Thanks to Marty's initiative, last week we traveled to Burlington to meet with John and Penny from UVM's Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. The Tarrant Institute has formed partnerships with schools to promote technology integration in middle schools-perfect for us!
We spent two hours sharing our experience last year with our iPad 1:1 in the 8th grade, the successes, the challenges, and our hopes for this year. As I am new to RMS, and didn't experience the 1:1 last year, getting a chance to dig into the details of the program was so helpful. I was able to gain a sense of where I, as an administrator with Mike, can offer support this year.
Below are a few notes that I took that Marty, Mike and I will discuss when we debrief next week.
1) They encouraged us to revisit our teaming structure. They pointed to many examples and research that shows effective teaming should be in much smaller groups than we currently operate.
2) They fully support the idea of a parent advisory committee, and also encouraged us to think of more ways to involve parents and the community, examples: family media contract, student-run tech sessions for parents and community members, involving parents on teams (I am sure there were more but these were the big ones for me).
3) More PD time. They cited numerous studies that show that initiatives need at least 60 hours before real change will happen. They shared their PD framework that they've used with other 1:1 rollouts.
They also suggested we look at participating in their their Middle Grades Institute next summer as this might be a great opportunity for some of our teams.
There was much more, but these were some of the highlights that stuck out for me. Thankfully, Penny and John offered to continue to serve as a resource for us as we move into year two.
I'll continue to post on this blog as we move into our second year of our iPad 1:1 in the 8th grade.
Follow Tarrant on Twitter: @innovativeEd