RED Team

Stricter Filters and Rules Are Not the Answer for Laptops in School

In January, I wrote a piece about the Natick, Mass., public school district’s Digital Conversion, a program designed to transform and reshape how technology is used to improve its education system. For Natick, that meant issuing district-owned MacBooks to all of its students, grades 8-12, enabling a 1:1 blended teaching and learning environment with the goal of achieving college and career readiness for its students.

Nearly a year after Natick’s program was launched, the district is currently fielding rigorous, objective measures of its progress. In the absence of that data, there are no great disasters to report, which some might count as an achievement. But when you have an engaged student body that is doing everything from conversing with peers in Costa Rica through Twitter in a history class, to designing and producing their own online magazines, the result is a population of students developing skills that can easily be transferred into future careers. These are some of the fruits of Natick’s digital conversion so far.

To read more about the challenges on the way, click HERE.

Idaho's $3 Million School Tech Pilot Aims to Support Educational Outcome

For the next two years, many educators in Idaho will spend time evaluating the utility of new devices, websites and applications in their school districts, thanks to a $3 million technology pilot involving 11 schools across the state.

More than 80 schools applied for about $20 million in funding to participate in the Idaho State Department of Education (ISDE) project, but the limited schools that were chosen represent a cross-section of the state that will allow officials to accurately evaluate the success of future widespread technology deployments, said ISDE Director of Instructional Technology Alex MacDonald.

To read more, click HERE!


Today, eleven schools across Idaho will begin putting their vision for the next-generation classroom into action, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today. The goal is for these schools to utilize $3 million in state funding to pilot innovative technologies that, if successful, might later be duplicated in every school across the state to give Idaho teachers the tools they need to help raise academic achievement.

It’s part of the Idaho Technology Pilot Program, which the Idaho Legislature established earlier this year.

“This is another step forward in providing equal access and opportunity to all Idaho’s students,” Superintendent Luna said. “The demand for technology in our schools continues to grow. Through these grants, we will be able to meet the needs of just some. In the future, we will take what we learn from these pilots and expand our efforts so all students – not just those who are fortunate enough to attend these schools – but every student in Idaho has equal access to the best educational opportunities.”

To view the rest of the release, including the list of schools that were awarded (Congratulations Kuna!), click HERE!

How To Address Negative Student Behavior in 1:1 Classrooms

I strongly believe that technology is going to completely revolutionize the classroom. But when are we going to start addressing the negative aspects of the one-to-one classroom? When are we going to acknowledge the fact that just because every student has a device it does not mean that they will get a 36 on the ACT? I have seen videos of babies that can play with an iPad, but that does not mean that high school students intuitively know how to use one to effectively collaborate and communicate in the classroom.
Let’s be honest: using technology in the classroom can be harder than teaching the ‘old way’.

It takes a whole new skill set, and it requires a lot of work to get ourselves over the new barriers caused by the technology. We can overcome the obstacles, but we need to acknowledge that the obstacles are there. A hurdler does not run down the track blindfolded – he has to see the hurdles in front of him if he is going to clear them and win the race.

To read more, click HERE!