Disruptive Innovation at Fannin Elementary
1:1 Mobile Technology Initiative
Educators must change the way education is presented to students. Today’s learners need a more individualized approach. Technology can be the disruptive innovation that gives us that approach. Clayton Christensen describes “disruptive innovation…as a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.” (2015) With the number of Web 2.0 sites and access to information online, students are able to collaborate, research, and publish their ideas in ways that weren’t available 10-20 years ago.
My disruptive innovation initiative is to integrate 1:1 mobile technology with 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students. Although this is not a brand new innovation in technology or education, it would be at Fannin Elementary. According to Horizon reports for the past 5 years, mobile technology has been on the brink of breaking through to classrooms to help those classrooms become a more blended environment for students.
First off, I’d like to share a little about Fannin’s demographics. I think knowing where our school stands will help you understand why this would be considered a disruptive innovation for our campus. We have a total of about 600 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
- 42% Hispanic
- 26% white/Caucasian
- 23% black/African American
- 1% Pacific Islander & Asian
- 11 students are in the foster care system.
- 169 students are identified as ESL/LEP.
- 436 students receive a free lunch.
- 50 students receive a reduced price lunch.
- All students have the opportunity to receive a free breakfast every day.
Needless to say, we have a very diverse group of students on our campus.
After looking at the demographics, it’s safe to assume that most Fannin students do not have access to a PC or personal tablet at their homes. I actually know this because I teach the computer class at Fannin, and I ask them what kind of technology they use and have access to at home. The majority of students have access to a tablet or cell phone that typically belongs to mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, cousin, etc. I could go on and on. Knowing how to use a cell phone or tablet to usually play games is great, but is it a marketable skill that will help these students succeed in their secondary education and beyond? I believe that 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students are at an age where they can take their learning whether online or in class and apply it to create something worthwhile and meaningful. Laptops & tablets will make that a possibility. Our 4th and 5th grade students have a different teacher for each subject. Having mobile technology to take to all of their classes will help with the space that desktops take up in a classroom. Presenting the mobile technology in 3rd grade, where our students do not switch for different subjects, will allow them time to familiarize themselves with the device.
In conclusion, I think that an innovation such as laptops or tablets could disrupt learning at Fannin in a positive way. It would ignite a spark for learning again amongst students who are “burnt out” and tired of common assessments. Students would become facilitators of their own learning.