District Administration - June 2011 - (Page 42)
Special Technology RepoRT
Pioneering States in One-to-One Implementations
Three states led the way in large-scale one-to-one programs.
By SUSAN McLESTER
The most high profile one-to-one implementations have come at the state level in Maine, Michigan and Texas, providing valuable examples for administrators to learn from.
An unexpected $50 million state surplus allowed Gov. Angus King to finance the 2002 deployment of Apple iBooks to all of Maine’s seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers under the newly legislated Maine Learning Technology Initiative. The primary goal of MLTI was to transform learning to prepare students for the technology-based workforce and, in turn, help boost the state’s economy. The state contract with Apple bundled iBooks, warranties, wireless networking, professional development and technology support to educators and students for just $242 a year per child. The first deployment in the fall of 2002 put iBook G3s in classrooms, the next upgraded to G4s in 2006 and MacBooks were distributed in 2009. Because each district maintains autonomy, programs and procedures vary, says Jeff Mao, learning-technology policy director in the Maine Department of Education. Some districts have elected to add a fulltime computer technician to the staff or incorporate certain software. In the fall of 2009, MLTI began a push to expand to high schools, which already could participate in the same Apple contract the middle schools had, but at local expense. About 60 percent of the state’s high schools are involved, with the hopes that all will be using it by 2013. While a uniform increase in standardized test scores remains elusive, Mao sees the state’s continued faith in MLTI as one measure of success. “When we expanded
42 June 2011
Students in the Mooresville (N.C.) Graded School District use their laptops outside the classroom.
to high schools in the fall of 2009, we did so amidst the worst financial crisis we’ve seen in the U.S. since the Great Depression,” he says, and more than half of Maine’s communities voted to expand the program through local budgets. Mao says it is still too early to measure the program’s impact on the state’s economy, as the middle schoolers who were the first group of one-to-one users are college juniors. However, he does point out that grants from MLTI and the National Science Foundation have paid the salaries of several scientists employed to create computer-based simulations for use in schools. And Mao notes the positive economic impact of what he calls “edutourism,” or the boom in local hotel and restaurant business due to education delegations visiting the state to observe MLTI.
Spearheaded in 2001 by Gov. John Engler and Speaker of the House Rick Johnson,
Michigan’s Freedom to Learn initiative was a state-legislated one-to-one program designed to enhance student achievement in core subjects and to equip students with the necessary skills to contribute to the state’s workforce. A successful demonstration phase in 2002-2003 led the state to expand it in 2004. FTL had a specific focus on sixth grade, because research had shown that many students began losing interest in school during that year. A partnership with HP provided 23,000 middle school students and teachers in 100 school districts with laptops. The $37 million program, financed through Title II D federal and state technology funds, focused first on high-needs schools and was designed to include all 130,000 of the state’s sixth-graders within the next four years. HP provided wireless infrastructure, laptops, filtering, content and assessment software, professional development and a help desk available 24/7, all at a cost of $250 per student.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - June 2011
District Administration - June 2011
From the Editor
Lessons Learned from One-to-One
Partner for One-to-One Success
The Changing Role of the CTO
New Directions for Special Ed
District Administration - June 2011