Evaluating the Apple
Classrooms of Tomorrow SM
Eva L. Baker
Joan L. Herman
University of California, Los Angeles/ CRESST
The Apple Classrooms of TomorrowSM (ACOTSM) project was initiated in classrooms at five school sites in 1985 as a program of research on the impact of interactive technologies on teaching and learning. Originally conceived as a program to study what happens when "tomorrow's" resources are routinely available in classrooms, ACOT provided students and teachers an Apple computer both at school and at home. Sites were selected by ACOT staff to represent a range of student, school, and community characteristics. Elementary sites were established in northern California's Silicon Valley, a Tennessee suburb, an urban Tennessee community, and a rural Minnesota location; the secondary site is located within a major city in Ohio. The process of site selection differed across sites, although all sites and their participating teachers were required to demonstrate their interest and willingness to participate.
Although the project has expanded over time to encompass a larger and more diverse set of efforts, key components at all sites have been the provision of high technology access, site freedom to develop technology-supported curriculum and pedagogy as appropriate to site goals, and the resulting study of what happens when technology support is readily available to students and teachers. ACOT has encouraged instructional innovation, emphasizing to participating teachers the potential of computers to support student initiative, long-term projects, access to multiple resources, cooperative learning, and instructional guidance rather than stand-up teaching.
From 1987 through 1990, UCLA conducted a series of evaluation studies focused on the five original ACOT sites ( Baker, Gearhart, & Herman, 1990,