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Mobile devices, used under the guidance of highly qualified teachers, offer powerful ways to engage K-12 students, spark their curiosity, and improve achievement. But budgets are tighter than ever. How can cash-strapped school systems give all students access to vital educational technologies?

NOT LONG AGO, Douglas Creef, a veteran science teacher at Stuart-Hobson Middle School in the District of Columbia asked his mostly struggling seventh-graders to express in writing their attitudes toward challenging academic work. One student, asked whether he takes on challenges, responded: “When something hard come [sic], if I can’t get it, I skip it.” Asked how much effort he puts into schoolwork and other tasks, he says: “I only do the work I get. I don’t do extra.” To the question of whether he learns from mistakes, he writes: “I try to forget and make an excuse. I try not to be blamed.” Asked how he feels, he responds: “I want to give up.”

This report is a synthesis of ongoing research, design, and implementation of an approach to education called “connected learning.” It advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement. This model is based on evidence that the most resilient,
adaptive, and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support to overcome adversity and provide recognition.

Blended learning that combines digital instruction with live, accountable teachers holds unique promise to improve student outcomes dramatically. Schools will not realize this promise at large scale with technology improvements alone, though, or with technology and today’s typical teaching roles. In this brief, we explain how schools can use blended learning to encourage improvements in digital instruction, transform teaching into a highly paid, opportunity-rich career that extends the reach of excellent teachers to all students and teaching peers, and improve student learning at large scale. We call this a “better blend”: combining high-quality digital learning and excellent teaching. Schools can immediately pursue a better blend at small scale. To achieve excellent learning at scale, state policymakers must change state policy to enable and incentivize a better blend in large numbers of schools. These policies must address five categories: funding, people, accountability for learning, technology and student data, and timing and scalability.

This paper is the answer to a question: What would the education policies and practices of the United States be if they were based on the policies and practices of the countries that now lead the world in student performance? It is adapted from the last two chapters of a book to be published in September 2011 by Harvard Education Press. Other chapters in that book describe the specific strategies pursued by Canada (focusing on Ontario), China (focusing on Shanghai), Finland, Japan and Singapore, all of which are far ahead of the United States. The research on these countries was performed by a team assembled by the National Center on Education and the Economy, at the request of the OECD.

Schools all over the country are developing technology plans to implement “ubiquitous computing” in some form. By “ubiquitous computing,” people usually mean a combination of two key ingredients: wireless networking which provides high-speed Internet access, and a 1-to-1 computer-to-student ratio, achieved in most cases by the acquisition of laptops. The educational press has reported on many experiments such as the Maine Laptop Initiative, and similar programs at the local and state level. The new XO, “$100” computer provides an added dimension of affordability and innovation, along with the attractive vision of universal access to computer power and the many gifts of the World-Wide Web.

This report summarizes the results of a yearlong effort to integrate laptop computers among all the students and teachers in grade three of the Eastern Townships School Board.

This report summarizes the 2006-2007 evaluation results of the Michigan Freedom to Learn (FTL) program

This report summarizes the 2005-2006 evaluation results of the Michigan Freedom to Learn (FTL) program.

Research Report: The Wireless Writing Program 2004-2005 Prepared for: Peach River North (SD 60), Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada

 
 

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.

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