1 to 1 Experiment: Year Two

On August 14, we began the second year of our 1 to 1 initiative at Wabash Middle School.  This year we expanded from grades 6-8 to grades 4-12!  Our K-3 rooms are nearly 1 to 1 with iPads.  As you may recall, I'm not one to rely on quantifiable data, however it's the most reliable evidence to some people, so let me throw some hard data at you.  Our enrollment is up over 2% for the 2nd straight year--in a town with a declining population.  Our middle school had the highest standardized test scores we've had in our history.  Our math scores alone went up over 3%.  Our middle school enrollment increased over 10%, and not from students moving in from far away areas.  Most of our new students came from neighboring districts--districts that are ALSO 1 to 1.  There is much more, but we know real learning can't be quantified.  However, these numbers have created quite a buzz in our community.

We held an open house for students and parents the night before school started.  We distributed computers, setup computers, signed papers, gave basic instructions, and communicated classroom information.  Over 90% of our parents and students came (for the second year in a row)--in a district with historically low turnout for open house and parent/teacher conferences. 

We are a fully integrated Google Apps for Education school now, so every student has a secure CIPA friendly email address and access to Google's amazing apps.  My 7th grade team began a digital portfolio this year we are calling a Museum of Learning.  I would like to see our museum extended in both directions, and eventually be K-12.  This type of authentic assessment could actually be useful to students in future endeavors, be it college or career.

We have discussed including students in our technology team.  What a great opportunity for a students to leave high school with 4-7 years of experience in Apple repair, support, and troubleshooting.  Our teachers are assembling authentic content and initiating exciting creative projects.  Of course, this is not true of every teacher or every building.  Each building is at their own phase of implementing a 21st Century class.  Hopefully, time and professional development will help foster a break from traditional education--creation rather than consumption, publishing rather than "turning in", presenting rather that submitting, conversation rather than quizzing, authentic rather than canned, and inspiration rather than obligation.  So, here's to a poverty stricken small midwestern town of 11,000+ breaking a 100 year old mold of public education with our feet dangling off the cutting edge of education and technology!

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