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Technology Counts: K-12 Seeks a Custom Fit: Schools Test Individualized Digital Learning

Thursday, March 24, 3 p.m. EDT
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 Technology Counts: K-12 Seeks a Custom Fit: Schools Test Individualized Digital Learning(03/24/2011) 
10:13
edweekbryan: 
'Morning, folks. We've just gone ahead and opened up the chat for questions - please submit any you have down below. We'll be kicking off the chat at 3pm EDT, with guests Penny Bishop, Brent Truchon (and one of his students!), and Tech Counts editor Kevin Bushweller.
Thursday March 24, 2011 10:13 edweekbryan
2:56
edweekbryan: 
Hello again, folks. We'll be getting underway with our chat on Technology Counts and using digital tools to personalize learning in just a few minutes. Remember to submit any questions you have down below!
Thursday March 24, 2011 2:56 edweekbryan
2:58
edweekbryan: 
I'm now handing it over our moderator for the day, Katie Ash, who was a staff writer for the latest issue of Technology Counts (http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2011/03/17/index.html). Take it away, Katie!
Thursday March 24, 2011 2:58 edweekbryan
2:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thanks Bryan!
Thursday March 24, 2011 2:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:00
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Welcome everyone to today's chat. We have lots of exciting guests here with us today - Penny Bishop, Brent Truchon, EdWeek's own Kevin Bushweller - as well as a very special guest - Norah, who is a student at Brent's school.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:00 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:01
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I'd like to start by asking everyone to please introduce yourselves so everyone knows who you are!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:01 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:01
Penny Bishop: 
Hi there. I'm Penny Bishop and I'm the Director of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. I'm a former middle school teacher and work with teachers who are interested in integrating technology into student centered classrooms.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:01 Penny Bishop
3:01
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Hi, Penny!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:01 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:02
Norah S (8th grade): 
I'm Norah Senftleber. I'm in eight grade and I have been on the Navigator team for two years!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:02 Norah S (8th grade)
3:02
Brent Truchon: 
Hello, my name is Brent Truchon and I am a social studies teacher on a 5 person team. We are called the Navigator Team-we have 4 core teachers and 1 special educator. We're are currently in our second year of a 1to1 laptop initiative.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:02 Brent Truchon
3:02
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
As our panelists are typing up their introductions, I'd like to invite everyone to please submit questions for Norah, too!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:02 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:03
Kevin Bushweller: 
I am the executive editor of Education Week Digital Directions, executive project editor of Technology Counts, and an assistant managing editor for Education Week. I oversee all our ed-tech coverage. I am really looking forward to this discussion.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:03 Kevin Bushweller
3:03
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:03 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:03
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I wanted to start by asking a pretty general question to get started before jumping into specifics.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:03 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:03
[Comment From AngelAngel: ] 
What is your definition of innovative use of technology and curricula
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:03 Angel
3:04
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What exactly does it mean to use technology innovatively? Penny? Brent? Do you want to chime in on this?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:04 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:05
Brent Truchon: 
I'd be happy to. When I think of "innovative" I immediately think of how technology enables teachers and students to go beyond the walls of the classroom.

-----
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:05 Brent Truchon
3:05
Penny Bishop: 
Great question, Angel. To me, using technology in an innovative way means being responsive to kids. And integrating it into learning in ways that help them create knowledge, not merely receive it. We like to think of it as helping to close the gap between students' in school and out of school technology lives.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:05 Penny Bishop
3:05
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great. Now that we have the definition out of the way, here's a good one for Brent.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:05 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:05
[Comment From Jerry CaseJerry Case: ] 
Have any of the panelists deployed 1:1 laptop initatives? And if have they seen any increase in student achivement?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:05 Jerry Case
3:06
Brent Truchon: 
In our two years we've had partnerships with local non-profits, skyped with authors, skyped with a rural school in Uganda, create videos that are used by local non-profits.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:06 Brent Truchon
3:08
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Do you think that has helped student comprehension of the topics you've studied in class, Brent?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:08 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:08
Brent Truchon: 
@ Jerry....Yes, we're in our second year of our 2 year initiative. I do not have concrete DATA that supports a measurable increase in student achievement, but I can say that I have seen a significant increase in student engagement and growth in their problem solving skills.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:08 Brent Truchon
3:09
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent. Norah here is a question for you:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:09 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:09
[Comment From Will_NYCDOEWill_NYCDOE: ] 
I have a question for Norah: do your teachers ever need help from students in using technology or computers? Have you ever explained something to Mr. Truchon?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:09 Will_NYCDOE
3:09
Kevin Bushweller: 
I would like to follow up on that question regarding the link between technology use and student achievement. I think schools, in general, are still struggling to establish that link. But there are initiatives out there, such as Project K-Nect in North Carolina, which are beginning to show connections between technology use and higher student achievement. It is better math scores in the case of Project K-Nect.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:09 Kevin Bushweller
3:10
Norah S (8th grade): 
@ Will
Our teachers have a lot of knowledge in the subject of the technology and usually do not have to ask us questions. There have occasionally been times that us as students will tell teachers a quick shortcut but nothing major.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:10 Norah S (8th grade)
3:10
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Yes, and I should say, if any of you panelists have anything to add to each other's answers, please feel free to jump in!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:10 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:11
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question for Penny:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:11 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:11
[Comment From HannahHannah: ] 
How is this going to continue for this 8th grader entering high school? Is the high school ready to support the tech savy learner or will it be like taking too many steps back to where you were in elementary school?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:11 Hannah
3:11
Kevin Bushweller: 
Norah: What have your teachers taught you about how to use technology to learn?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:11 Kevin Bushweller
3:11
Brent Truchon: 
student comprehension- I would say that access to technology has helped students to better understand material because it affords teachers to deliver material in many different ways...for example, we recently were discussing Checks and Balances in American Government. To help students understand, I was able to have a class discussion, show a video, have students play an "on-line game" called Checks and Balances....
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:11 Brent Truchon
3:12
Brent Truchon: 
...have my students discuss issues on a blog for homework...this was all done in one day!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:12 Brent Truchon
3:12
Norah S (8th grade): 
Our teachers have given us great programs and websites that we are able to use online.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:12 Norah S (8th grade)
3:13
Penny Bishop: 
We certainly try to work with high schools after our initial work in the district middle schools. In other sites, it has expanded into the high school. In this case we're currently working with the high school to make exactly that happen, through grant writing. We should, however, realize that the technology gap is only one of the gaps we should think about with high schools. We need to encourage collaborative learning, personalized learning... in addition to tech use.


Thursday March 24, 2011 3:13 Penny Bishop
3:13
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great. Let's talk hardware.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:13 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:13
[Comment From AlinaAlina: ] 
What are the essential technology tools to make individualized digital learning meaningfully successful?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:13 Alina
3:13
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Brent and Norah - what tools are available for use in your school?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:13 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:14
Brent Truchon: 
Would you define what you mean by tools? Hardware? Software? Web 2.0?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:14 Brent Truchon
3:14
Kevin Bushweller: 
Penny: Milton Middle/High School managed to expand it from middle school to high school, as we reported in Technology Counts. How were they able to do that and how has that made it a smoother transition for 8th graders there?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:14 Kevin Bushweller
3:15
Norah S (8th grade): 
@ Alina
On our team each student has their own laptop to use in classes. Also in the classrooms there are Smartboards that are used daily.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:15 Norah S (8th grade)
3:15
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Brent - maybe start by telling our guests what hardware is available in your classroom. And then if you'd like to add some resources, I'm sure our guests would love to know what you're using.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:15 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:16
Norah S (8th grade): 
We also have the use of still cameras and video cameras.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:16 Norah S (8th grade)
3:16
Penny Bishop: 
Thanks, Kevin, for that question. Yes, Milton has been successful in that largely because it was viewed as so successful at the middle level. Strong leadership, decreasing technology costs and creative and aggressive pursuit of funding all made the difference.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:16 Penny Bishop
3:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Norah - is there any piece of technology that you currently don't use in school that you think would be helpful in the future?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:16
[Comment From AlinaAlina: ] 
@ Brent both by all means!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:16 Alina
3:17
Brent Truchon: 
Tools- OK...as Norah suggested, we're very fortunate in that all students have laptops, we have a Smartboard, flipcams, digital cams, an elmo, head phones.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:17 Brent Truchon
3:18
Norah S (8th grade): 
No, I can not currently think of any pieces of technology that would be helpful.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:18 Norah S (8th grade)
3:18
Penny Bishop: 
Alina, we also continue to be intrigued by the potential of cell phones and other devices that students may already own and how they may be integrated into daily learning.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:18 Penny Bishop
3:18
Kevin Bushweller: 
Brent: As we reported in Technology Counts, it's not just about the technology. It's about seizing the moment to make things relevant. How does the use of digital tools help you seize the moment? I am thinking of the face-to-face and online discussion you had about Egypt when you were studying the American Revolution.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:18 Kevin Bushweller
3:18
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great segue into Bob's question:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:18 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:18
[Comment From BobBob: ] 
I have to wonder how many kids have mobile phones in their pockets and why schools aren't tapping into the thousands of dollars of computing power those phones represent (without tapping into school budgets for hardware)?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:18 Bob
3:19
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Norah - do you have a cell phone? Are you allowed to use it in school?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:19 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:19
Brent Truchon: 
In terms of student resources, there are so many that the key, in my opinion, is selecting a managable amount for your needs, then learning to use them well. Our team has adopted a free online student management system called EDU. It's capablities are amazing. All lessons, videos, handouts, announcements, grades, rubrics....are all placed in this portal. cont.....
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:19 Brent Truchon
3:20
Norah S (8th grade): 
Yes Katie I do have a cell phone. During school students are not allowed to use cell phones.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:20 Norah S (8th grade)
3:20
Penny Bishop: 
Bob, we agree. We are still thinking about ways to do that but agree that there is tremendous untapped potential. The emergence of educational gaming raises additional questions about the potential of powerful gaming systems in kids' homes.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:20 Penny Bishop
3:20
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question about assistive technology:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:20 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:20
Brent Truchon: 
....cont - students get work online, submit assignments, and collect graded work. This is an amazing feature because not only do they build a portfolio but, more importantly, they can see growth and refer back to previous assignments for direction.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:20 Brent Truchon
3:20
[Comment From RoxanneRoxanne: ] 
What technology is recommended for students with learning disabilities?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:20 Roxanne
3:20
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Penny - is this something you are looking into at all?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:20 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:21
Penny Bishop: 
Will, the link for EDU2.0 is edu20.org
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:21 Penny Bishop
3:22
[Comment From Will_NYCDOEWill_NYCDOE: ] 
Thanks!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:22 Will_NYCDOE
3:23
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Brent - here's a good one for you:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:23 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:23
[Comment From Sharon KeehnerSharon Keehner: ] 
Do you suggest that students pick from a list of projects to serve as assessments or should everyone do the same project? And are rubics the best way to access these project based learning assessments?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:23 Sharon Keehner
3:24
Penny Bishop: 
Roxanne, we certainly are thinking a lot about students with disabilities, particularly in mainstream classrooms. We have found digital storytelling to be a very powerful tool for all students, especially in the teaching of writing and with students with language challenges. Also, many reading tools for visual impairments such as text to speech software. Washington University has done good work on math disabilities as well.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:24 Penny Bishop
3:24
Brent Truchon: 
@ Roxanne, a signicant percentage of our students are on 504 or IEPs. We also have 61 different language spoken in our district. I can speak to specific software but I can say that using laptops seems to be a way to meet all learners where they are. Techonology is what kids are comfortable with....by using it in the classroom, it's easier for many to access resources that are appropriate and engaging.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:24 Brent Truchon
3:25
Penny Bishop: 
HI Sharon, we're seeking individualized learning opportunities and in many cases it requires students to pose their own questions and ideas of projects rather than choosing from a list. We hope to increase student choice opportunities.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:25 Penny Bishop
3:26
Penny Bishop: 
@Sharon, something like these individualized opportunities beg for more carefully thought out rubrics, that reflect long term learning objectives and outcomes as opposed to project-specific ones.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:26 Penny Bishop
3:26
[Comment From JuliaJulia: ] 
I am currently involved in developing an action research project to determine the effectiveness of our 1:1 Take It Home Netbook program. Any suggestions for measurement of success (especially in the area of Language Arts)?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:26 Julia
3:26
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
This relates to a question submitted by Julia:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:26 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:27
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Tips for her? How do you determine that a program is effective and rigorous when trying out new, technology-rich forms of instruction?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:27 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:28
Penny Bishop: 
It depends on your definition of success. Traditional measures of academic performance are probably important to gauging the success of the project but we're equally interested in evaluated often overlooked outcomes such as student engagement. We need to find ways of determining if kids are experiencing learning as engaging.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:28 Penny Bishop
3:28
Brent Truchon: 
@ Guest- Differentiating and accomodating continues to be a struggle. I believe that student management systems can/will be helpful in this process. Currently though, EDU, which is our system does not allow this to happen as easily as it could. For example, I had to create 5 different classes today so that I can administer different tests/assignments to different students.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:28 Brent Truchon
3:29
Kevin Bushweller: 
Julia:

Are the students reading more? And are their reading analysis skills improving?

Are they writing more? And are their writing skills improving?

Are they using the devices to do online research? And what is the quality of their online research?



Thursday March 24, 2011 3:29 Kevin Bushweller
3:29
Penny Bishop: 
@ Julia, we are also interested in the effect over time, so we're looking at students' long term school success up through high school completion or non-completion, behavior and test scores.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:29 Penny Bishop
3:31
[Comment From Jerry CaseJerry Case: ] 
Just a comment ...I guess while 1:1 initatives my show local student achievement the main measurement/achivement goal would be passing state standardized testing, sadly.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:31 Jerry Case
3:32
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Brent, Penny - thoughts?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:32 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:32
Kevin Bushweller: 
Regarding Jerry's comment, how (Trent and Penny) do you balance innovation with accountability? Seems like a challenge.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:32 Kevin Bushweller
3:33
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Norah - do you feel like technology allows you to explore your personal interests in school more often?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:33 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:34
Penny Bishop: 
Jerry, I agree that that in our era of high stakes accountability this is a major challenge. We need to also advocate that state testing become more about 21st century skills that are currently reflected. Further, just because state test scores occupy a central place in the dialogue on school quality doesn't mean that high school graduation rates, access to post-secondary education, school climate and other issues don't also end up driving schooling policy.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:34 Penny Bishop
3:35
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question I think both Kevin and Penny will have something to say about:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:35 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:35
[Comment From beatrizbeatriz: ] 
How can we garantee that technology is not an end in itself inside the classroom? What kind of training does the teacher need in order to work with this vision of technology?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:35 beatriz
3:36
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How do we make sure that teachers aren't using "technology for technology's sake"?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:36 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:36
Penny Bishop: 
@ Kevin and the balance between innovation and technology, an extension may be that accountability is often a moving target and we should expect that people will move beyond test scores as the sole indicator of effectiveness.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:36 Penny Bishop
3:37
Brent Truchon: 
Jerry, three years ago our school was identified as a "failing" school. While I can't say for sure that student test scores have improved because of this initiative, I can tell you that many of our students have acknowledged that they are more engaged. While it is true that laptops affort an opportunity for us to escape the confines of the classroom, we still accept that a main job of our is to teach students to read, write, and compute. Academic rigor and expectations have in no way been compromised and, because kids are more engaged in their learning, we are seeing students achieving at levels we haven't previously seen!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:37 Brent Truchon
3:38
Penny Bishop: 
Beatriz, in our case we work to emphasize serving the needs of young adolescents. With that as the aim we can continue to challenge teachers to look at the student first and then consider how the technology might meet their cognitive and other developmental needs. Questions we might ask, is it contributing to their personal development? social and emotional?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:38 Penny Bishop
3:39
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's another question for Norah:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:39 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:39
[Comment From LilyLily: ] 
Norah - How does technology affect your day to day learning?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:39 Lily
3:39
Kevin Bushweller: 
The simple answer to that question is to always remember that the technology is the tool to get something done. If it helps a student master algebra more effectively than paper-and-pencil methods then it is doing its job. If it does not help, or becomes more of a distraction than a helping hand, then it is not doing its job. It is all about learning the academic content--it is not about the bells and whistles.
Teachers need ongoing training to master this type of teaching. First, they need to be comfortable using the tools, then they need ongoing training in best practices and opportunities to share ideas with colleagues.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:39 Kevin Bushweller
3:41
Norah S (8th grade): 
Lily, the technology I have been using everyday has given me an opportunity to be more hands on. Also I am able to see live videos relating to what we are studying, and we are often able to work on interactive projects.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:41 Norah S (8th grade)
3:41
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
This question/comment by Martin seems to piggy back on what you were saying, Kevin.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:41 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:41
[Comment From martin harrismartin harris: ] 
at the risk of sounding somehwat Luddite, I hope your speakers will address the virtues of digital, as somewhow superior to non-digital, for introducing primary-graders to the 36 symbols needed to go further in literacy and numeracy.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:41 martin harris
3:41
Penny Bishop: 
@Kevin's point, the opportunities to share ideas with colleagues is one of the most important aspects of successful teacher education in technology integration. In our newest site, we have found the regular, facilitated sharing to be key to teacher professional development.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:41 Penny Bishop
3:42
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I know we are talking more about the upper grades, but it seems important to evaluate all the different instructional methods before automatically opting for the most high-tech.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:42 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:43
Brent Truchon: 
The technology truly has become the pencil and paper for our students. It's a given. We use it each day because it makes sense. Students are more organized, engaged, and efficient which allows them to spend more time critically thinking about problems that they are presented how to share their solutions in a way that demonstates what they've learned.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:43 Brent Truchon
3:43
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's one from Deirdre:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:43 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:43
[Comment From DeirdreDeirdre: ] 
What did you put in place with teachers BEFORE laptop distribution to insure that laptops would just not be e-distractors and/or superpencils and calculators?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:43 Deirdre
3:43
Penny Bishop: 
Martin, Kevin's point about technology being primarily a tool is an important one to keep in mind. Yet we are increasingly convinced that technology contributes to a cultural context that kids live in whether we like it or not. In order to meet kids in that context we have to figure out the ways in which technology can help us reach our goals. There are virtues to non-digital ways of engaging students yet even in the primary grades we should be mindful of the potential disconnect between the way kids are learning in and out of school.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:43 Penny Bishop
3:45
Penny Bishop: 
Great question, Deirdre. We have approached this differently with each of the three schools we work with. Key to all has been the opportunity for regular common planning time for teachers, time during which they can share, trouble shoot, and plan. However, prior to the initiative in each case, teachers enrolled in a graduate course focused specifically on the nature of the young adolescent and the potential of technology within that framework.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:45 Penny Bishop
3:46
Penny Bishop: 
@Deirdre, we also think that ongoing professional development is essential for moving teachers forward because it's a paradigm shift. It's not about technology. It's about thinking differently about teaching and learning and the teacher's role.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:46 Penny Bishop
3:47
Norah S (8th grade): 
As a student I often use technology out of school. The opportunity to use technology in school too has greatly engaged students.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:47 Norah S (8th grade)
3:47
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's another question about the role of the teacher:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:47 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:47
[Comment From KedreKedre: ] 
How does the use of technology in the classroom impact the teacher's role as an educator? How can technology and the teacher work together to create the best learning environment possible?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:47 Kedre
3:47
Kevin Bushweller: 
Norah: What types of things do you use technology for out of school? in school?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:47 Kevin Bushweller
3:48
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Brent has first-hand experience with this.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:48 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:49
Norah S (8th grade): 
Kevin, out of school I use my cell phone, my father's computer, my iPod, and I often watch television. In school we are capable of using laptops, smartboards, video cameras, cameras, and the Elmo.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:49 Norah S (8th grade)
3:49
Brent Truchon: 
Deidre, thanks for a great question. I will say that I am very fortunate to have 4 very thoughtful and innovative teammates. Initially, we looked for models that had exactly what we were looking for in one neat and tidy box. When we didn't find that we hit the road and started researching. We used bounced ideas of of Penny and the folks at UVM and visited schools that had been using laptops for a while. Not finding the perfect answer for our situation we did a lot of thinking, planning, and critiquing. Ultimately we came up with a hybrid from a variety of different sources that worked well for us. This model has continued to grow and evolve
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:49 Brent Truchon
3:51
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Kevin - do you have anything to add in terms of key elements to creating an ideal learning environment with technology?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:51 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:51
Penny Bishop: 
To all @ Norah and her examples of technology use, one great study that we find helpful is the Kaiser study on media in the lives of 8-18 year olds. You can find it at kff.org
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:51 Penny Bishop
3:52
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Norah - do you or your classmates feel more excited or engaged with learning when you are encouraged to use technology?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:52 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:53
Brent Truchon: 
@ Kedre- Kedre, don't get me wrong I am still THE teacher. I love this role; however, our classroom is a learning community. I run up against things every day-especially when it comes to the technology that I can't do on my own. The students are only to happy to help out when this occurs. Gladly, I'm there to be an expert for them as well. Our students have built a learning environment that is built on trust, respect, and give and take. Fortunately the teachers are an intregral part of this equation...both as the givers and takers...
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:53 Brent Truchon
3:54
Kevin Bushweller: 
I think Rich Tarrant, a former CEO of a high-tech company in Vermont and the founder of the Tarrant Foundation, said put it best in the story I wrote for TC.

He said: "I think the answer to that question is trial and error. And it's really important that the teachers understand the kids. Why is Joey different than Susie?"

Thursday March 24, 2011 3:54 Kevin Bushweller
3:54
Norah S (8th grade): 
Katie, I believe that my classmates and I feel both excited and engaged with learning while we are using the technology we have. It keeps us engaged with real life, hands on projects and it is fun even while learning.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:54 Norah S (8th grade)
3:55
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent. We are almost out of time here, but I'd like to try and get in one or two more questions. Here's one for Brent, and I think Penny might want to chime in:
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:55 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:55
[Comment From Jerry CaseJerry Case: ] 
Brent, now that you are in the second year what were some issues you ran into in the first year?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:55 Jerry Case
3:56
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What lessons have you learned from your experiences implementing technology in the classroom? What might you do differently?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:56 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:56
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I'd also like to remind everyone that you can read much more about this topic in the latest issue of Technology Counts 2011, available here: http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2011/03/17/index.html
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:56 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:57
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And you can forward a digital version of the report to your colleagues! http://www.edweek.org/go/tc11download
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:57 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:57
Penny Bishop: 
Sure, Katie. I'll chime in with a few issues other teachers have faced when starting out. We had substantial netbook reliability issues at one site that resulted in a return of 250 netbooks. In another site we had considerable teacher turn-over. One school faced parental pushback toward a more traditional non-tech curriculum.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:57 Penny Bishop
3:57
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Penny - how did those teachers address some of those challenges?
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:57 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:58
Brent Truchon: 
@ Jerry- well, initially, we did have parents who were justifiablly skeptical. Were we going to be using technology just for the sake of using it. This was a battle that we fought for a period of time but, truthfully, when parents were able to see for themselves that not only did these machines help students to be more productive and efficient, but it was also providing learning opportunities not previously avialable, this skeptism disappeared. cont...
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:58 Brent Truchon
3:58
Norah S (8th grade): 
I think everyday there will be a challenge big or small, but we have adapted as students and teachers to deal with these challenges and to continue learning.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:58 Norah S (8th grade)
3:59
Brent Truchon: 
@ Jerry...a second issue was our network...this was a huge frustration as we didn't have sufficient bandwitch to handle our needs. This has been rectified by our very responsive tech support team...cont...
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:59 Brent Truchon
3:59
Penny Bishop: 
Katie, with great tenacity! And clear, unambiguous support from school and district leadership. Leadership has played a key role in this. And in time the critical mass of parent support has fallen in behind the project. Another piece that teachers often face is the assumption that they need to learn everything about a tech tool before they use it in the classroom. We encourage teachers to let go of that and let the students help them find the way.
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:59 Penny Bishop
3:59
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great! I think Brent might be wrapping up his last thoughts here, but in the meantime I'd like to thank you all for attending the chat and asking such thoughtful questions!
Thursday March 24, 2011 3:59 Moderator: Katie Ash
4:00
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And thank you so much to our guests - you all have been so informative.
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:00 Moderator: Katie Ash
4:00
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
A transcript of the chat will be available here once it is closed.
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:00 Moderator: Katie Ash
4:00
Norah S (8th grade): 
Thank you very much for having me!
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:00 Norah S (8th grade)
4:00
Penny Bishop: 
It's been a pleasure! Thanks for such great questions. I'm happy to talk with anyone who wants to follow up at pbishop@uvm.edu.
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:00 Penny Bishop
4:01
[Comment From Jerry CaseJerry Case: ] 
Thanks for the chat opportunity!
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:01 Jerry Case
4:01
Kevin Bushweller: 
Thanks to our readers for joining us!
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:01 Kevin Bushweller
4:01
Brent Truchon: 
@ Jerry...presently our biggest problem is time. There is so much out there that we're constantly looking for ways to do everything better. While this is good for kids, I sometimes wonder if it is also a detriment. When do you have enough tech tools (web 2.0)? What we as a team need to do (in my opinion) is begin to refine and reflect. Once we figure our what really works for kids and what doesn't then we should begin to explore other resources....easier said than down:)
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:01 Brent Truchon
4:03
edweekbryan: 
Thanks again to Penny, Kevin, Brent and Norah for participating, Katie for doing a great job moderating, and a special thanks to all you viewers out there that joined us today. As Katie mentioned, we'll have a transcript of this chat available on edweek.org by COB today. Cheers, all.
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:03 edweekbryan
4:13
 

 
 
 

Technology Counts: K-12 Seeks a Custom Fit: Schools Test Individualized Digital Learning

Thursday, March 24, 3 p.m. EDT

As schools and districts turn to digital tools to personalize teaching and learning based on students' strengths and weaknesses, many are finding that this approach requires quite a bit of trial-and-error to determine what works best. And they say that the more innovative use of digital devices and curricula needs to be balanced by a strong commitment to maintaining academic rigor. Our guests discussed the approaches they are using and how they are working to find that perfect balance between innovation and accountability.

Guests:
Penny Bishop, the director of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education at the University of Vermont
Brent Truchon, social studies teacher, Edmunds Middle School, Burlington, Vt.
Norah Senftleber, 8th grade student of Brent Truchon, Edmunds Middle School, Burlington, Vt.
Kevin Bushweller, executive project editor, Technology Counts 2011

Katie Ash, writer, Technology Counts 2011 and staff writer, Education Week, moderated this chat.

Related Stories:
  • Navigating the Path to Personalized Education (March 17, 2011)
  • Vt. Initiative Seeks to Balance Innovation, Accountability (March 17, 2011)
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