Thursday, December 3, 2015

An Outline for a Culture of Innovation

Below is an outline for some ideas I have on a proposal of utilizing a current 1:1 iPad initiative as a catalyst for change in a culture of teaching and learning. Any feedback is welcome!

Below, you can read the outline in full detail:

In order for us to meet the demands of our 1:1 technology environment in a K-12 charter school, I can identify three categories of needed growth and change:

Evaluation of current program
Vision established with clear goals
Differentiated Professional Development and SUpport

Breaking this down into priority could help. Possibly a timeline such as the following:

Current year:
  • Evaluation of 1:1 iPad program since beginning two years ago.
    • Support on the backend from IT so teachers and students can use the iPad devices on dependable wifi with little class delay of learning.
    • Teacher/student survey of strengths and needs.
    • Community engagement and feedback: survey parents, the town and board, teachers, and students on highs and lows and needs for improvement moving forward.
  • Identify shared visions across all IB programs (PYP K-5 program, MYP 6-10 program, and DP 11-12 program) in regards to the purpose of the iPad.
    • Identify the school's "vision" for use of iPads.
    • Connected to current vision of our school.
  • Professional Development and Support: Shift our "technology initiative" to an "educational or instructional program" differentiated for all needs of teachers and administration.
Looking at the next 1-3 years:
  • With current projections of 200 or more students joining the school in the next 3-5 years, a plan for learning environments should be considered:
    • Pilot flipped/blended environments with current teachers to study and research as possible answer.
    • Physical learning spaces, within new building plans, could be looked into to support student-centered learning, the influx of new teachers, and pedagogical/school cultural shift.
      • Learning studios, blended learning labs, "Makerspace"
      • Non-traditional learning spaces that support student-centered learning.
  • Increase in professional development that is focused on pedagogical shifts and changes in curriculum design (student-centered, authentic learning, and PBL):
    • PD that is differentiated for teachers, for example as seen through Franklin Academy's iPad Wiki
      • Curriculum design that is centered on the iPad as a tool of production, not consumption.
    • Administrative support and modeling can increase and boost confidence in teachers (which could require PD for administration)
  • Community engagement and continuous feedback: committee of teachers, students, parents, town/board members, and administration committed to communication and feedback about the 1:1 iPad initiative.
  • A learning framework that embeds technology and the IB philosophy is necessary. This framework can shape the innovations implemented into the next 3-5 years.
What are your thoughts?! 


  1. Peer Review 1 - Hi Rhoda! It sounds like you've got a lot of great ideas for improving your current 1:1 iPad initiative at your school. Your timeline makes sense and it appears you prioritized your steps well. It's important to have a solid network foundation in place to support your initiative so I agree that needs to be at the top of the list.
    I think the idea of identifying your school's vision will help everyone get on the same page and help direct them to the goal of student-centered learning environments. I especially love the idea of adding physical learning spaces, "makerspace" and non-traditional classrooms to further the idea of student-focused learning. I think that with most of our initiatives, professional development will be a key factor to be successful. Well done, and good luck!

  2. Review #2
    Hey Rhoda! Curtis here.
    I really do think you’re on the right track. You know what the potential of your district is and you see the things that are obstacles to overcome. That is really clear in the plan you outline. I also really like your ideas of incorporating purposeful community feedback. Really smart to include this and something I should consider too!

    I struggled a bit with the voice of the proposal. Your introduction makes it feel like you’re writing to someone outside of your district, but then you use all the course acronyms from inside the district. Some parentheticals try to explain things to ‘outsiders’ but then other bullet points feel more insider-ish to me.

    I also wonder if your plan shouldn’t include a suggestion of creating a ‘heavy’ team. You suggest that teachers share their vision and then create a learning framework that will shape your innovations and curriculum choices. But you won’t get to a robust, district-wide framework without some serious work from a focused team. And if some teachers really don’t have the vision for what you see, then you might need more voices to create motivation.

    So I think you’ve got lots of pieces and thoughts headed in the right direction. Maybe just a little tweaking can take it from good to great!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I wasn't sure how to address people either- since we are a charter school, we really don't have a "district," but we do have the town that supports us, so I could probably be more specific if I am referencing the town verses administration on campus, and then other stakeholders like teachers, students, and community. Thanks for that clarification!

    2. Peer review 3 - It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this. I really (again)like how these big ideas have been broken down into time periods to help keep it all on track. I was wondering who you audience was? Would this go to people that have a firm understanding of the "lingo" that you are using in your proposal? Thanks for a great job!

  3. Peer Review 4

    Rhoda, Absolutely right to list the Wi-Fi connectivity issue first! You have to get the network robust, not just to the current needs, but to the needs in 3-5 years, when you say you will have 200+ more students on your campus. Digital tools need to be invisible.

    Love the "learning studios" concept! Lots of luck!