RED Team

Why High-Tech Teaching Is a Win for Everyone

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When Lyndsey Winslett's daughter Ava was home sick last year for six weeks, the fourth-grader didn't miss a single lesson -- her smiling face was right there in class with her friends, pixelated on a computer screen. Thanks to Alabama-based Huntsville City Schools' 1:1 program, which supplies one laptop or tablet for every child in grades 1-12, Ava's teacher was able to dial her student right into the classroom via Skype.

"Every morning her classmates would look into the camera and say, 'Hey, Ava,' 'Good morning, Ava.' It was amazing," Winslett says. "When she finally made it back to school it didn't feel like she had been gone -- there was no tough readjustment or playing catch-up on missed lessons."

Increasingly, programs such as these are becoming more prevalent. Although many public schools in America are still struggling with budget cuts and classroom size, other school systems in Pennsylvania, California, Colorado and elsewhere are making the bold decision to put aside traditional textbooks in favor of laptops and e-readers. The goals? Improving students' grades and saving money for schools and parents.

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Daily Adventures - Anthony Salcito's 365-day look at global heroes in education

“[The most exciting innovation happening in education today] is transforming to a student- centered ecosystem and realigning teachers’ pedagogy to completely support the personalized approach.” – USA

Leslie Wilson - USA
Oct 28

The next Microsoft Partners in Learning Virtual University webinar takes place on November 7th from 7-8 a.m. PST and 5-6 p.m. This session focuses on 1-to-1 Learning: The Next Wave, and features global experts including Leslie Wilson, Lord Knight, Neus Lorenzo and Pamela Livingston. The dynamic discussion will cover some of the most exciting innovations in 1:1 education today. For more details on this important dialogue, and to register, click here.

One-to-one education isn’t new. The first program calling itself “one-to-one” started in Australia in 1990, and the practice has been evolving – under many names — around the globe ever since. For Leslie Wilson, who spent over three decades as a teacher, principal and administrator, 1:1 learning is key to unleashing the potential of every student. And it was the inspiration behind the organization she founded, the One-to-One Institute.

The Institute is a national non-profit committed to bring 1:1 technology to K-12 classrooms. They offer professional training, consultation and a set of best practices to ensure that leadership, infrastructure and instruction are aligned to make 1:1 implementation not only successful, but also sustainable.

The mission of Wilson’s organization – to transform education – is undoubtedly ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of big thinking that is moving the needle when it comes to education reform. Wilson believes that educators must be, “regaining a deep commitment and practice for students’ creativity and production, instead of regurgitation and consumerism.”

Wilson has a unique understanding of what’s working – and what isn’t – when it comes to education technology. She is part of the team of experts who started Project Red, a wide-ranging research initiative designed to examine the effectiveness of current efforts to integrate technology into the classroom. The results inspired the Project Red team to form a transformational learning community to help accelerate the progress in this key area of learning.

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Software Project Failure Costs Billions.. Better Estimation & Planning Can Help

There are so many studies attempting to quantify the cost of software failures.  They don’t agree on percentages but they generally agree that the number is at least  50 to 80 billion dollar range annually.

Standish Chaos Reports:  Standish is probably the most referenced.  They define success as projects on budget, of cost, and with expected functionality.  There are several updates to the Standish “Chaos” reports. The 2004 report shows:

  • Successful Projects: 29%
  • Canceled projects cost $55 Billion Annually?
  • Challenged Projects: 53%
  • Failed Projects: 18%

Standish Findings By Year Updated for 2009    

  1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2009
Succeeded 16% 27% 26% 28% 34% 29% 32%
Failed 31% 40% 28% 23% 15% 18% 24%
Challenged 53% 33% 46% 49% 51% 53% 44%


Most projects cost more than they return, Mercer Consulting: When the true costs are added up, as many as 80% of technology projects actually cost more than they return. It is not done intentionally but the costs are always underestimated and the benefits are always overestimated. Dosani, 2001

Oxford University Regarding IT Project Success (Saur & Cuthbertson, 2003)

  • Successful: 16%
  • Challenged: 74%
  • Abandoned: 10%

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Get Ready: MOOCs Are Coming to K-12

Innovation usually inspires some measure of misunderstanding, and the growing phenomenon of massively open online courses is no different. One misconception is that MOOC creators are out to replace teachers and schools. "MOOCs are not intended to do that," confirms Howard Lurie, vice president for external affairs at edX in Cambridge, MA. "We are looking to enhance teaching and learning."

In his role with edX, a not-for-profit initiative created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Lurie works with partners around the world in what he calls an ongoing grand experiment. Part of that experiment may ultimately include offering portions of MOOCs to augment the high school advanced placement (AP) curriculum.

"With edX, we could perhaps help to bring about a new breed of AP courses," says Lurie, a former AP Humanities teacher. "That new breed would be in the form of a very significant and enhanced platform…and it all leads to ways in which we can use blended models to teach AP courses." Other companies are jumping on the idea of MOOC-enhanced AP classes too: Tablet-maker Amplify recently announced that it will offer a free, two-semester AP Computer Science MOOC with in-school support.

Lurie believes the hybrid approach is one way to enhance knowledge and branch out from the lecture-based instruction that can grow stale, even when it comes from the best teachers.

To read more, click HERE!