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Well Implemented Education Technology Can Fuel Reform
by Leslie Wilson
The Project RED findings are providing long needed data to support education technology expenditures. We are in the process of presenting our results across the country. We are thrilled with the feedback, comments and questions we are receiving. More importantly, the realization that by engaging the key findings and implementation factors, can guide educators to flesh out solid, effectual plans for reforming education.
First, it’s important to provide a quick overview of our key findings in our report, “The Technology Factor-Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost Effectiveness”.
Key Finding 1. Nine key implementation factors are linked most strongly to education success.
Schools are in a technology implementation crisis. While education technology best practices have a significant positive impact, they are not widely and consistently practiced.
These nine key implementation factors emerged as primary ingredients for improved student educational outcomes. A series of analyses, including predictive modeling, of our self-reported survey data, were used to flesh out these critical dynamics. Details can be found in the full report which is due out next month. See www.projectred.org. The nine factors are:
Key Implementation Factors (rank order of predictive strength)
Intervention classes: Technology is integrated into every class period
Change management leadership by principal: Leaders provide time for teacher professional learning and collaboration at least monthly
Online collaboration: Students use technology daily for online collaboration (games/simulations and social media)
Core subjects: Technology is integrated into core curriculum weekly or more frequently
Online formative assessments: Assessments are done at least weekly
Student/computer ratio: Lower ratios improve outcomes
Virtual field trips: With more frequent use, virtual trips are more powerful. The best schools do these at least monthly
Search engines: Students use daily for research
Principal training: Principals are trained in teacher buy‐in, best practices, and technology‐transformed learning
Key Finding 2. Properly implemented technology saves money.
There is substantial evidence that technology has a positive financial impact, but for best results schools need to invest in the re‐engineering of schools, not just technology itself.
Key Finding 3. 1:1 schools employing key implementation factors outperform all schools and all 1:1 schools.
A 1:1 student/computer ratio has a higher impact on student outcomes and financial benefits than other ratios, and the key implementation factors (KIFs) increase both benefits.
Key Finding 4. The principal’s ability to lead change is critical.
Change must be modeled and championed at the top.
Key Finding 5. Technology‐transformed intervention improves learning.
Technology‐transformed intervention classes are an important component in improving student outcomes.
Key Finding 6. Online collaboration increases learning productivity and student engagement.
Social media and collaboration drive improved graduation rates and other academic improvements.
Key Finding 7. Daily use of technology delivers the best return on investment (ROI).
Schools must incorporate technology into daily teaching to realize the benefits.
There has been research pointing to a lack of connection between education technology and student outcomes. We know why. Having the ‘stuff’ – hardware and software-does not in and of itself make a difference. Technology is a tool, an adjunct and efficient way to aid, enhance, and expedite teaching and learning. Quality teaching and a guaranteed curriculum matter most. ‘Meaningful’ integrated work using technology is of prime importance. In addition – we have the nine factors above that are indicative of well implemented technologies. Unfortunately, most schools, even the highest performing schools in our research, are engaging more than 4 of these 9 key factors! Imagine what can happen if schools well implement their technology!
The good news is that with the information we now have, schools can build effectiveness by working toward the incorporation of the nine key factors. Every school’s point of entry may be different. Each environment has its own culture, values, environment, demographics, performance indicators and goals. It makes sense that there is no robotic protocol each organization must follow. But having the nine key factors as a roadmap can well guide the process.
More next writing about superintendents’ responses to the RED findings.
Leslie Wilson is CEO of One-to-One Institute (OTO), a national not-for-profit serving schools, districts, states and countries in their implementation of 21st century teaching and learning. She is co-authoring the national research initiative, Project Red (www.projectred.org). Ms. Wilson’s consultancy, Wilson Public Sector Consulting, LLC, serves the education industry. She holds a BS Ed and completed Ed Leadership doctoral work from the University of Michigan, Sp Ed Administration endorsement from Eastern Michigan University and M. Ed in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University. email@example.com