1:1 Laptop Programs as Part of “Embedded Design”

Pat Basset forwarded a link to ISED-L about the research article about 1:1 programs:

The End of Techno-Critique: The Naked Truth about 1:1 Laptop Initiatives and Educational Change
by Mark E. Weston and Alan Bain

It’s an interesting article on several levels.  It addresses criticism of 1:1 laptop program, but it also defines laptops as cognitive tools that should be part of larger whole school change initiatives in pedagogy and curriculum.  This is something I’ve advocated for many years.

Of particular interest to me is the final third of the report, which makes suggestions as to how “embedded design” is needed when schools change or adopt new objectives.

Here are two paragraphs from page 12.

One, the community comprising the school – students, teachers, school leaders, and parents – must have an explicit set of simple rules (Bain, 2007; Seel, 2000) that defines what the community believes about teaching and learning. The rules and the process of building consensus about them, assign value to what the community believes (e.g. cooperation, curriculum, feedback, time). The rules are not a mission statement; instead, they are the  drivers for the overall design of the school and the schooling that occurs therein (Weston & Bain, 2009).

Two, the school community deliberately and systematically uses its rules to embed its big ideas, values, aspirations, and commitments in the day-to-day actions and processes of the school (e.g., physical space, classroom organization, equipment, job descriptions, career paths, salary scales, curriculum documents, classroom practice, performance evaluation, technology, professional development). Embedded design yields a complete picture, absent of the broad, loosely coupled (Weick, 1976) brush strokes and sweeping references to “best practice” (Daniels et al., 2001) or “excellence” (Peters, 2009) that characterize techno-critique and are common in most approaches to educational change, innovation, and reform.

The following sections discuss building community involvement in this process, so that new embedded tools or objectives are requested as part of the overall change, instead of layered on top with unclear objectives.

It’s a good article– check it out.

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