Vision Before Tools
Just a quick observation:
The fact that Chris Lehmann at Science Leadership Academy has moved away from full-fledged Apple laptops to a “90% solution” using new Dell Chromebooks certainly can be debated in terms of whether or not Chromebooks fulfill the true vision of 1-1 computing in schools. As with any decision like this, there are many layers involved, primarily budgetary in this case. Because of his track record as someone who not only understands the opportunities to learn with technology but who has one of the most compelling visions around for teaching and learning in a traditional setting, I’ll trust Chris’s process in this.
But here’s the the biggest concern, for me at least. The $300 (or so) price point will make (and in many cases, already has made) many districts think that Chromebooks are the answer to their 1-1 dilemma, but that only depends on the vision for their use. As Chris states in the article:
Lehmann said he hopes that partnership will result in a national platform to tout SLA’s “inquiry-driven, project-based” approach to learning, which he described as an important counterexample to the “tutorial” model of personalized learning (in which technology is used to deliver tailored content to students) gaining traction around the country.
"People can come to SLA and see personalized learning that doesn’t just mean the same content at a slightly different pace, but actually kids with their own skin in the game and designing projects and doing work that represents their own best ideas, that represent their interests, that represent their own passions."
Without that last part, it doesn’t matter what technology we put into kids hands. And I still haven’t seen many districts that are willing to really put the effort into the long term conversations necessary to rethink it, not simply deliver it using the tool du jour.