Exploring Measurement | Literature Review

I recently researched a number of articles and studies that reviewed 1:1 initiatives around the world.  My reviews can be accessed here: 1:1 as a disruptive innovation and mobile learning around the world.

Even more recently I looked at online published works that studied 1:1 initiatives with a variety of 1:1 devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. since I am still unsure which path to choose when it comes to the initiative at my school.  I’m 90% certain that I am going to go with iPads since there are 30 on campus that I can start helping teachers implement into their classrooms.  However, I thought I would look at the differences between the 2 initiatives as well.  Turns out, there are successes found using both!

1:1 initiatives have been dated as far back as 1989 in Australia (Richardson, McLeod, Flora, Sauers, Kannan, & Sincar, 2013).  There is an abundance of information on the internet about the successes and pitfalls of 1:1 initiatives.  I will break up the remainder of the review into what is working, what can be done better, and what I’d still like to know.

What is working:

  • Students involved in a 1:1 initiative are learning in ways that are more individualized, motivating, personalized, collaborative, engaging, and enthusiastic. Administrators over the Andover 1:1 initiative state that students involved will become “information producers rather than information consumers” (2015).  In Zheng, Warschauer, Lin, & Chang’s 2016 laptop investigation, the overall improvement in academic achievement was a .16 increase in the standard deviation.  The areas of academics tested were English language arts, reading, writing, math, and science.  (The math that was used to come to this conclusion was beyond my scope of learning.)  Writing had the greatest improvement due to the use of online writing tools like “email, chatting software, IM, blogs, wikis, and discussion forums” which allowed students to communicate authentically with their teachers and peers.  (This reminds me so much of my WHY statement that I created in a previous post.)  Students in a 1:1 are able to develop skills that make them more marketable in an economy that is fast paced and becoming more digital by the second.
  • Multiple devices can be used to make a 1:1 successful.  In Richardson’s (et al) 2013 study, at least 9 different devices are being used in large-scale initiatives around the world.

What can be done better:

  • Professional development can always improve to help teachers integrate technology into core specific areas of study. Richardson et al (2013) says that professional development, or PD as I will refer to it, must be robust, clear, and provided to administrators and teachers alike if the initiative is going to succeed.  His team found while researching that most PD happens with the company that the device is purchased through.  PD that is content specific and ongoing throughout the initiative is a must so teachers can spend time assessing resources and cultivating their teaching practices (iAndover, 2015).  Teachers improved when a sufficient amount of PD was provided on how to integrate technology into instruction (Zheng et al, 2016).
  • Students and teachers alike need time to familiarize themselves and sharpen their basic understanding of the device that they will be using.  Most academic improvements with Zheng’s 2016 laptop study came within the second year of implementation.  Teachers and students had time the first year to figure out the machine and work out the kinks.  In the 2015 study of the iAndover 1:1 Learning Initiative, teachers reported that students had “poor keyboarding skills, minimal troubleshooting skills, and a general lack of computing skills, i.e. uploading work, downloading software, organizing folders, etc.”  I can only hope that this school district saw even greater improvements this past school year when examining their data.

What I’d still like to know:

  • Does a 1:1 initiative help develop 21st century skills?  Based on observations, surveys, and interviews, 21st century skills are being developed, but they are hardly ever systematically measured (Zheng et al, 2016).  Is there a survey or specific observation that teachers, administrators, and evaluators can use or look at to see if the skills being developed are preparing students for the world of tomorrow?
  • How do I prepare teachers to understand that 1:1 will enable their students with the ability to cooperate, connect, solve problems, and be innovative?

How does this apply to me?

  • I first looked at my own school district to see if a 1:1 had been tried before. It has/is.  I contacted the advisor for the GEAR UP Program that is currently in progress in my school district at the high school.  GEAR UP is a grant-based program that provided all 8th grade students with an iPad for school and take home use in the 2012-2013 school year.  I received a copy of the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 usage reports.  I like the usage reports – they were very informative.  iPad usage was tracked for different uses in and out of school: “leadership development, academic enrichment, rigorous academic curricula, tutoring/homework assistance, student workshops, family/cultural events, counseling/advising/academic planning/career counseling, educational field trips, etc.”  The number of students using the iPads dropped from the 2013-2014 school year to the 2014-2015 school year.  I would’ve liked to have known if that was from student disinterest, number of devices, or student drop-out/moved out of district.  I also would’ve liked to have seen data on in class usage.  What classes/teachers encouraged the use of the iPads?  How were they used?  Since the program has a new advisor, I am curious to see where this goes.  I have been in contact with her and hope to see what this past year and next year will bring about.
  • At my school, I would like to be able to see academic, digital, personal, and professional growth through surveys, observations, and interviews with a small 1:1 initiative.  Last school year, our district chose to participate in the BrightBytes survey through Clarity rather than the state’s STaR Chart to evaluate technology at our schools.  I found the questions and results to be very revealing.  The STaR Chart is only given to teachers and administrators and is mainly focused on the technology itself – how does our district use technology, what is the response time of support, what is the ratio of computers to students, etc.  The BrightBytes survey was given to administrators, teachers, and students.  It presented questions about familiarity with technology, how technology is used at school and at home, how do teachers use different types of online learning, etc.  The questions presented through BrightBytes were more telling of how technology can change teaching and learning.  BrightBytes has teachers and students evaluate the “4 Cs” – communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.  Our results showed that teachers demonstrate the “4 Cs” at the beginning stage and students perceive learning at the emerging stage.  As a school, we can only go UP from there with ongoing and relevant PD.  I believe that a 1:1 initiative in a classroom can start the process of learning to be more collaborative, think more critically, be more creative, and communicate more to our peers.  Through the data that I’ve been searching through, I think I can apply concepts from each of the studies to my school and be able to, as Hubbard says, “reduce my uncertainty” about the progress of the teachers and classes involved (2014).

The journey as a digital learner and leader will allow me to continue to research, explore, investigate, and discover to find the answers to these questions and many more.


Image: http://thomascmurray.com/6keys/


Andover Pubic Schools – Office of Digital Learning. 1:1 Learning Initiative. (2015, June 11). Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://www.aps1.net/DocumentCenter/View/6491

Hubbard, Douglas W. (2014). How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business. Kindle version. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com

Richardson, J. W., McLeod, S., Flora, K., Sauers, N. J., Kannan, S., & Sincar, M. (2013). Large-scale 1:1 computing initiatives: An open access database. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=1584

Zheng, B., Warschauer, M., Lin, C., & Chang, C. (2016). Learning in One-to-One Laptop Environments. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Binbin_Zheng2/publication/293191749_Learning_in_One-to-One_Laptop_Environments_A_Meta-Analysis_and_Research_Synthesis/links/56c5f2d108ae408dfe4ca261.pdf


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