An essential part of our 1:1 pilot is collecting feedback from students, teachers, and parents about how the pilot is impacting student learning and success. Eight weeks into our project, we asked our parents to respond to four questions (we will be asking students themselves a set of questions in the coming week) that we will repeat later in the year. The four questions are:
How would you classify the value of this tool:
in terms of enhancing your child’s engagement and motivation?
in terms of enhancing your child’s collaboration and communication with teachers and peers?
in helping your child be efficient in terms of organization and material management?
in terms of enhancing your child’s involvement in innovative learning experiences?
These questions closely track five benefits we hoped to see in a 1:1 program that we laid out in our original proposal, including personalization and differentiation of learning, enhanced engagement and motivation, opportunity for innovation through group and project-based learning, opportunity for collaboration, and improved student work flow. In our first assessment of the data we received, there are some early conclusions we can draw and some important questions raised.
The first conclusion is that the program is providing positive benefit. For each question above, the percentage of respondents who answered with either Extremely Important or Very Important was at least 76%. In response to three of the four questions, zero respondents said that the Chromebook was Not Important. We would be thrilled with this level of response in most programs, but are especially heartened in this pilot phase of our program, when one of our explicit goals is to try different things, take risks, and see what works. Our pilot team teachers have done incredible work in a very short period of time learning how to leverage this opportunity for the benefit of students.
We are pleased at the strong positive response about whether the program is enhancing student involvement in innovative learning experiences. Again, these are early days for our teachers, and there is always some need to “get up to speed” on basics before being able to confidently innovate – but they have done so and more. We also wondered how much parents would be able to see this innovation, but they clearly are, or are hearing about it from their students. More on that below.
There were a few responses in the comments section about mathematics and how to best use the Chromebook in that discipline. Interestingly, the responses ranged widely from those who were concerned the device is not a match (I have also seen some frustration in trying to pull math problems off the web) to those who believed they saw a great fit (I have noticed that this is amazing for Math!!). Another parent wondered if the device wasn’t best tailored to disciplines with more research and writing than to math. These are important observations. We also wonder how to best support student work in mathematics and blending “hands on” calculation, while we are also finding significant benefit in “flipping” the classroom by providing teacher (and student!) made video tutorials about important math concepts that students can access at home.
Finally, there were some responses that have us thinking about the best ways to demonstrate and have students demonstrate the high-level, complex tasks they are engaged in with 1:1 technology. Our ELA teacher, for example, has been using the technology to shift more rote, mechanical work like grammar into a homework setting, while using class workshop time to provide live feedback on writing and raise expectations for all students. But what might this look like at home? It might look like we are using the 1:1 devices to do more grammar – and that’s not what we want to communicate. It is an important consideration as we move forward and want to maximize the involvement of parents in student learning.
We encourage you to read the full summary of parent responses, including all comments. We have only had a first pass at it ourselves, and know it will provide the basis for a lot of rich conversation on the team.