Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

'Freedom to Learn' Gets a Thumbs-Up: A New Report Says Michigan's Ambitious 1-to-1 Program Is Thus Far Hitting Its Goals

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

'Freedom to Learn' Gets a Thumbs-Up: A New Report Says Michigan's Ambitious 1-to-1 Program Is Thus Far Hitting Its Goals

Article excerpt

AS THE NUMBER of 1-to-1 laptop initiatives grows across the nation, organizations are forming to support the integration of 21st-century tools such as notebook and tablet PCs into the daily classroom environment. In one example, Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com) and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) took part in Michigan's Freedom to Learn program (FTL: wireless.mivu.org), whose participants now number 23,000 students and 1,500 teachers across the state's 100 school districts.

The Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis (TN) recently released a report evaluating how well FTL met its goals during 20042005, the program's first year. Briefly, those goals were to:

* enhance student learning and achievement

* broaden educational opportunities through access to technology

* foster the effective use of wireless technology through professional development of teachers, administrators, and staff

* provide parents with the tools they need to become more active in their children's education

* create collaborative networks among the program's participants (students, teachers. and coaches)

CREP's FTL report was built from classroom observation, surveys, interviews, and audit reports. The surveys were given to 279 teachers, 63 lead teachers, 16 super coaches (educators who received FTL professional development), and 4,245 students, primarily sixth-graders. Interviews and classroom visits were conducted by a group of third-party onsite advisers, who studied approximately 60 of the participating classes and their interaction with technology. The advisers used questionnaires specifically drawn up for each of the four groups and used the responses compiled from those questionnaires to identify the technology, instructional, and system needs of all the participants. …

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