Earlier this week, Project Tomorrow, Kajeet, and Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative were featured in Dian Schaffhauser’s “Internet Access as Vital as Devices to Boosting the Learning Experience” in The Journal. The article discusses the results from our three-year study at Falconer Elementary School in Chicago, IL, which were published in our Making Learning Mobile 2.0 Report. Read an excerpt from Schaffhauser’s article below:
“Within the school 127 fifth grade students and their four teachers were outfitted with Samsung Android tablets and SmartSpots for personal use. Just over a third of the students told the researchers that they didn’t have access to high-speed Internet at home.
As part of the study, the four teachers also received 56 hours of professional development, coaching and mentoring ‘to increase their effectiveness with using the tablets for instruction.’ Because this was the second year of the study, the researchers initially thought the educators would have a greater ‘comfort level’ in their use of the device and online tools within their instruction. However, staffing changes meant that only two of the original four were part of the fifth grade class in the second year, which meant half the teacher team still had a learning curve. Yet, noted the report, ‘The teachers’ strong commitment to professional development and their willingness to incorporate new strategies and resources into their classroom is a hallmark of a successful and maturing mobile learning project.'”
Interested in learning more about the Making Learning Mobile study? Read the Journal’s article, “Internet Access as Vital as Devices to Boosting the Learning Experience” by Dian Schaffhauser, and check out the Making Learning Mobile 2.0 Report.
THE Journal is dedicated to informing and educating K-12 senior-level district and school administrators, technologists, and tech-savvy educators within districts, schools, and classrooms to improve and advance the learning process through the use of technology. Launched in 1972, THE Journal was the first magazine to cover education technology. THE Journal is the leading resource for administrative, technical, and academic technology leaders in K-12 education.
Professional Development Model Being Implemented to Support State’s Schools
Raleigh, N.C. — On Jan. 8 and 9, over 50 instructional technologists and coaches, mentor teachers, and media coordinators came together at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation for the first event of the yearlong North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaches Network (DLCN): Building Change Agents in Education program.
The Friday Institute has collaborated with Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit organization, and North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) to develop the DLCN to assist schools and districts in the process of digital learning transitions, and to cultivate local capacity by providing support to those in coaching roles, as coaches are essential to leading and supporting student-centered digital learning and teaching.
“Project Tomorrow is partnering with the Friday Institute to extend what we learned from our National Science Foundation funded Teachers’ Readiness to Adopt and Adapt Digital Content grant to more education leaders in North Carolina,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “This research demonstrates the importance and value of instructional coaches to help teachers leverage technology effectively to enhance student learning experiences.”
Based on research on effective professional learning, the DLCN will provide ongoing, job-embedded and peer-supported professional development that is grounded in relevant and rigorous curriculum and instruction. This program seeks to ensure that participants have access to personalized and sustainable opportunities centered around pedagogy and digital learning with a significant emphasis on strategies that allow them to apply that knowledge to build capacity among educators, administrators, and students in the school.
Throughout the year, the cohort of educators will reconvene and interact with education experts through monthly face-to-face reunions and in an online environment. This structure will provide participants opportunities for professional networking and collaboration within a blended and sustainable community for the sharing of ideas and strategies. They will also acquire strategies and knowledge related to best practices in leadership and supporting stakeholders in their schools and districts.
“In giving these coaches an opportunity to learn and network with other educators who are in similar roles, we are helping to build a support structure that will ultimately have a positive impact on student learning experiences,” said Nancy Mangum, a research scholar at the Friday Institute and a project lead for DLCN.
This blended learning experience, built on the North Carolina Media Coordinator, Instructional Technology Facilitator & Coaching Evaluation Instruments, will help participants grow as educators, coaches and leaders while assisting them in building strong professional learning networks. The core components of Leadership and Culture, Content and Curriculum, Sustainability and Evaluation, and Being a Connected Educator are woven throughout all components of the DLCN experience.
About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow (www.tomorrow.org), a national education nonprofit organization headquartered in Irvine, California, supports the innovative uses of research-based science, math and technology resources to develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity in K-12 students. Project Tomorrow addresses the challenges of developing schools for the 21st century through national research projects, community and school-based programs, online tools and resources, and advocacy efforts to ensure that all students are prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and engaged citizens of the world.
About the Friday Institute
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation (fi.ncsu.edu) at the North Carolina State University’s College of Education conducts research, develops educational resources, provides professional development programs for educators, advocates to improve teaching and learning, and helps inform policy-makers, all centered on innovations that will help prepare K–12 students for college, a career, and citizenship in the global information age.
Making Learning Mobile 1.0:
Leveraging Mobile Devices to Transform Teaching and Learning
“This project represents a landmark study in the developing K-12 mobile learning space, this study is important because it gets beyond simply putting a tablet in the hands of students, and it examines how to effectively implement tablets within instruction to improve student learning” —Julie Evans, CEO Project Tomorrow
As part of the Making Learning Mobile study, Chicago 5th grade and Fairfax County 8th grade students were provided with educationally-managed broadband Android tablets using the Kajeet Sentinel® platform to connect kids in school and at home. The objective of the study was to evaluate how the students used the devices, in school and out of school, to support their schoolwork and extend learning beyond the classroom. While the majority of 8th graders in the Fairfax County study had high-speed Internet access at home, only 39 percent of the Chicago 5th graders had similar access. Therefore, the Chicago study represented an opportunity to provide first-time home access to the Internet for many families, a ground-breaking initiative within Chicago schools.
While each study resulted in different findings based on the student grade level and demographics, some common results included:
- Students appreciated having a personal tablet because it made it easier for them to get online at school, review class materials whenever they wanted and read online textbooks outside of school all without competing for home computer access.
- Teachers creatively used the tablets in a variety of ways to engage students in learning, to increase student-teacher communications, and to support instruction.
The Making Learning Mobile study is continuing this school year within Chicago Public Schools.
Kajeet, the only wireless service provider dedicated to kids and education, is solving the digital divide in schools. Kajeet for Education provides portable Wi-Fi hotspots with school-managed off-campus Internet connectivity. Giving teachers or administrators the ability to set access hours and filter out non-educational content, the Kajeet Sentinel® platform, gives students the access to essential academic resources on the Internet anytime, anywhere. The Kajeet SmartSpot™ is compatible with all devices students use today and is 100 percent compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). For more information, please visit us at www.kajeet.com/education
About Project Tomorrow
Project Tomorrow®, the national education nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering student voices in education discussions, designed and implemented this program evaluation for Kajeet for Education. Project Tomorrow has 17 years of experience in the K-12 and higher education sector and regularly provides consulting and research support to school districts, government agencies, business and higher education institutions about key trends and research in science, math and technology education.