Pockets of Success Roundtable #3: ME Notes from roundtable discussion with Jeff Mao

Present for the discussion: Douglass Casey, Susan Hargrave, Liz Pope, Joanne Shawhan, Steve Hamilton

Questions regarding... Access to Laptops, and Broadband to each schools which gives communities the chance to 'build out in communities' and homes.

Jeff - It now is pretty common.. to see kids at the library or 'parking lot of the school' connecting to the internet. Maine is Apples largest costumer.... so that ME gets even better prices than everyone else.

Jeff - By being such a big customer... major factory productions in China went directly to ME. (Three year warranty)
Paid for by state aid to the school... 100% middle schools so a portion of money that would go for per pupil costs to middle schools is held back to provide, hardware, software, training.

RFP - Powerful tool... for ME to say... (to Apple or others) this is what I want... and they would work to meet the specs.

CT - Yankee independence mentality..... so our challenge... what are the drivers for at least regionalization....

Jeff - we had resistance in ME to start.. during some initial work districts felt they wanted control (platform, network, etc)... but eventually one prime resistor came around as he saw the value to his district. You do have to deliver what you say you will. (example - at first... Apple vs PC). Once you get to the level of understanding.... IT people knew windows.. didn't want to go to MAC but eventually there was an understand... if their job is IT then, they need to learn how to support those as well.

Jeff - There were other challenges; Training..... difficulty of not enough subs to train all staff who need to learn. So we did develop online offerings, and now also some paper examples that developed from face to face meetings.

Question: Why did you choose Apple?

Jeff - They were the lowest bid and they had the best components for the tools we requested. (Example - No students should ever go with out a machine for more than 24hrs.) Apple developed repair service centers right in Maine and 24 hour shipping service. 4 year contract. Technically in our 2nd contract.

RFPs in 02, 09 and then just renegotiated contacts after that. Went from $289 to $242 (per laptop, per year, lease)

Question: What are your measures of success?

Jeff - Hard to measure - we don't dictate curriculums. Some of our evaluation has been self reported survey data. Teachers and students agree that having the laptops around are a "good thing". For achievement we looked at 8th grade writing assessment, before and throughout implementation. Saw 1/3 of standard deviation.... positive change. We asked... do you use computer for editing, and full writing process. Those who reported using for full writing process had double digit percentage above those reporting not using writing process and low performing students who said they were using computers for full process were showing scoring on par and better than high SES kids who did not report using the writing process.

Question: Is there longitudinal data on 21st century skills?

Jeff - We don't have that now.... Program started at 7th and then 7th/8th but then stopped because of funding. We tried pilot in 9th but because no consistency in who would use laptops or not, and there was an initial push back from HSs not wanting it. Later as students migrated through the system increased desire to have program at the HS.

Anecdotal reports - Technology class - Professor "One thing I can clearly see... is those who are from ME and those from out of state" because those from Maine are already computer literate.

Jeff - Another interesting fact... Student self reported data re 21st century skills and we don't see great numbers. What we find.... students do what teachers tell them to do... so that if teachers are not directing students to work collaboratively, then collaborative engagements most likely won't take place.
So, we have been pushing more recently and working with Apple on 'challenge' based approaches to utilizing computer.

A survey for all 7/12 laptop kids is conducted each year.