literacy activities involving the creation of eBooks and journals, and how this can lead to creative digital storytelling segments with their iPads. Participants will

  • Engage in an array of activities and learn tips and tricks to raise their comfort level and creativity when using iPads in the classroom.
  • Learn about apps that allow iPad to be a creative and productive learning tool.
  • Discover the rights apps to meet the individual student literacy goals.
  • Explore a variety of apps through hands-on activities that can be used for collaboration in the classroom.
  • Reflect on the iPad as a tool to change the mobility and just in-time teaching and learning environment.
  • Evaluate the educational use and purpose of iPads in the classroom.


Everything Apps: Teaching History and Geography with iPads

This workshop provides numerous examples of the best history and geography related web sites and iPad apps, to infuse practical methods and techniques for using this technology in the history, social studies, and geography classroom. Participants will have varied opportunities for targeted web exploration after each "mini" lesson. Examples highlight both inquiry-based and research-oriented iPad apps in world history, world cultures, United States History, geography, and civics for middle school, high school, and college. The workshop emphasizes innovative ideas and exciting projects for incorporating Web 2.0 tools including wikis, blogs, podcasts, Google Docs, social networks, and other emerging technologies into the classroom.


Everything Apps: Enriching Your Encore Curriculum and Productivity with iPads

See how iPads can influence and enhance the educational experience for student by using productivity apps. You will experience how you can access anytime, anywhere content, and provide access to digital textbooks, or an entire library to your students. This workshop will also provide training on the most valuable functions of the iPad, while motivating each student to be self-directed in their learning.


Everything Apps for the K-6 Educator!

Everywhere you look people are talking about mobile learning devices. How can we harness the power of this exciting new technology to better meet the needs of ALL students? Join us for this exciting, fast paced look into the world of apps for the K-6 educator! Participants are encouraged to bring their own device and share iPad successes. Participants will experience options that are available for  

  • Reading, Writing, and Spelling
  • Science
  • Math
  • Assessments
  • Audio and Video
  • Communication
  • Task Reminders
  • Polling and Phlogging
  • QR Codes
  • Cloud Storage
  • Educational Games


Everything Apps for the 7-12 Educator!

Everywhere you look people are talking about mobile learning devices. How can we harness the power of this exciting new technology to better meet the needs of ALL students? Join us for this exciting, fast paced look into the world of apps for the secondary educator! Participants are encouraged to bring their own device and share iPad successes. Participants will experience options that are available for

  • Reading/Writing
  • Science
  • Math
  • History
  • Foreign Language
  • Communication
  • Note taking
  • Task Reminders
  • Assessments
  • Audio and Video
  • CMS and LMS mobile
  • Polling and Phlogging
  • QR Codes
  • Virtual Fieldtrips
  • Cloud Storage
  • Educational Games


Tools for Collaboration

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Tools for Collaboration

Technology Workshops
Transforming Instruction
Tools for Communication
Tools for Collaboration
iPad and  Apps

Collaboration has been identified as one of the four Cs that students need to master in order to be successful in the 21st century (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking).  The following workshops provide teachers with tools and strategies that will teach students to work in collaborative environments, as well as engage students in collaborative activities that can enhance the learning process.

Contact the OTO office at or 517.978.0006 for more information or to schedule a workshop.


Building Community and Collaboration through 21st Century Blended Learning Environments

This practical hands-on workshop shows how to apply a straightforward, decision-making approach for structuring performance-based, blended learning solutions. Participants will learn practical tips, tools, and techniques that help exploit the benefits of blended learning through robust content and learning management systems (CMS and LMS) of EDU2.0, Edmodo and Twiducate (or your chosen school district CMS). The designed blended coursework environment will enhance student involvement and engagement, while meeting the teaching and instructional delivery styles of 21st century educators. The workshop also provides effective teaching strategies and promotes the importance of designing, delivering, and modeling a safe online community for your k-12 students. Participants will

  • Learn how to facilitate and assess online discussions.
  • Describe the importance and value of interaction in the blended course.
  • Identify and list various types of student interactions for a blended learning environment.
  • Explore strategies and techniques to infuse student-student and instructor-student interaction and engagement.


Kaleidoscope of Learning: K-12 Global Collaboration and Virtual Video Field Trips  

 Explore the limitless possibilities of cross-cultural interactions via global collaboration projects! Participants will be engaged in an interactive presentation where online projects will be showcased utilizing ePals, Global School House Network, and Ask an Expert. We will also take a closer look at existing K-12 classroom projects and discover how easy it is to design and publish interactive projects with real-world connections. 


Digital Adventures in Teaching and Engagement for the K-6 Classroom

Participants will explore online tools and activities that nurture essential K-6 technology literacy skill sets and highlight innovative student digital creations and projects. This session will showcase how elementary and middle school educators are using augmented reality, digital storytelling, virtual post-it notes, digital magazine covers, customized avatars, and mobile QR Code scavenger hunts to create meaningful and engaging classroom activities. In addition, participants will work with innovative tools to help improve student reading, writing, and mathematics, and learn different strategies to build creative, collaborative, and community-minded classrooms.


Digital Storytelling in the K-12 Classroom

This workshop is designed for teachers who are interested in using digital storytelling both in their teaching and to meet curriculum and technology literacy expectations from various subject areas through student presentations. Participants will explore a collection of over sixty-five fun and favorite Web 2.0 storytelling tools. They will interact with these sites and share how three favorites can be used to add visual enhancements to lessons and to add creativity to presentations that enhances storytelling. 


Google My Way

Come explore the wonderful world of Google apps for education. Participants will be immersed in innovative ways to use Google tools to support and extend learning opportunities for all students. This workshop is a full day of interactive and hands-on activities, including experiences with advanced search techniques, collaborative web-based applications, and inspirational instructional strategies.


Right Here ~ Right Now: Thinkfinity Educational Web Resources for Your Classroom

Thinkfinity is the Number 1 rated educational web resource for teaching and learning. It offers teachers, students, and parents excellent lessons, interactive activities, reference materials, primary source materials, multimedia, and tools for use in school and at home. One of the challenges teachers face is quickly locating high quality Internet resources. If you are looking for complete lessons, learning objects, or Internet resources, Thinkfinity should be your first stop. Thinkfinity is searchable by grade level, subject,or resource type. In this workshop participants will learn to quickly locate resources that align to content standards and grade level benchmarks. Participants will locate lessons that align to standards and also meet 21st century learning expectations. Participants will practice gathering student resources and learning objects to assist in differentiating instruction to meet individual student needs. 


Mobile Learning Devices: Empower Students to Take Ownership of their Learning

More and more campuses are allowing students and teachers to use cell phones in the classroom and to bring their own devices onto campus networks. This session will focus on using cell phones as instructional technology tools to research, gather and share data, and to collaborate around the findings. High school teachers will walk away with specific strategies to harness the power of cell phones in the classroom. The shared resources apply to regular cell phones with texting capabilities as well as smartphones. Don't miss this session for practical ways to enrich instruction using cell phones as an instructional tool with students in the high school classroom.


Tools for Communication

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Tools for Communication

Technology Workshops
Transforming Instruction
Tools for Communication
Tools for Collaboration
iPad and  Apps

Communication has been identified as one of the four Cs that students need to master in order to be successful in the 21st century (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking).  The following workshops provide teachers with tools and strategies to enhance communications between teachers and their students, as well as students and the world outside their classroom. 

Contact the OTO office at or 517.978.0006 for more information or to schedule a workshop.

 Workshop:    Be Seen ~ Be Heard: Educational Podcasting for the K-12 Classroom

Audience:      All educators
Capacity:        25 participants

This hands-on workshop will demonstrate how easy it is to create an educational podcast for teaching and learning - with free and low cost web-based content media tools. Participants will explore examples of educational-related Podcasts, and learn how to “subscribe” and listen to Podcasts through free software. Participants will also learn how to record and edit audio narration, how to add music and digital photos, and how to publish the podcast for the world to hear and see.


Captivate Your Audience with Cost Effective Lecture Capture and Screencasting Tools

Lecture capture is an umbrella term used to describe any technology that allows instructors to record what happens in their classrooms and make it available digitally. Creating successful screencasts requires knowledge of the whole screencasting workflow, from planning, though production, to delivery. This is a hands-on session which will also offer plenty of practical exercises and resources. If you want to know how to capture a voice-over narration, enhance your screen and highlight important elements, or tailor your screencast materials to your audience’s needs in any other way, then this is the workshop for you.


The Power of Collective Intelligence: Leveraging the Back Channel Chat to Promote Inquiry and Critical Thinking

The Backchannel generally refers to online conversation about the topic or the speaker. (Wikipedia, 2010) First growing in popularity at technology conferences, backchannel is increasingly a factor in education where Wi-Fi connections and laptop computers allow students to use ordinary chat to actively communicate during class, ask probing questions, and extend their background knowledge from the larger community of student learners in the classroom. This workshop will show case how structured backchannel chats can easily capture the essence of a lesson, event, or a student-centered learning activity. Participants will learn how to leverage "the power of collective intelligence" in a learning environment.


Social Networking for You- the 21st Century Educator

Collaborative social networks allow educators to create online communities that support their personal and professional learning. Whether your personal learning network is overflowing or just starting to grow, this online webinar will help you to refine your network to best suit your learning needs. Participants will be guided to interesting people who advocate for the effective use of technology literacy to improve your 21st teaching and learning environment. Tips and tricks to leverage the potential of these networks will also be provided. Participants will gain hands-on experience using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Ning, and Delicious to build professional learning networks.


Transforming Classroom Practice with Web 2.0 Literacy and Social Networks

Today’s students will work in a fast-paced, collaborative online world in their future jobs. In this workshop, you will experience the excitement of online Web 2.0 tools including Blogs, Wikis, Nings and Twitter to engage and motivate teachers and students as 21st century learners. Participants will discover how to open a digital door to a wealth of data, collaboration, and interaction. In addition, participants will discover a variety of engaging and innovative Web 2.0 tools that support differentiated and individualized communications, organizations, and products.At the end of this course, participants will be able to

  • Use Web 2.0 tools to deepen learning and increase student engagement
  • Utilize Web 2.0 literacy tools and professional social networks
  • Identify how Web 2.0 tools support a student centered learning environment
  • Assess and apply best practices in the use of Web 2.0 and global literacy
  • Create a Blog, Wiki, Ning or Twitter account for personal and/or professional uses
  • Build an online professional learning network to support 24/7 professional development and best practices


Proloquo2Go: A Powerful Augmentative Communication Tool

This workshop is designed for teachers and para-professionals and will demonstrate how this app can be used for students at any level of AAC skill. Participants will learn how to create user spaces and add folders and vocabulary designed to meet each student’s specific needs. Time will also be spent learning how to back up changes and transfer vocabulary to different devices. Participants should be ready for hands on time creating spaces, folders, and vocabulary for a specific student and come with a rough outline of categories and vocabulary they would like to see the student have. Some participants may want to have photos loaded in the iPad Photo library to use. Participants will need an iPad that has the latest version of Proloquo2Go and should take time to familiarize themselves with the features of this app. Requires app license.


How to Become a Transformed Twitter Teacher in a *Flash

Twitter is becoming an integral part of many digital lives and personal and professional learning networks. This introductory course explains how to use Twitter as an educational tool for professional development purposes. Demonstration of how to sign up, send and read Twitter updates (also called "tweets"), and build your own PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network) of friends will be showcased.


Transforming Instruction

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Transforming Instruction
Technology Workshops
Transforming Instruction
Tools for Communication
Tools for Collaboration
iPad and  Apps

Technology has the power to transform learning from a tradition teacher-focused activity, to a personalized and dynamic student-centered activity. The following workshops provide a few technology tools that will guide teachers in the development of a more student-centered and engaging learning environment.

Contact the OTO office at or 517.978.0006 for more information or to schedule a workshop.

21st Century Assessments for Today's 21st Century Learner

The major function of a student needs’assessment is to provide educators with the tools and information necessary to make solid decisions about how best to facilitatethe educational experience from start to finish. This information will assist in setting learning objectives, selecting appropriate technology, deciding on curriculum content, and determining strategies for effective learning. The main goal of 21st century student needs assessments is to establish, facilitate, and maintain an environment that is learner focused. In this workshop educators will have the opportunity to

  • Use free online applications to develop your own checklists, rubrics, and open-text assessments from scratch.
  • Access databases of hundreds of high-quality, ready-made assessments on products and performances, processes, and thinking skills and modify them to meet individual needs.
  • Save assessments in a teacher workspace or share them with another teacher who is registered in the site.
  • Learn about the research and theory behind successful assessment.
  • Find a wide variety of assessment strategies to use with their students.


Flip Teaching within 21st Century Classrooms 

It's called "Flip Teaching" or "reverse teaching" or a "backwards classroom." Educators embrace the Internet and social media as an instructional tool, record their lessons, and then post them via YouTube or embedded them into a blog, wiki, or LMS for students to complete at home. In the flipped classroom, the teacher lesson is viewed at home. In the classroom the teacher becomes the "guide on the side” as students use the valuable face-to-face class time to work with the content in collaboration with peers and the teacher.


Kicking It Up A Notch: Season Your SMART Notebook Lessons with Technology Integration

SMART Notebook lessons that properly integrate technology allow a teacher to immediately transform his/her classroom practice and promote literacy skills focused on student outcomes. This hands-on workshop will assist educators in creating curriculum activities that are visual, highly interactive and learner-centered. Educators will also learn how to implement SMARTBoard Notebook lessons beyond level and 1 and 2, and focus on the seamless integration of designing meaningful, content based, thematic lessons.


Total Engagement: Teaching and Learning with Interactive Whiteboards

An Interactive Whiteboard is a 21st century tool that allows a teacher to immediately transform his/her classroom practice, while infusing ICT literacy skills of the 21st century learner. This new classroom hands-on tool can help the teacher create curriculum that is visual, interactive, learner-centered, and include formative assessments. Participants will learn how Interactive White Boards can

  • Increase learner engagement.
  • Provide real-time assessment for teachers.
  • Increase ease of incorporating Internet resources into daily classroom teaching.
  • Reach different learning styles and strengths through access to visual and audio resources to supplement texts.
  • Create digital content that can be used with Web 2.0 collaborative tools.


Teaching and Learning in a Flat Classroom

What does “flat classroom” mean? How do you recognize one and how can you create your own embedded with 21st century skills? A hands-on approach, with examples highlighting inquiry-based and research oriented technology applications with be showcased. Featured projects include the Flat Classroom Project (video clip), Global School House Network, ePals, Eduscapes, CIESE, Jenuine Tech, and Global Education Collaborative. This course also features innovative ideas for building community and collaboration with wikis, blogs, online social networks, back channel chats, online video collaborations, and other web 2.0 tools.


Transforming Education with 21st Century Skills and ICT Literacy

There is a growing movement to infuse 21st century skills into teaching. This trend is more than a passing fad. 21st century skills are what today’s students and graduates need to compete, and succeed, in today’s global workforce. This two day workshop addresses 21st Century Skills concepts, real-world examples, themes, and projects, while tapping into global experts to glean information about how to transform teaching and learning. Participants will have the opportunity to

  • Explore 21st century learning, and how it differs from current practice and models in United States schools
  • Critically examine what designs for learning and assessment, communities for learning, experiences and resources would optimally support 21st century learning
  • Explore and identify the tools for learning and infrastructure that would best support the teaching and learning of 21st century skills
  • Examine how ICT can help schools to enhance and enrich learning, motivation, and the acquisition of higher order thinking skills using a wide range of readily available resources and software
  • Identify and reflect on models to build the necessary ICT capacities in curriculum and assessment units for the integration and optimal use of ICT in learning
  • Discuss and reflect on how curriculum and assessment systems should be aligned and/or transformed to create the learning environment for the acquisition of 21st century skills
  • Discuss practical ways and innovative models to build student proficiencies in 21st century skills.


Promoting Research and Information Fluency Skills with eReaders

Learn how to implement eReading best practices throughout your classroom instruction to promote literacy with your students. Learn how to use a Kindle, Pandigital, or Nook to promote research and information fluency skills with students in the library/media center or classroom. Participants will also explore the differences, uses, resources, and websites of eBooks and eReaders, as well as how to download books at home, work or at the library. Participants are encouraged to bring their own eReaders.


Technology Workshops

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Ed Tech Workshops
To Complement  Our 360 Approach
Technology Workshops
Unpacking the Common Core

Transforming Instruction

Tools for Communication
Tools for Collaboration
iPad and  Apps


Do you or your staff want hands-on experience with the latest technology tools for collaboration, communication, and classroom enhancement? Or do you want to learn how effectively to use educational iPad apps to engage students of varying abilities? Would you like to turn students’ interest in social media into a classroom learning tool?

Whether you currently have a 1:1 environment or are just beginning to wade into the technology learning stream, OTO can provide a one or two day workshop customized to meet your district’s needs. OTO is now offering over 30 technology rich workshops designed for teachers who want to learn how to enhance the classroom experience with the latest tools in technology.

When you can't afford to send your staff to conferences to learn about technology in the classroom, why not bring the experts to you for a reasonable cost. This is the perfect way to provide high quality professional learning that is delivered by experienced educators and presenters.

The four categories of Workshops are the following:

Don’t see a workshop that meets your technology needs? Let us customize a professional learning experience that aligns with your district’s goals.

For more information or for pricing, contact the OTO office at or 517.978.0006. All OTO workshops are limited to 25 participants per instructor.

Unpacking the Common Core
  • Unpack a Common Core State Standard
  • Participate in a Model Lesson using technology to support a Common Core Standard
  • Create a lesson plan around the standard they unpacked
  • Collaborate and post reflections in an online community of learners

The second component of this workshop is "Activating Inquiry in Our Schools."  This is also available as a stand-alone workshop.

  • Participate in a Model Lesson using technology to support the Inquiry Process
  • Learn multiple easy to use technology tools that can support the Inquiry Process
  • Create an Inquiry Lesson for their own classrooom that integrates technology
  • Collaborate and post reflections in an online community of learners
Transforming Instruction
  • 21st Century Assessments for Today's 21st Century Learner
  • Flip Teaching within 21st Century Classrooms 
  • Kicking It Up A Notch: Season Your SMART Notebook Lessons with Technology Integration
  • Total Engagement: Teaching and Learning with Interactive Whiteboards
  • Teaching and Learning in a Flat Classroom
  • Transforming Education with 21st Century Skills and ICT Literacy
  • Promoting Research and Information Fluency Skills with eReaders


Tools for Communication
  • Be Seen ~ Be Heard: Educational Podcasting for the K-12 Classroom
  • Captivate Your Audience with Cost Effective Lecture Capture and Screencasting Tools
  • The Power of Collective Intelligence: Leveraging the Back Channel Chat to Promote Inquiry and Critical Thinking
  • Social Networking for You- the 21st Century Educator
  • Transforming Classroom Practice with Web 2.0 Literacy and Social Networks
  • Proloquo2Go: A Powerful Augmentative Communication Tool
  • How to Become a Transformed Twitter Teacher in a *Flash


Tools for Collaboration
  • Building Community and Collaboration through 21st Century Blended Learning Environments
  • Kaleidoscope of Learning: K-12 Global Collaboration and Virtual Video Field Trips
  • Digital Adventures in Teaching and Engagement for the K-6 Classroom
  • Digital Storytelling in the K-12 Classroom
  • Google My Way
  • Right Here ~ Right Now: Thinkfinity Educational Web Resources for Your Classroom
  • Mobile Learning Devices: Empower Students to Take Ownership of their Learning


iPads and Apps
  • iPads in Special Education (beginner)
  • iPads in Special Education (intermediate)
  • Everything Apps: Teaching History and Geography with iPads
  • Everything Apps: K12 Literacy and eBook Creation with iPads
  • Everything Apps: Enriching Your Encore Curriculum and Productivity with iPads
  • Everything Apps for the K-6 Educator!
  • Everything Apps for the 7-12 Educator!
  • iPad Deployment Strategies in K-12 Schools


Leslie’s DLE Blog

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Leslie Wilson, CEO of OTO, blogs at Digital Learning Environment which is sponsored by HP and Intel. We invite you to read this week's blog and to visit the site to read archived blogs.

Mar 17, 2014      Learning from March Madness

Mar 3, 2014         Disrupt? No, Enable!

Feb 17, 2014       Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Feb 3, 2014         We Need to Talk About 21st Century  Learning

Jan 6, 2014         Never Too Late to Get It Right

Dec 9, 2013         World 1:1 Common Ground

Nov 25, 2013        A New Day for 1:1

Oct 28, 2013        Arizona Leaders Focus on 1:1

Oct 14, 2013        Connecting the Dots - CCSS, 1:1, Cycle of Improvement

July 8, 2013         Conversation with an Eighth Grader

June 10, 2013     Keeping it Personal

May 28, 2013       Figuring Out Future Ed Tech Needs

May 13, 2013       Does Technology Make a Difference?

Apr 29, 2013        Rich or Poor-It's About the Focus

Apr 15, 2013        Superb Leaders in Action

Apr 2, 2013          Getting to Education Innovation

Mar 18, 2013        Leading Culture Shift

Mar 4, 2013          Positive Movements Afoot

Feb 18, 2013        A 7 Year-Old Entrepreneur

Feb 4, 2013          Connected Students and Agency

Jan 21, 2013        Noodling on Double-loop Learning

Jan 7, 2013          Charting the Future! Knowledge Works!

Dec 10, 2012        One-to-One Programs:  Alive and Expanding with Best Practices!

Nov 26, 2012        First Project RED Hands-On Institute Successful

Nov 12, 2012        The New Professional Learning - Students and Teachers Collaborative

Oct 29, 2012         Project RED Signature District Awards

Sept 28, 2012       You've Got 'Tablets' and Now You're 1:1?  Really?

Sept 17, 2012       Our Schools Can Be Creation Engines

August 20, 2012   Leading:  Working the Bull's Eye

August 6, 2012     Reality Hits

July 23, 2012        Student Achievement Research Meets Technology

July 9, 2012           Bold Truth and Leadership

June 14, 2012       My Teacher Liked My Essay:  The Algorithm Didn't

May 15, 2012         We Must Be About ALL Learners - Ed-Tech is a Great Facilitator 

May 1, 2012           Project RED II Launch at Intel Visionary Conference

March 16, 2012    Schools Have Changed - It's a Work in Progress

March 19, 2012    Finding Our Own Internal Compass--When Technology Overwhelms

March 8, 2012      A National Leader: The Digital Textbook Playbook

February 2012     The First Follower- Dancing with the Leader 


Project RED II Launch at Intel Visionary Conference

What an event!! The Project RED II launch in Washington DC at Intel’s Visionary Conference last week was exciting and inspiring! We had the opportunity to highlight our research findings and introduce our next version plans – bringing those findings to life in selected, qualifying sites. 

We personally recognize and thank Paige Johnson, Intel, for providing this launch venue which was spectacular. Liz Crawford, HP-our other major sponsor, was front and center to provide support and leadership in the conversation. Mick Adkisson, of sponsor-SMART Technologies, actually spent his birthday with us to celebrate the launch and share his expertise. Thanks also to sponsor, Pearson, and representative Kathy Hurley.

The conversation has changed among those who reach out for help in moving to ubiquitous ed tech solutions. It’s good news that most educators who are seeking support realize that laying an effective foundation, focused leadership, shared vision and robust project plan are crucial to success. Project RED uncovered those critical success factors and is now aligning them with other variables within sites that are shovel ready for the Project RED Design™.

The Intel Visionary Conference focus was on ‘messaging’. Frank Luntz provided extensive data and recommendations for ‘how’ we get the message out about the moral imperative of education technologies to the different audiences we touch. We have to be bold – but we have to use language that resonates to different groups in order to effect the necessary calls to action.

And Project RED is just that – our call to action! We will roll out our readiness assessment, project plan template, community of practice, new website through our Introductory Webinars:

 May 15; 1 p.m. EDT

May 17; 3 p.m. EDT

May 23; 1 p.m. EDT.

I invite you to join the complimentary national learning community and receive additional information at We welcome any and all communications.



Schools Have Changed - It's a Work in Progress
By Leslie Wilson

Check this out!  is the demerit system my high school publicized to our parents circa 1964. Of course, I’d love to get my hands on their current disciplinary overview to compare and contrast. But when I read this I was immediately struck at how contrary to current belief, practice and research these expectations are! This is smack dab, in my face, a fundamental reason why the school transformations we seek are so difficult to bring around.

Many of us had traditional school experiences with key characteristics. Some of those are: 

  • the teacher was the center of the education experience from all perspectives;
  • students sat in desks (maybe tables) in rows facing the front of the room;
  • multiple textbooks; binders/paper/pens/pencils;
  • chalk and chalkboards that the teacher used;
  • media included projectors (8M), VCRs, overhead transparencies;
  • scheduled visits to the school library for special projects and research;
  • expectation of ‘quiet/silence’ in classrooms and hallways;
  • lock step class times and schedule;
  • minimal personal contact student to teacher and vice versa;
  • students’ one to two week wait times for test results;
  • curriculum/content was ‘covered’ in spite of not knowing students’ progress and skill development. 

What a difference several decades makes! From this cat bird’s seat, we recognize that a lot has changed in our schools. Many of those shifts are the result of responding to the changing learner profile and the emergence of contemporary resources including tools such as computers.

The most dramatic shifts have yet to take hold. Having the student at the center and having the teachers’ expertise as facilitating, personalizing the learning experience – creating self-directed learners. Effectively using and creating digital content that allows students to move at their own pace and receive quick feedback on their progress are needed. Anytime, anywhere, anyway learning is becoming more prevalent and should become the standard not the exception. The latter being enabled through personal, portable technologies. Dramatic partnerships among schools, businesses, higher learning organizations and other community outlets will create reciprocal benefits for all involved. The silo approach has proven to be untenable if our goal is a robust citizenry and workforce.



Finding Our Internal Compass-When Technology Overwhelms
by Leslie Wilson

Most of my colleagues and friends will say that technology has dramatically increased their productivity, and often, effectiveness in the personal and work spaces. Those same individuals carry 3 or 4 technology tools with them at all times. It is quite an accomplishment to be able to interchangeably use technologies for the tasks they are best suited. That ability didn’t just fall from the sky. It took time, experiences, research, trial and error to figure this stuff out and determine how best to utilize each tool.

Friend or foe of technologies, these tools are here to stay and they continue to morph at a rapid pace..which can be overwhelming when trying to keep pace. Even though technologies facilitate efficiencies they also create vast options which one must navigate.

David Allen, in, New York Times, March 18, 2012, says that to assuredly navigate these pathways we have to develop a “structure for capturing, clarifying and organizing all the forces that assail us; and ensure time and space for thinking, reflecting and decision-making.” He says that most of us try to use our traditional, internal mechanisms to plod through the technology induced environment. Those skills that well served us in early tech days, today cause us to be “unclear, distracted, disorganized thinkers” which leads to “frustration, stress and undermined self-confidence”.

While Allen’s article speaks to work place employees, his framework is worthy of educators’ paying attention. In the education ecosystem, not only is technology integration on the uptick, so are public and national expectations, community expectations and, most importantly, the imperative to increase student achievement. On parallel paths, educators are expected to perform, deliver the goods and stay current with research, best practices and tech integrations. That’s a tall order.

Allen recommends five action steps each can take to bring control, focus and order to our personal and professional lives.

1.      To garner greater focus and control, write down everything that has captured our attention – in work and personal lives. He calls this ‘emptying the attic’ of our heads.

2.      Clarify the importance of each item to our lives. Define what results are desired aligned with needed actions. This puts each item in context of the bigger picture of life and guides us to what next steps need to be. ACTION!

3.      Create reminders for each action needing to be taken. Put this inventory in a convenient, noticed place.

4.      Make it a practice to regularly review, reflect and modify the commitments to keep it updated. Different items will emerge as more important than others with each review which will help shift focus and behaviors and decisions.

5.      Position our resources and attention appropriate to the above.

Many of us take action in response to the loudest, most present factors of our lives. The goal is to be able to make conscious, smart choices that emerge from the above 5 steps….Proaction vs reaction increases our productivity!


A National Leader: The Digital Textbook Playbook
by Leslie Wilson


 Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the The Digital Textbook Collaborative. The collaborative group’s aim was to step up the development of digital resources and enhance the quality and saturation of digital learning in the K-12 space. The collaborative was organized by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Education and amplifies  the FCC’s National Broadband Plan and the Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan.

The group was made up of major hardware, software, publishing, mobile/telcom, & education groups-industry stakeholders, school officials and nonprofit leaders. It was a heady experience to participate with these key engagers of the ed tech industry to discuss, provide current and future visions, and strategies to drive schools’ abilities to effectively decide and plan for education technologies.

Because technology factors move at the speed of light, it is difficult to anticipate and plan for what’s down. The FCC Digital Textbook Playbook ( provides the best thinking and prognostications for educators as they grapple with decisions in this arena.

There are four major pillars in this work: ‘making the transition to digital’, ‘connectivity beyond school’, ‘connectivity at school’, and ‘device considerations’. Major considerations, purposes, strategies, recommendations for each area are provided in the context of here and now and the future.

In the Executive Summary of the Playbook, we restate President Obama’s message from his 2011 State of the Union address: “I want all students to be able to learn from digital textbooks.” 

The digital resources visualized will be in states of constant evolution. They will engage a variety of technological and instructional come in an ever-evolving variety of technological and instructional distinctions to meet diverse student needs and interests.  What they will have in common are digital devices that provide access to quality, interactive and personalized content that will But they will all have in common digital devices with access to rich, interactive, and personalized content that will include the primary toolset in digital learning.

I believe this is a rich resource for our nation. It surveys the best information from thought, industry and education leaders…definitely worth the read and use as a ‘go to’ playbook!

Leslie Wilson
CEO-One-to-One Institute
Co-author-Project RED


The First Follower - Dancing with the Leader
by Leslie Wilson


 Leadership is the special ingredient for successful organizations-education settings included. Different scenarios demand different kinds of leadership. A scan of the environment is crucial to knowing what type of leadership is required.

In all situations, it is desired that others will follow the leader’s philosophy and practice to reach established goals.  This is a key note because without the followers the expected objectives will not be reached.

Friend and colleague, Ron Canuel, talked about the essence of the ‘first’ follower and how important is that person’s role. He turned me on to the YouTube video, “The Dancing Guy”  which explains it all.  The leader can appear to be a whacky, ‘out there’, kind of thinker and doer. He/She will stand alone for a while in that space until the ‘first follower’ comes along and adopts the leaders’ thinking and doing. The latter’s behavior speaks volumes to other members of the organizational community. That first follower ubiquitously sends messages like, ‘it’s okay’, ‘I didn’t get hurt’, ‘it’s kind of fun’, ‘I can put  my own spin on it’, ‘c’mon, join in’.

The first follower takes the focus off the leader’s unique status by adopting his/her beliefs and practices – almost mimicking them – but really casting a light on them that is also unique to that first follower. This inspires others to jump into the fray and see how it all looks and feels. Those additional followers become less and less noticed as they become lost in the crowd that includes a majority of everyone else. At the same time, the organization has everyone on their feet, moving in the same direction, in unison, each putting their own unique imprimatur on the movement.

The important message here is that as crucial as it is to have effective leaders to transform schools, it is equally important for that leader to be able to generate first and second followers to get the mission accomplished.  In the past I’ve called this the ‘nucleus of support’ and ‘critical mass’ needed to get to the transformation.  What I didn’t consciously understand was the impact of that first follower.

Obviously, that first follower has to be well chosen to get the mission underway.  The leader will want someone who knows and understands the organization, is networked positively and respectfully with others, is able to effectively communicate in ways productive within the culture, and, above all, is focused on serving students and community – not self.

Tall order?  Not really. Think back to all of your leadership roles and the people with whom you worked to get the job done.  Who emerged as your first follower? Why?  If you consciously engaged with the person toward organizational goals – how did you do that?

I have thought about all of my education leadership roles and was able to identify each first follower and subsequent follower groups. I had no idea that is what I was doing….but it was the reason we accomplished our missions!  For me it was quite an ‘a-ha’ moment.

Leslie Wilson
CEO-One-to-One Institute
Co-author-Project RED



Cullman City Schools

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006.

School:               Cullman Middle School, Cullman High School

Address:             Cullman, AL 35055
District:               Cullman City Schools
Type of 1:1 Implementation: Laptop
Grades: 7 - 12

Cullman City Schools was showcased by the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network in 2012. This 2011 CoSN Team Winner proves 1:1 learning works…and they have the data to prove it! The 1:1 program at Cullman began in the 2005-2006 school year. The initiative was implemented in phases over several years to ensure teachers where prepared for the transformation and that the infrastructure was upgraded to meet the new demand.  Phase 1 included these upgrades, as well as providing Cullman Middle School teachers with a device and professional development to help prepare them for the 1:1 transformation. At the same time two, laptop carts were purchased for 5th and 6th grade students in the elementary schools.

In Phase II all 7th and 8th Grade students where issued a laptop for their use in the classroom and at home. At the same time, 9th Grade teachers were engaged in the professional development designed to guide their pedagogical and technological shift. The district also understood the need to make structural improvements and 9thgrade classrooms were updated to meet the future needs of the program.

The phased implementation described above continued until the full 7th– 12thgrade program was successfully implemented in the 2010-2011 school year.

The program has been funded through a wide variety of channels. These channels include reallocation of the current technology budget, state, and local education dollars, capital funds, partnership with reallocation of textbook funds, and grants. A key to the sustainability, however, was the board’s decision in 2006 to approve line item funding for the initiative.






Kent School District

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006.

School:     Kent Technology Academy (middle school)
                   Kent-Meridian Technology Academy (high school) 

Address:     12033 SE 256th Street, Kent, Washington 98030
District:       Kent School District
Grades:       7 & 8; 9-12

Type of 1:1 Implementation: Laptop Program

 In the fall of 2005, Kent School District (KSD) opened the Kent Technology Academy (KTA), a small school housed on the Mill Creek Middle School campus. This academy was designed to be a proof of concept school as KSD implemented its first One-to-One laptop program. With three teachers and 90 seventh grade students, the program demonstrated that students in a technology-rich environment could produce amazing results. The academy doubled in its second year to include six teachers and 180 students. With its enrollment based on an application-lottery system, the demographic of the students in the academy was a mirror of the District as a whole.

The successes at KTA led to the expansion of the initiative in the fall of 2007 to the Kent-Meridian Technology Academy (KMTA), a high school program residing on the Kent-Meridian High School campus. Students work in small learning communities for their core classes while participating in electives and PE/Health with the greater school population. Extra-curricular activities are also open to all students. The staff members at these small academies laid critical groundwork with respect to curriculum, equipment and best practices while collecting lessons learned to aid in expanding the program. KMTA and KTA have grown to add grade levels and teaching staff until reaching their current status: 15 teachers and 500 students in grades 7-12. The program’s staff members have been trained in project-based learning, 21st Century Skills, and best practices integrating technology. The students and teachers in both academies are also a vital part of our new technology adoption process and participate as field testers for cutting-edge tools.

The Kent School District’s IT Department has been an integral part of the success of One-to-One Laptop Initiative. The Department’s support teams have worked to revamp support structures to ensure same day response to support requests. The networking and infrastructure teams have worked to develop a comprehensive network and server infrastructure to support the expansion with new services like high-density wireless, unlimited network storage, student email, remote access, and other critical resources with an uptime of 99.998%. Meanwhile, the instructional technology team created a district-wide support model for professional development to help teachers refine their teaching practices to align with, and take advantage of, a One-to-One classroom. The Instructional Services department worked to align projects to make existing resources available electronically and require all new textbook adoptions to also be available electronically.

After an outside research company conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the initial programs, the Kent School District Board of Directors endorsed the expansion of this initiative to all secondary students, beginning with seventh graders in the fall of 2008. Currently, Kent School District’s six middle schools, four compulsory high schools, two high school academies, and two technology academies each participate in the One-to-One Laptop Initiative, which includes approximately 7,500 students in grades 7, 8, and 9. Funded directly from technology levy dollars, this program will continue to grow through grade 12, one grade per year, for the next three years. This year, 2,500 ninth grade students were issued HP 6360 13-inch laptops that they will carry with them until they graduate high school.

The District’s One-to-One program was recognized in 2008 by the international ComputerWorld Honors Program, and the District was recognized by the National School Board Association as a national technology site visit during the same year. The District has hosted a number of international visitors interested in seeing the program firsthand from the United Kingdom, China, India, the Netherlands, and other countries. Visitors have included ministers of education, government cabinet members, superintendents, principals, teachers, and technology professionals.

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Project RED I and II

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Project RED I Groundbreaking National Research around Education Technology

Although data gathered over the years have indicated that technology has not achieved the same impact in education as in other sectors of the economy, it has become clear that a few pockets of excellence are successfully transforming schools with technology using specific implementation strategies. The urgent need to understand those successful implementation strategies provided the impetus for Project RED.

Recognizing the connection between education and the economy, Project RED established a second goal: to research the potentially positive financial impact of technology in schools. Surprisingly, very little work has been done on the financial impact of technology in education, unlike the private sector.


Project RED II – From Research to Results

There is a national buzz around the Project RED findings.  Project RED II will operationalize the findings from the original research. The goal is to create a cadre of schools and districts who will integrate Project RED findings into their practices. The staff and sites will be supported through a myriad of resources conferences and consultancies to help guide their success.  Those interested may apply for Project RED certification status.

To learn more and GET INVOLVED go to

 Thanks to our sponsors:

  • Hewlett-Packard
  • SMART Technologies
  • Pearson Foundation


1:1 Program Certification

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1:1 Program Certification

To receive One-to-One Institute Program Certification the program will have to demonstrate that there is appropriate leadership and instruction taking place. Schools who have certified all of their teachers and their administrator will automatically receive Program Certification.

1:1 Teacher Certification

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 1:1Teacher Certification

To receive One-to-One Institute Teacher Certification teachers will have to demonstrate what their students are doing in the classroom. Teachers will be asked to provide the following:

  • A description of their classroom environment
  • Lesson plans for proper implementation of technology
  • Student products that demonstrate the appropriate integration of technology

1:1 Admin Certification

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1:1 Administrator Certification

To receive One-to-One Institute Administrator Certification leaders will have to demonstrate what they are doing in the following categories.

  • Leadership
  • Policies
  • Planning
  • Infrastructure and Support
  •  Instruction

Contributor Form

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Intent to Contribute

Use the link below to complete the Intent to Contribute form and return to the One-to-One Institute to confirm your interest in contributing a donation. An OTO representive will contact you to discuss the donation process. If you have any questions, please email, or call us directly at (517) 978-0006.

Intent to Contribute Form

The One-to-One Institute is a Michigan 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All contributions will be tax deductible to the full extent of the law.


About Us

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One-to-One Institute grew out of Michigan’s successful, statewide one-to-one initiative, Freedom to Learn.  One-to-One Institute is a national non-profit committed to igniting 21st century education through the implementation of one-to-one technology in K-12 settings.  Our mission is to transform education. We believe that by personalizing learning through universal, uninterrupted access to technology students will take ownership of their learning and maximize their potential. 

One-to-One Institute offers professional learning, consultancy, expertise and hands-on experience in all aspects of developing learning environments that meaningfully integrate technology. Based on the latest research and our experience in hundreds of 1:1 environments, OTO has crafted a set of best practices for leadership, infrastructure and instruction to help ensure that your program is successful and sustainable.

Also, One- to- One Institute engages you with highly qualified, experienced coaches and consultants based on your unique needs.  Digital coaches are educators with hands-on experience in one-to-one environments.  Leadership consultants are education administrators skilled in leading, developing, designing, and implementing one-to-one programs.

For more information please refer to our Services page.

Contact One-to-One Institute

Sarah Banks Middle School

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To arrange a visit with a 1:1Showcase Site, please contact the OTO office at 517.978.0006.

School:      Sarah Banks Middle School

Location:     1760 Charms Road, Wixom, Michigan 48393
District:        Walled Lake Consolidated School District
Grades:        6-8

Type of 1:1 Implementation: Blended BYOD and Laptop Carts

Walled Lake Consolidated School District was among the first public school districts in the nation to implement a one-to-one laptop initiative in 1999. Their Anytime Anywhere Learning (AAL) laptop program started in 1999 is a mix of an “opt-in” Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, and district supplied laptops on carts.

Technology is part of the district's culture.  This is a result of administrative leadership, a supportive School Board, innovative teachers, wise use of money, and a community that appreciates and expects technology use by children.  Parents/caregivers who choose to enroll their children in the AAL laptop program in sixth grade purchase a district laptop package through a specified vendor. Parents/caregivers may also purchase a laptop on their own, as long as it meets or exceeds the district hardware and software requirements.  Parents/caregivers who purchase a laptop other than the district laptop package, however, are responsible for installing, maintaining and troubleshooting any hardware and software issues that may arise with their child’s device. 

Students who enter the program are grouped in classrooms where all students have access to a laptop for their sixth grade year, where they are taught the same curriculum as the students not in the program.  The way the curriculum is taught, however, is different because of the continuous access to technology. 

Beginning in 7th grade, classes are mixed with students who share the district laptops and those who bring their own. Each middle school teaching team has a set of wireless laptops on a cart to share. Therefore, all students, regardless of their inclusion in the laptop program, use laptops in the classroom on a regular basis. 

Three years of university research found that children who have participated in the AAL program have experienced a notable increase in self-esteem, motivation, writing and editing skills, team building skills, and problem solving skills. The AAL Program received an Educational Excellence Award from Michigan Association of School Boards in May, 2002.


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One-to-One Institute is an international non-profit committed to igniting 21st century education through the implementation of one-to-one technology in K-12 education environments.