Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Implementing Mobile Technology without a Single Mandate

“Innovation is the distinction between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

How did the Madeleine achieve overwhelming success implementing mobile technology with its staff and students in such a short period of time? Here's the success story.


The Catalyst of an Innovative Idea
In September of 2010 the Parent Association stated they would donate funds toward an innovative technology program that would benefit the students.

The Innovative Idea
The Principal asked the PA to consider a pilot program where iPads might be incorporated into the Kindergarten program. The idea generated awareness among all the other teachers that wanted to experience the iPad technology first and explore ways in which the technology could be integrated into their classrooms as well.

Educator Incentive
Teachers were asked to consider if they wanted to use an iPad and explore its potential for instruction. The principal reached out to the faculty and offered that if they were interested in receiving an iPad they needed to write a brief narrative addressing the following questions:
· Why you would like to use the iPad?
· How might you incorporate it into your own professional use?
· How might you incorporate it into your instruction—or how might students use it?
· Innovative ideas you might be willing to explore?
Upon receipt of the iPad teachers would also receive an iPad cover and an iTunes card worth $100 dollars. Teachers were highly motivated.

March 11, 2011 (Day of the iPad2)
While Steve Jobs and Applephiles around the world were celebrating the launching of the 2nd generation iPad--the Madeleine was celebrating the launching of its own innovative program, that of incorporating iPad technology into the life of the classroom and the instruction of the teacher.

At morning assembly the principal asked the student leadership to host the launch. Each teacher that had written a ‘narrative’ was called up in celebratory fashion. The student body president, who gave the iPad to the teacher, greeted them with the words, “As you learn how to use this tool, we hope you will bring it to the classroom so we use the iPad next year.” As each homeroom teacher came forward to be handed their iPad, with their class roaring with delight, it was as if their students were all receiving their own iPad. The feeling that morning was electric; it was certainly incentivizing the teachers to engage this new technology.

Now, as teachers partner with their colleagues and with their students we are excited to witness our innovative Vision become Reality. The teachers had 3 months to experiment with the iPad and experience its educational value first hand, without any pressure.

Preparation for the iPad Experiment to be Integrated into Instruction
The next piece of the iPad experiment was to invest in professional development for the staff. In order to have quality training, the principal needed to host two six-hour training days. However, to do this the principal needed to ask the teachers to return the week after the school ended for the year. In return the principal offered to extend summer break for two additional days and offer breakfast and lunch during the training days. The staff was excited and the training was tremendous. After the training, the staff would have all summer to ‘play’ and use the iPad to further deepen their commitment to implementing it within their classroom instruction in the upcoming school year. Over the summer, teachers spent time investigating and researching apps that would serve as tools to reinforce learning and the acquisition of new concepts.

Based on our student needs, it was determined that deploying iPads to our Jr. High would be most beneficial as a result of the content being taught and readiness of our students to engage the technology. In preparation of deploying the iPads, the administration and teachers worked with parents to create an iPad Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to be signed by every student and their parents/guardians previous to receiving the iPad in September.

Preparing the infrastructure
Working with the technology coordinator, I, as the Jr. High lead teacher, spent the summer designing the ‘virtual’ classroom that would be needed to deploy 72 iPads to all our Jr. High students come September. The Google Education Cloud served our needs.

The Madeleine set up its domain themadeleine.com within the Google cloud and issued all the students their own account. The account set-up was simple: Year of graduation, first initial, last name @themadeleine.com. For example, John Smith of the class of 2012 would be 12jsmith@themadeleine.com. Each student would then be assigned to a group (Class of 2012) and given limited permission. For instance, no student can send or receive e-mails outside themadeleine.com domain.

On September 10, 2011 we gathered all the Jr. High students together for an iPad orientation where the iPad Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) was discussed, a lesson explaining the iPad and it’s functions was facilitated, and the students were introduced to their new Google Cloud accounts. The next morning, on September 11, we deployed the iPads to all the Jr. High students. The students immediately took to the new tool and began to use it within the classroom and for their instruction immediately.

Current & Future Use
Students have used the iPads in all of their classes by creating multimedia presentations, watching video lessons, writing essays, researching projects, and engaging in apps designed for reinforcing concepts already learned. We engaged the students to find apps to help them in utilizing the best possible tools to be continuously engaged in their learning throughout the day, no matter the subject. 

The School of the Madeline is now a 1-1 iPad school. Student and teachers have also found the Google Cloud to be a great communication tool for their group projects, whether at home or at school, and a key way to communicate their questions, comments, or concerns with their teachers. Teachers utilize the ability to read and annotate novels, short stories, and articles in the iBook app and I we now use digital textbooks or resources for Algebra, Mathematics, Religion, Social Studies, Literature and Language Arts.   

Two years ago the Madeleine brought fiber connectivity to the school to prepare for future bandwidth needs and in addition to our instructional projectors we've connected Apple TV. Our wireless environment and mobile technology allow our students to AirPlay their content via the iPad right from the own desks in order share with the rest of their class--making our whiteboards interactive for everyone!

Innovation in educational leadership inspires success. Our staff and our students, as a result of embracing innovation, are creating environment where authentic 21st Century Learning can flourish.

100% of the Teacher Believe:
  • that technology use in the classroom can enhance student learning
  • that their school encourages technology use teaching and learning
In 2014, 2015 and 2016 the Madeleine staff and students participated in survey to determine the impact of our technology use. We contracted with BrightBytes to conduct the survey and compile the results. Our survey responses ranked four areas: Classroom, Access, Skills and Environment. The results we achieved in the category of Environment were very affirming. Our results indicated culture of experimentation, innovation and collaboration in regards to technology use. 

The Madeleine is very proud of the collaborative and transparent manner in which we have integrated technology into the culture of learning. Innovative Leadership inspires Innovative Educators.

“The iPads are great! It’s like we’re doing something that no one I know is doing and it works. It just makes our experience in the classroom that much easier, so we can constantly, you know, actually learn!” – School of the Madeleine 8th Grade Student