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Thread: Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings

  1. #16
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    Jeff B., to paraphrase a comedian whose name I forget, "Look, I don't come down to your place of employment and knock the broom out of your hand, so why don't you give me the same courtesy and let me decide how to do my job."

    There's a difference between brief personal comments on the Town Crier web site and ones (here, in this case) requiring more care in an official capacity.

  2. #17
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    Default Roll the Tape, Please...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Jeff B., to paraphrase a comedian whose name I forget, "Look, I don't come down to your place of employment and knock the broom out of your hand, so why don't you give me the same courtesy and let me decide how to do my job."

    There's a difference between brief personal comments on the Town Crier web site and ones (here, in this case) requiring more care in an official capacity.
    To help us while Jeff is "searching for the plan," check out http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...2c59ef27a2cb1b to watch the 1/11 WSC meeting. The interesting discussion begins at around 51:30, where Leisha Simon talks about how every district in the country and the world is starting an SCI (wow, that's amazing!). It really starts to get good at the 1:15 mark where committee members readily talk about how there is no plan for the SCI. Jeff D., very tellingly, tells the committee at 1:19 that they voted in November to just ask for $750k and there's a lot of flexibility in what they can do with the money. He comments that (not exact words, but very close) voting at this meeting to be any more specific is not required. Either Barb or Deb comments that they agree (I couldn't tell who). The vote then comes up and passes without objection.

    Guess what folks, the final plan as voted on at the 1/11 meeting was to ask for the money and figure it out later! It is on tape!

    No wonder it is taking so long to come up with the plan, Jeff. As I've said all along, there was never one to begin with! I continue to raise the question, if the SC is willing to do this with $750k, where else in the operational budget (this was a capital request) do they simply ask for the money and either figure it out later or spend it wastefully? I highly doubt this is one-off, but since we, as citizens can't figure out the budget, how do we know?

    P.S. -- Thanks to a resident I do not know who has been following this conversation and was appalled by Mr. Dieffenbach's assertions regarding the plan. She e-mailed me offline and pointed much of the above out to me. She has never posted on this site, as far as I can tell, and did not wish to do so here.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    So spare me the lectures on virtues....
    Apparently, the lecture's point wasn't well received.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Apparently, the lecture's point wasn't well received.
    What exactly should we patiently waiting for, Jeff? Are you and Doc Brown going to jump in the Delorean, targeted to the 1/11 meeting shown on the tape, and present some kind of an actual plan? Louis clearly said on the tape that there was one line item in the technology request related to the SCI. You clearly said there was no need for a revote as it provides for "flexibility" in using the money. This money is not the property of the SC, it is taxpayer money. As a taxpayer, I'm not interested in patience when it comes to outlandish, unsubstantiated money grabs.

    Once again, despite your objections and misdirection, the tape tells us everything we need to know!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Apparently, the lecture's point wasn't well received.
    Apparently, I'm not the only one interested in this subject. The one-and-only Letter to the Editor in this week's Crier addresses the very issue being discussed in this thread (http://www.wickedlocal.com/wayland/n...ed-for-laptops).

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Apparently, I'm not the only one interested in this subject. The one-and-only Letter to the Editor in this week's Crier addresses the very issue being discussed in this thread (http://www.wickedlocal.com/wayland/n...ed-for-laptops).
    While we continue to wait for Jeff to come up with the plan (how many days has it been?), I figured it it made sense to keep providing more of what we know DOES exist here. I checked the minutes and found Ms. Simon's capital request amount and the subsequent vote to ask for $750K:

    http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...7d40d1e4553af8

    It starts at 2:13:00… the vote is at 2:29:00. There is Ms. Simon's presentation before 2:13:00 if you want to see that, too. The SC asked for the capital with no plan in place… they voted that they would come up with a plan later. Guess they weren't able to get the plan in place in time.

    Here's another telling moment:

    http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...774a090697f186

    This debate starts at 1:03:30 and lasts till 1:20:30. First, Ms. Simon wants all 4 grades at the HS to get the computers, but the funding is only for the kids who can't afford it. The rest of the kids would be required to bring their own laptops to school! She goes on to promise the SC members that she would create links with teacher demonstrations so they can view classroom instruction with laptops. Jeff, did you ever get the links she was supposed to send? I know, I know...you'll post them but you don't have them at your fingertips [GRIN].

    Here's one more appearance by Ms. Simon on 12/21/09:

    http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...3a060e7ecb6238

    This one starts at 18:00. Again (drumroll, please)… they arrive at no plan.

    By now, it should be obvious that despite Jeff's lectures on patience, we are looking at a request for money approved by the SC and sent to FINCOM that had no backing of a plan!

    I have now begun to wonder, doesn't this really call their credibility into question for all the money they're asking for related to this technology request? I'm in no way against technology and improving our schools, but by voting yes on this request at TM, we are effectively giving the SC and their IT director (neither of whom seem to have an idea what's going on here) free license to spend the money as they so decide wthout any kind of plan to benchmark against or standard that must be upheld. It is money that comes from our pockets that has no accountability strings tied to it. They won't even have any real requirement to spend the money on technology -- it could ostensibly be spent by Gary Burton/the SC on anything he/they wants. We'll just have to take their word for it-- something I'm not willing to do.

    What else is in the schools operating and capital budgets that mirrors this approach?

  7. #22
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    I would definitely like to be confident that the teachers will make good use of the technology, and would like to make good use of the technology, before spending on the laptops.

    I am also concerned about spending all this money on laptops that may duplicate what students have at home. Once ready to require laptops for all students, the school could instead, as many colleges do, specify a particular model that they would like all students to have, and then provide a grant for students who cannot afford one. [I realize there are problems with this approach, as many who really don't have sufficient funds may be reluctant to request the help. Nonetheless, I'm not sure I want to be ask all taxpayers to fund laptops for my kids.] The laptops are going to be obsolete by the time each kid graduates, so these are not items that are going to be passed along to the next generation of students. I would rather have the students own, and be responsible for, the laptops themselves.

    It may be, down the line, that these laptops can be used to save the district money -- perhaps all textbooks will be delivered on them, for example, and perhaps online learning can be used to supplement teacher instruction in a way that enables larger or fewer classes. Are we there yet? I am eager to hear more about what other districts are doing, and the successes (or failures) they are having. Jeff, do the plans you intend to post include this sort of information?
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 03-19-2010 at 02:18 PM.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I would definitely like to be confident that the teachers will make good use of the technology, and would like to make good use of the technology, before spending on the laptops.

    It may be, down the line, that these laptops can be used to save the district money -- perhaps all textbooks will be delivered on them, for example, and perhaps online learning can be used to supplement teacher instruction in a way that enables larger or fewer classes. Are we there yet? I am eager to hear more about what other districts are doing, and the successes (or failures) they are having. Jeff, the plans you intend to post include this sort of information?
    Great questions, Kim. Those kinds of ideas are representative of the basis for a plan I have continued to ask about. Having viewed the SC meetings where this initiative was discussed, and read through the minutes of meetings looking for anything else, the answer is, sadly, that nothing even close to this was part of any concrete thinking supporting the ask for money. The basis of the plan was ask for the money and figure it out later.

  9. #24
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    I'd like to give a special thank you to the former Wayland Public Schools technology director, Jean Tower, for the foundation she put in place, to the current WPS technology director, Leisha Simon, for building quickly and competently on that foundation, to the members of the Technology Task Force (TTF) for their expert guidance, and to the residents of Wayland for their continued support.

    To put the School Committee's most recent technology capital request in perspective, it's worth looking back on the recent history of technology planning and capital budget requests.



    Building on this work, the School Committee submitted initial (early January) and final (early February) FY2011 technology capital requests to the Finance Committee.


    For additional technology resources, see the department's home page. In particular, note the "Technology Around the District" link at the bottom of the right navigation section.

    The School Committee's discussion of the FY2011 technology capital request began in the fall of 2009 with approval of a $750k request in order to meet the 2010 Annual Town Meeting article submission deadline, with the understanding that more detail would be added prior to the final request. In late December, the technology director and I, drawing in part on the 2009-2012 technology plan and the more recent work of the TTF, generated the initial FY11 request referenced above.

    While this plan and accompanying request were significantly more detailed than those from the 2006 to 2009 time frame, they were nonetheless met with a desire on the part of the Finance Committee for more information. Over the course of January, the technology director and I worked with the School and Finance Committees to refine the request. Along the way, it became clear that the Finance Committee was requesting a level of detail beyond what could be prepared in the course of a month.

    As a result, the schools scaled back the Student Computer Initiative (SCI) to a smaller pilot implementation and redirected the request for those funds to teacher and replacement computers, choosing to use 2010 to draw on its pilot and on the plans and experiences of other districts to develop a plan meeting the Finance Committee's requirements. The Finance Committee agreed with the pilot approach, but scaled it back by $50k and reduced the peripheral, infrastructure, and replacement computer elements of the request by $100k.

  10. #25
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    Without forcing anyone to slog through the rest of these documents, I have extracted the part of the final technology request for this year that pertains to the SCI (the subject of this thread). It reads:

    The Student Computer Initiative (SCI) is the beginning of a model 21st century school design in preparation for the opening of the new High School in 2012. The goal is to expand on teaching and instruction at the High School with online project based
    methodologies that are similar to those used in higher education and the workplace. The plan for FY11 is to implement student computer usage in a systematic way based on current efforts (see http://www.wayland.k12.ma.us/distric...strictTech.htm).

    A pilot-scale initiative will provide students with computers for in-school (not take-home) use from “pools” of computers available in selected departments. The pilot will integrate current and new classroom instruction with the use of a Course/Learning Management System/Virtual Learning Environment such as Moodle (http://moodle.org/). This will foster a movement to instruction that is rich with online resources and 21st century teaching and learning methodologies. Professional development for teachers will focus on the use of the Learning Management System to support the blended/hybrid/online learning integration.

    The objective of the pilot is to define a broader, comprehensive implementation plan for all of Wayland Public Schools, whether via the pool approach or a true student 1:1 initiative in which students would be assigned computers for school and home use. In addition, the District will experiment with student/family supplied computers with an eye towards having students supply the majority of computers, redeploying the District computers to those students who do not have or choose not to use student/family supplied computers. The District will also pursue private fund-raising, for instance from alumni and/or local/national companies, to partially offset the cost of the SCI.

    Implementation details:

    (a) Technology will be fully integrated into the Curriculum.
    (b) Professional Development for Teachers will include an introduction to the Learning Management System and the delivery of Hybrid Professional development over the summer focusing on 21st century teaching and learning methodologies. We will offer PD in-house, through the Learning Curve, VHS, and/or other online course options.
    (c) Five teachers will work together in an Inter-disciplinary Professional Learning Community to craft implementation plans and strategies that work well for future growth in our Wayland Community. They will document successes and failures and share with the entire staff.
    (d) All students involved will sign an acceptable use policy and take a pre and post assessment based on Technology Standards required by the State of MA for all graduating seniors.

    Ongoing cost:

    The assumptions that follow assume eventual 1:1 implementations at the MS and HS levels and computer pools at the ES level. Costs will be lower with a poolbased implementation at the MS and/or HS levels, with family supplied computers, with
    private-fundraising, and/or with a combination of these approaches. The Student Computer Initiative (SCI) has two distinct plans. In the Elementary Schools, the plan is to maintain two computer labs and eventually a pool of five computers in each classroom for a consistent ‘workshop model’ integration. This represents 380 classroom computers and 130 lab computers for Claypit Hill, Happy Hollow and Loker Schools. If we reach that goal, the 5-year replacement cycle would be $102,000/year.
    An eventual 1:1 SCI implementation (the high cost alternative) would see 900 computers at the High School and 600 at the Middle School. The 5-year replacement cycle for such an implementation would be $300,000/year.


    Most of what is written above is high-level summarizations. So, my question all along has been around the implementation plan associated with the SCI. Seems pretty light to me, as suspected. Under implementation details shown above, here's my questions (the letter in brackets refers to the points of the implementation plan):

    (a) What does that mean? This is a 500,000-ft. sentence with no detail.
    (b) Will this summer PD/training be required of all teahcers, or optional? If required, is there an additional cost(s) to Wayland in the form of compensation, fees for training programs, etc. If optional, how can we be assured this training will occur such that this program is ready to go come day #1 of school next year so that the computers are being used right away?
    (c) Which five teachers? How are/were they selected? Again, will there be additional compensation afforded these teachers for this extra work? If so, how much? What other resources (people, materials, training, etc.) will be required for them? How much will they cost?
    (d) Nothing substantive, except I can't see why the SCI is required for this? Need to understand this assessment requirement from the State before I can ask anything real here...

    My bigger question is, why can't we look at what others have done and model our plans based on what has worked in other places instead of re-inventing the wheel here, all the while spending precious dollars that are probably better utilized elsewhere? For example, look at Wellesley (a peer town), which has already worked on this. Amongst other resources, check out http://www.wellesley.k12.ma.us/progr...ech/index.html and look under the Core Curriculum link. It has detailed plans for how technology is used at each level of their school system. Why not meet with them, understand what works and what doesn't, and then build off that? Simply view the link above (http://www.wayland.k12.ma.us/distric...strictTech.htm) after reading through Wellesley's plans and realize how embarassingly little detail our own implemetation of technology has.

    Before spending money on the SCI and then figuring out the plan, how about figuring out the plan and then asking for the resources? Seems like that's what the FINCOM concluded as well by slashing this request. I'd say any money spent this year on this upcoming FY is foolish given our lack of preparedness as evidenced above. I'd advocate for removal of any dollars in the capital request related to SCI at TM.

    Just one man's opinion based on what has been posted. Interested in others...

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'd like to give a special thank you to the former Wayland Public Schools technology director, Jean Tower, for the foundation she put in place, to the current WPS technology director, Leisha Simon, for building quickly and competently on that foundation, to the members of the Technology Task Force (TTF) for their expert guidance, and to the residents of Wayland for their continued support.
    By the way, an update from the School Committee Budget Hearing last night. A resident asked about an implementation plan for the $25K Pilot of the SCI. Leisha Simon spoke pretty vaguely about how the Technology Task Force is working on it, developing goals and deliverables, and hoping that the plan will be ready in the next couple of months. When pressed for more details, she finally stated that the time frame is to attempt to have the plan ready by the end of the School Year. OK....

    Again, I repeat what I said above. Before spending money on the SCI and then figuring out the plan, how about figuring out the plan and then asking for the resources? The SC should be pressed to remove the $25k capital request related to SCI at TM unless a reasonable plan can be out forth by then.

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    One more note...yesterday's Crier had an article focusing on the lack of planning around the SCI. In the article, there are quotes from the aforementioned Ms. Simon and Gary Burton speaking of the lack of an existing plan.

    I'd post a link to it, but the editor of the Crier informs me they are no longer posting every article from the paper online in an effort to keep interest in buying the actual paper alive.

  13. #28
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    Default Still Wondering

    I mentioned this in another thread now that Jeff D. has returned to the board, but it was more appropriately put here. I'm still wondering, Jeff, what your thoughts on my replies to your last post on this thread?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I mentioned this in another thread now that Jeff D. has returned to the board, but it was more appropriately put here. I'm still wondering, Jeff, what your thoughts on my replies to your last post on this thread?
    Well, Jeff? Are you ignoring me simply because you have nothing left to say or because what there is to say does not support your side?

  15. #30
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    Post 24 pretty much sums it up. Anything more would more or less only amount to "he said, she said." Dibs on "he."

    I encourage residents interested in educational technology and the Wayland Public Schools to attend the Technology Information Exchange on Thursday, April 15, in the Wayland Middle School Auditorium at 7pm. Later this weekend, my plan is to post a bit more information about the meeting format.

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