L3P Action Plan
Detroit Community Schools has a surplus of laptops. The following is an action plan of how to get these laptops into the hands of deserving students and ways for them to stay engaged using these devices. There are 60 laptops that have been taken out of rotation and are ready for distribution. These laptops are Macbooks that range between 1.2 - 1.33 GHZ. While these are far from new, each laptop is more than capable of running a Word Processors or navigating the internet.
This Action Plan proposes that our district pilots a program of no more than 25 students to learn the basics about computers, computer maintenance and digital citizenship. Students selected for the program would spend a week of their summer learning these basics and, in the end, would earn their own laptop. Below is a sample agenda for the four-day program kickoff.
5 Key Elements
Recall that real change requires five key elements. They are the vision, the skills, the incentives, the resources and the action plan. The vision is often the fun part, but it can also be the most difficult. It is important to understand WHY we do things. Technology is not a means to an ends, it is a tool that can make our lives easier. We should always keep our mission in mind and not confuse the tool for the mission. To create a solid vision, we need to know where we are at and where we are going.
1. The Vision
Having a vision requires a good understanding of where our school stands and where we are going. As the project rolls out we should constantly be moving towards our end goal. Of course the slope is not always as smooth as the graphic, there are many bumps along the way, but we should never lose sight of our vision. It is important that we get the correct slope, too much or too little time spent on the vision will create one of the two situations as shown below.
Images courtesy of Dr. Matthew J Koehler, CEP 815 at Michigan State University
2. The Skills
The skills means having a staff that is trained with the appropriate technology and can support students as they learn and grow. On staff we have an excellent technology department led by Mr. Hakim and Mr. Ray. These men are very knowledgable and skilled in both Mac and PC servers. In addition, we have Mr. Davis who has his M.A. in Educational Technology. DCS also has outside groups to help provide support. These IT Dream Team is more than capable of leading staff Professional Development sessions over the summer and for the 2013 - 2014 school year.
3. The Incentives
Without incentives there is little reason for either the students or staff to change. Without incentives any plan for change is likely to meet resistance. The incentives for successfully implementing technology are there. For students, lessons are more fun and engaging. Students see a direct connection between what they are studying and their own lives. For teachers there are also major incentives. Their students are much more likely to be engaged and on-task. Lessons become more exciting to teach and students can start using higher level skills like application, analysis and synthesis of data rather than simply recalling it.
Additional Incentives include:
* All students can access the material regardless of skill-level (Universal Design for Learning)
* Multiple representations of the curriculum
* Increased student engagement both in and out of the classroom
* Benefits students who are absent during lessons
4. The Resources
Detroit Community Schools has been blessed with a generous amount of resources. Each modular has it's own laptop cart and at least 3 computers per room. In addition, each room has it's own Promethean board and Elmo document camera. In the High school there is two fully equipped Mac labs and each classroom has its own Promethean board and Elmo document camera. In addition to this, DCS currently has 60 Macbooks that are slated to be distributed to deserving students. As I stated in my Prezi, often times having enough technology is not the problem, the problem is somethings have the right action plan.
5. The Action Plan
Perhaps the most important element of change is an action plan. With the summer rapidly approaching we have the opportunity to take stock of where we are today and where we plan on going for the 2013 - 2014 school year. For our action plan to be successful, we need to start rolling out part of the plan over the summer months. This is our Laptop Pilot Program. We can then monitor how successful we are with implementing technology and make corrections for the fall.
Technology should be a large part of how we educate our students. I look forward to working with the IT department and the DCS staff on successfully implementing a technology action plan and I welcome everyones input.