Thursday, November 29, 2012

Microsoft big says stop doing 1:1 technology programs


You might be surprised that when Anthony Salcito, VP of education for Microsoft speaks with educators around the world and asks them who’s doing a 1:1 laptop program or 1:1 tablet program or 1:1 interactive whiteboard program, he tells those with their hands up :

“Stop doing that.”

He explains that he’s seen whole initiatives centered around various devices to the point that many other useful tools and pedagogy are thrown out the window so the device-driven initiative can be supported.  When we do that, we’re focusing on the wrong thing. 

Salcito explains that an education initiative should never have technology as the primary focus. Instead, it should focus on learners. When that happens, the real work of purposeful and meaningful learning can take place.

At Microsoft’s Global Forum in Prague Salcito shared that while there are a lot of hot topics that this year’s Partner’s in Learning educators are focusing on, none will be as successful as they could be if we don’t put students front and center before technology.  That means having a clear vision on how student learning goals can be supported with technology. 

Once we customize our 1:1 learning to students rather than devices, educators can focus on innovative practices like honoring and amplifying student voice, rethinking physical and virtual learning environments, gamification, personalized learning, and more.

12 comments:

  1. I would hope that is what most schools are striving for in their use of technology. However, the financial crisis has limited some of the things we do with students. However, we are moving ahead in spite of that to improve student learning, including the implementation of teacher created online courses that have strong discussion components to them. We can't afford 1:1, but as a technology coordinator, part of my job is to be the advocate for student voice and a model of learning that moves beyond the vending machine approach education has been stuck in for so long. I'm excited to see some of the things are students are doing as we implement Web 2.0 applications that help them learn, create, innovate, and problem-solve. Your post is a helpful reminder that we need to have "the end in mind" as Stephen Covey says when we think of the tools we provide students and teachers in the learning environment.

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  2. I'm guessing Microsoft is against 1:1 because the majority go iPad, Mac or Chromebook.

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    1. @mathdifferently. Lol i was thinking the same thing!

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  3. Well, 1-1 certainly makes learning more fun, but do computers actually help students to master material in a deeper manner? Is there a broad base of research (studies NOT funded by computer companies like Dell, Apple,Google, Aruba Networks etc.) that demonstrates sound pedagogical evidence that constant daily interaction with computers makes students better critical thinkers and problem solvers? This is a serious question. Anyone have links to studies? I don't think there are any, but I'm open to learning about some.

    We are seriously pushing forward with a possible 1-1 solution, and I am reminding folks at our high school that the educational goals come first. So where's the research.

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  4. I love the point that we need to focus on learning, not digital devices. After reading your post, I published this post: http://promotingstudentengagement.blogspot.cz/

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    1. Love your ideas Eric and would like to up you one and suggest we have Student:World initiatives. You can read my comment at http://promotingstudentengagement.blogspot.com/2012/11/1-to-world-not-11.html?showComment=1354535504685#c8442800703080580110

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  5. Hi Lisa, could you provide a link to Anthony's comments? I'd be interested to read in full what the broader context around the valid points that you are highlighting was.

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    1. Hi Graham,
      It was a one on one interview, but the context is that student learning goals are what should be driving the use of technology.

      I have experienced the same thing when people come to me and say we have a Smartboard initiative or and iPad initiative. In the past I don't think we would have said I have a pen or pencil initiative. Initiatives should be about students not technology.

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  6. While I certainly appreciate and welcome debate on this subject...and can appreciate the need for a juicy headline. Please let me clarify my position here...as the above is a bit off from what I discussed and what I believe.

    1:1 is an absolute essential reality. Connecting students with the world, with each other, with endless content and curriculum is a very good thing and a priority for schools and education leaders. As we observe the potential for transformative and personalize learning paths, the ability to impact every student to reach their potential can be realized like never before. In addition, our world of work has been changed and the skills needed by students to succeed in todays and tomorrows workplace will definitely include technology and a healthy usage of 21st century competencies.

    The point I made...and on this their shouldn't be much debate...is that as we do 1:1...we need to focus on the RIGHT ONE. We need to move beyond technology acquisition projects to embrace a deeper and more substantive shift in the learning paradigm. We need to serve the needs of students and teachers and deliver a learning path that is predictive, reflective and responsive to needs and goals.

    Technology is great but students and teachers are better. We need to serve them and the broader implications on our schools and communities. Technology is here to serve and it will continue to get better and better...but the speed of impact is determined by how deeply we apply technology's value to the core job at hand.

    Let's raise expectations for the 1:1 activity taking place...starting first with the learning journey and the purposeful plan to drive outcomes.

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    1. @AnthonySalcito,
      I don’t see where the headline differs from what you are saying which I understand to be that one to one should be about people, not technology, first. Just as we wouldn’t have a 1:1 pencil program, no longer should we have a 1:1 laptop (or whatever device) program. Instead, it’s time to flip our thinking and put students first when we talk about programs. These programs should be one student to the world of learning possibilities rather than one student to a tech device.

      I don’t believe the headline in the context of the story implies that tech is not a tool that we use to connect students to learning. To the contrary, we’ll always use tools, but the center of our work should be what tools fit the student rather than fitting the students to the tools. The reason I see the headline as juicy is not because it misleads, but because it is a smart shift in thinking where we put learning before devices.

      I don’t think innovative educators see much debate on the topic either because they often tend to see students first. Those who might see things differently are the IT tech folks in places where they are not involved in pedagogy and the districts allow decisions to be lead by those who are not pedagogues. That, I believe is a mistake, and a topic worthy of discussion.

      That said, it still seems the headline conveys the sentiment you shared in the conversation and the comment. We shouldn't do tech programs but rather programs that focus on students. However, I’ll defer to you and ask what headline do you think is appropriate to convey this idea that programs should be about students before devices?

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  7. I believe that the headline reflected the rhetorical approach of Mr. Salcito. While the intent was to push educators toward continued analysis of the role of the learner over the role of devices, his statement, "Stop doing that!" was a deliberate attempt to provoke attention by suggesting an extreme position. This, in turn was reflected in the headline.

    My more basic concern is with the assumption that many educators AREN'T planning with the learner in mind. It is extremely facile to suggest that mere "gadget fever" drives these initiatives, rather than deliberate intentional efforts to improve education. To point to failed initiatives as proof of a lack of intentionality belies the essential reality of our time. The next 15 years are going to be extremely messy in the education universe, and there will be many wrong turns and failed initiatives because no one really knows the direction. To suggest that there is one right way seems the height of hubris.

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  8. As a long-time advocate and author of an ISTE book on 1-to-1, I applaud the stance on being deliberate and purposeful about 1-to-1. It should never be a "me too" project, there should be serious attention to the goals of 1-to-1 and how students, teachers, administrators are involved - but first and foremost about how teaching & learning is enhanced.

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