What the research says – effective technology professional development

Yesterday I posted about the book, Meaningful Learning Using Technology: What Educators Need to Know And Do and a specific chapter about the factors of effective technology professional development. Today I’d like to go into more detail on the research results.

The chapter, Fostering Meaningful Teaching and Learning with Technology: Characteristics of Effective Professional Development paints a compelling model of how to create more comprehensive professional development offerings by looking at more than one type of professional development solution. No “one stop shop” professional development is going to be as effective as a blended model.

Let’s take a look at the four factors they found to be effective:

  • Time to experiment and play
  • Focus on student learning
  • Building social connections and learning communities
  • Localizing professional development in the school and classroom

Time to experiment and play
The research not only supports giving teachers time and support as they use new technology, but also supports learning outside of designated workshops. “Professional development experiences should not be limited only to instructional sessions or organized events. They should also include activities in which teachers engage all the time. Thus schools should develop a culture instead of a program of professional development.” (emphasis mine)

They discuss how each of these models offers a different, but equally beneficial form of supportive experimentation for teachers. “In the Generation Y model, teachers had multiple opportunities to explore the use of technology with their student technology guides, who in turn could support teachers in solving any problems they encountered.”

So optimal conditions for teacher technology use include more than just one kind of time for teachers to experiment, and not just in special training facilities. Teachers who feel that their use of technology is just an opportunity for them to fail in their classroom will not be happy users. But teachers who feel that they have all kinds of support for their efforts will be more willing to take a step into the unknown. Creating a culture where the expectation is that everyone can be both a learner and a teacher lessens the risk of failure for all.

Focus on student learning
“Technology professional development that is directly tied to student learning allows teachers to learn not just how to use computers but to develop new beliefs about their value for teaching.”

Although this seems obvious, there are many technology professional development sessions that focus on administrative software, or on the other end of the spectrum, teaching teachers how to use technology for personal purposes. The belief is that if teachers start using technology somehow, in ANY way, they will gradually start to transition to using it appropriately to enhance student learning. However, this study points to this as not being true, or at least, not a long-term strategy for success.

Building social connections and learning communities
Creating multiple social and learning communities for teachers increases the chance that their needs will be met anytime, anywhere. Other teachers, online communities, staff, and students can all form mutually supportive learning community. “The perception that there is help available helps offset teachers’ concern about “costs” — that they may have to spend lots of time troubleshooting technology problems or get stuck.” The advantage with including students as part of a teacher’s learning community is immediacy. There are very few other models that give the teacher such a just-in-time support system.

Localizing professional development in the school and classroom
“Teachers need to be able to see immediate benefits of using technology without having to wait for a a long period of time. Additionally, teachers need to develop a good sense of what they have access to in their immediate environment and familiarity with policies and procedures for obtaining technology and technical assistance in their schools.”

The problem is that local professional development is expensive. It’s much more cost effective to bring teachers to a training facility, hold the training, and then send them back to the classroom, with as much follow up as you can afford. However, these issues are lessened by looking to students as part of the solution.

This chapter is a strong, research-based call for widening the definition of technology professional development. Workshops alone are not enough. Learning communities alone are not enough. Learning to teach with technology has to happen in the classroom with more support for teachers, and different kinds of support. No one program is going to have the success that several complementary programs will have.

These results may be useful to teachers and technology coordinators who wish to show that the GenYES model of student support for teacher professional development can be part of a valuable and effective professional development plan. I’ve collected all the GenYES related material from this chapter along with citations and the recommended action into a two-page PDF. In the PDF, you will find quotes that can be used in grant applications or other proposals needing research validation of the GenYES model.

In the next post, I’d like to discuss the models that these researchers chose, and why I believe that these four models represent an excellent balance that all technology professional development programs should strive for.


Fostering Meaningful Teaching and Learning with Technology

I’d like to share a book with you about technology professional development. Meaningful Learning Using Technology: What Educators Need to Know And Do by Elizabeth Alexander Ashburn (Editor), Robert E. Floden (Editor) (Amazon link)

In this book, national experts use concrete examples to describe specific knowledge, beliefs, and strategies that will enable teachers and district leaders to support meaningful learning using technology. Chapters examine the intersection between course content, types of technology, and the supports and professional development required to effectively implement technology in the K–12 classroom. (From the publisher)

“This book provides both practical and scholarly insights about how teachers’ technology use can help students to master deep content and sophisticated skills. Practitioners, policymakers, and researchers all will benefit from the ideas in this volume.” – Chris Dede, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“These chapters offer innovative insights for restoring meaning to learning. They show that the answer to ‘How can new technologies support inquiry?’ lies not in the hardware or software, but in the beliefs and values of students, teachers, and administrators. These findings are essential for anyone interested in the potential of new learning technologies.” – Bertram C. Bruce, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Many educators are looking for research that shows “what works” in technology professional development. This book is an excellent starting point for discussions about new strategies and best practices. In one chapter, GenYES was one of four models selected for correlation to key dimensions to successful K-12 technology professional development. GenYES and the other models were selected as “… large-scale efforts that were shown to be effective in affecting teachers’ use of technology.”

Fostering Meaningful Teaching and Learning with Technology: Characteristics of Effective Professional Development
Written by Yong Zhao, Kenneth Frank, and Nicole Ellefson of Michigan State University Michigan State University (MSU), these researchers studied four “large-scale efforts that were shown to be effective in affecting teachers’ use of technology”:

1. The Project-Based Learning Multimedia Model (PBL+MM)
2. The Galileo Education Network Association (GENA)
3. Project Information Technology (PIT)
4. The Generation Y Model (previous name of the GenYES model)

Based on data collected from hundreds of teachers, the study determined that several key factors positively influenced teacher’ use of computers.

Study Findings – Key Factors of Successful Technology Professional Development

  1. Time to experiment and play. “Use of computers was positively correlated (.3) with the extent to which a teacher was able to experiment with district-supported software.”
  2. Focus on student learning. “Teachers’ use of computers was positively correlated (.4) with the extent to which the content of professional development was focused on student learning.”
  3. Building social connections and learning communities. “Computer use was positively correlated (.2) with the extent to which teachers accessed other teachers’ expertise.”
  4. Localizing professional development. “Computer use was positively correlated (.2 for each) with the extent to which professional development was provided locally, either in the classroom or school lab.”

The study outlines why and how these models support each of these factors. Unfortunately, I can’t reproduce the entire chapter here, but there is a bit of it online at Amazon.com (the chapter starts at page 161). Buy the book!

In the next few blog posts, I’ll explore these factors in more detail, and the specific results for the GenYES model.


G1G1 – Give one, get one, change the world

OLPC XOOne Laptop Per Child (OLPC), the organization behind the global project to put laptops in children’s hands has launched a “give one, get one” (G1G1) program that will allow residents of the U.S. and Canada to purchase two laptops for $399.

G1G1 website – Takes credit card or PayPal

I’ve written previously about the OLPC and what it can mean for education. This is an opportunity to be part of that mission.

One laptop will be sent to the buyer and a child in the developing world will receive the second machine. G1G1 will offer the laptops for just two weeks, starting today, November 12. Delivery is not guranteed by the holidays, as originally promised, but the website suggests ordering ASAP as these orders will be filled first.

$200 of your donation is tax-deductible (the $399 donation minus the fair market value of the XO laptop you will receive.)

For all U.S. donors who participate in the Give One Get One program, T-Mobile is offering one year of complimentary HotSpot access. (This alone is worth $350!)

The terms and conditions offer an additional insight into OLPC – this is not a “product”, instead, the purchase will be an entry into the worldwide community of OLPC users.

“Neither OLPC Foundation nor One Laptop per Child, Inc. has service facilities, a help desk or maintenance personnel in the United States or Canada. Although we believe you will love your XO laptop, you should understand that it is not a commercially available product and, if you want help using it, you will have to seek it from friends, family, and bloggers. One goal of the G1G1 initiative is to create an informal network of XO laptop users in the developed world, who will provide feedback about the utility of the XO laptop as an educational tool for children, participate in the worldwide effort to create open-source educational applications for the XO laptop, and serve as a resource for those in the developing world who seek to optimize the value of the XO laptop as an educational tool. A fee based tech support service will be available to all who desire it. We urge participants in the G1G1 initiative to think of themselves as members of an international educational movement rather than as “customers.”

I just ordered one – and I’m looking forward to opening the box and becoming part of an international educational movement with the potential of changing the world.

Seems pretty reasonable for that!


Filtering follies

Wrong Way signYou always learn interesting things when your kids forget you are listening to them in the car. A few years back, I learned that my son and his friends were getting around the filter on the high school computers. I also learned that it was more complicated than just that.

They had found a way to disable the filter, not just for themselves, but for the whole school. But that was only one part of the conversation. The majority of the conversation was their moral dilemma – and not the dilemma you might expect.

  • Were they worried about the hacking they were doing? No.
  • Were they torn up about accessing illegal music, movies, or inappropriate content? Nope, that’s not what they were doing.

They were hacking the filter because they wanted to improve access for the whole school. They said the computers in the school were nearly unusable because of the filter. They talked about how teachers had given up trying to use the Internet because everything was blocked. But mostly they were worried that they might get a teacher they liked in trouble.

The district IT people had configured the filter so only they could administer it. But they never unblocked what the teachers asked for, only shut down more and more things. The kids had figured out how to override that. But they liked the technology teacher and didn’t want to get him in trouble. So they created some sort of subterfuge that made it look to the district like nothing was changed.

As the technical details soared way over my head, I edged into the conversation. Had they talked to their tech teacher about this? Sort of, they said, but he essentially told them, “you can’t fight city hall.” Mostly, they felt sorry for him. They wondered why the district didn’t trust him to manage the filter software so he could make it more useful for the teachers and students. They figured that by doing this themselves, it would protect him and get the results they wanted.

They argued pretty compellingly that this small infraction was justified for the greater good. They all knew the consequences, and were pretty satisfied with taking any punishment that might occur if they were caught. After all, they all had access at home, so being caught would simply mean that the filter would be turned back on, and their privileges to use the then worthless school computers might be revoked.

I have to admit, I didn’t do anything. Maybe I should have, maybe me saying something would have changed district policy, or gotten these boys or the teacher in trouble. Maybe by breaching security they were messing up something well beyond their understanding. Maybe they gave it up after a week and went on to some other project. I never heard any more about it.

It’s been a while since this particular incident, but it’s happening all over in a thousand different ways. Overly zealous filters don’t protect children, they harm them by denying kids and educators teachable moments. They teach kids that we don’t trust them. They convince educators that the Internet is still not ready for school. IT professionals spend their valuable time playing silly cat and mouse games with kids. Schools spend money on connectivity, and additional money crippling it.

Of course I’m not advocating for unlimited access to bad stuff. I wish I knew how to fix it 100% sure fire every time. What I do know is that we don’t shutter libraries because a kid might sneak a trashy magazine in to read. We don’t take away pencils because someone might write something unsavory. You can make educationally appropriate reading, writing, or technology use more compelling and more interesting than the inappropriate uses. That’s what good teachers, media specialists and librarians do–when we let them.

My carpool kids could have been partners, rather than adversaries in the district’s quest for technology. Like the boy in Australia who figured out how to disable the government’s 84 million dollar filter in 30 minutes, students all over the world are ready, willing, and able to be part of the solution. This particular scary menace to society said, “Filters aren’t addressing the bigger issues anyway. Cyberbullying, educating children on how to protect themselves and their privacy are the first problems I’d fix.” Oh, yeah, he’s a troublemaker, all right.

We have to be willing to work with students and invite them to be real partners, not treat them as certain criminals. There is simply no other solution.

One Laptop Per Child (XO) – Report from India pilot site

OLPC site in IndiaAt the entrance, there was a black dog taking a rest. Beside the dog was Rajiv, in first standard, working on his XO while it was charging, plugged to the outlet on the wall. At the foot of the wall, on a long mat, there were some XOs, being charged.

On the other side of the door, sitting on long, thin mats on the floor, there was a small group of girls and boys working on eToys. Some were trying out all the sample projects while others were making their own. Among them were Gayatri and Sarasvati, two girls, in third standard, who usually go around the classroom helping others.

So starts a long diary entry on the One Laptop Per Child XOs in classroom(OLPC) blog from Khairat school, one of the OLPC test sites in India, covering September 26 – October 13, 2007. The report includes copious details about how the pilot implementation is going at the school, including the teacher preparation, parent and community reaction, and lots of anecdotes that provide a well-rounded story.

Almost immediately, the laptops start to create a different kind of classroom, one where the teacher is still the leader, but students naturally collaborate while learning.

Although the teacher conducts the activities and is the leader and most knowledgeable one in the room, there reigns an atmosphere of independent work and independent grouping and consultations. The smaller ones are natural scouts and keep on exploring the laptops on their own, and when they find something interesting or need some help, they go to others to show them their findings or be helped out.

OLPC studentsParents and the community pitch in and help, and the teacher starts to teach differently too, using project-based teaching to unify the curriculum. The teacher says that his relationship with the children is closer, in the sense that they are exploring the XO laptop together.

The diary is well worth reading, not just as a chronicle of what is happening in one pilot site, but a verification that these machines could indeed change lives, and change the world.


Happy Birthday Logo!

The Wired Science blog this month featured Forward 40: What Became of the LOGO Programming Language?

The author relates his own personal experiences as a youth being able to program an Apple IIe.

As I remember it, LOGO was a triangular turtle that roamed across the monochrome screen of an Apple II in my first grade classroom. Wherever he went, a line of ink would follow him — it came from a pen that was tied to his tail.

My digital friend simultaneously gave me an intuition for geometry and how to think like a computer programmer.

Seymour Papert, Cynthia Solomon, Wally Feurzeig and others invented Logo in 1967. In contrast to many software packages and Web 2.0 tools these days, the Logo language was deliberately designed for learning. Logo gives students powerful experiences with math, not by drilling them, but by offering them control over an object called a turtle. The turtle, either on the computer screen or an actual robot on the floor, could be programmed to draw lines completely controllable by simple commands.

Logo was designed to be body syntonic – or related to what the learner already understands about their own body. It allows the learner to take something they are already familiar with (their own body and how it moves) and add new knowledge of geometry to that established base. By controlling the turtle with simple commands to go forward, turn right or left, and draw, the learner has an intuitive connection with the turtle. If you’ve ever seen a kid program in Logo, you can see that they feel this connection, and the youngest ones tend to get up and dance with the turtle.

This is no accident, but a deliberate design for the Logo programming language. I’m proud to say that I’ve met Dr. Papert and spoken to him several times. I’ve met Cynthia Solomon too. This year I met Wally Feurtzig at EuroLogo 2007. Meeting people like this makes me feel like a part of history. Dr. Papert was a colleague of Jean Piaget, after being forced out of his native South Africa as university student for his association with Nelson Mandela, and whose ideas were key to the current 1:1 laptop movement and the One Laptop per Child global initiative. That I know someone like this is amazing to me.

But back to Logo and the Wired article…

I would type FORWARD 50 and the turtle would move forward. When I gave the command RIGHT 90, he would turn sharply to the right. If I prefaced those two commands with REPEAT 4 and surrounded them with brackets, the turtle would draw a square.

I was learning, but my experiences didn’t feel like a lesson. It was fun!

While I sat at my desk one day, two of my classmates figured out how to overwrite the entire screen, which seemed kinda naughty at the time. They giggled, did it again, then giggled some more. From curious children, hackers were born.

I was desperate to know how they did it. Eventually, they told me. Their method made sense: Tell the turtle to repeatedly move forward a very long distance and then turn very slightly.

The next deliberate design element embedded in Logo is the idea that it supports a classroom that is collaborative and full of co-learners and co-teachers. The learning is in control of the students, who each have a different idea of what they want to do. They can rely on themselves, on feedback from the computer, or on each other to figure out how to make the next step, but it’s under their control.

When the author of this article writes about his aha moment, “Their method made sense” it meant that he was learning something because he needed and wanted to know it. The learning was situated in a meaningful experience under his control, when and where he was ready. Teachers call it “the teachable moment” and hope they are around to help a student when that happens. But what if the classroom is full of co-teachers who are ready to help a classmate with that teachable moment. Imagine the learning network ready to go in every classroom!

Stager.org Dreamtime Logo Project

The Logo programming language embodies an educational philosophy called constructionism. The idea is that knowledge is constructed based on the learner’s previous experiences, and the best way to make that happen is to actually construct something and share it with others.

This doesn’t have to be a physical thing like an art project, but can be a computer program. Seymour Papert once compared students programming animated snakes to how the same students worked on soap sculpture art projects.

They were using this high-tech and actively computational material as an expressive medium; the content came from their imaginations as freely as what the others expressed in soap. But where a knife was used to shape the soap, mathematics was used here to shape the behavior of the snake and physics to figure out its structure. (Situating Constructionism, with Idit Harel)

Towards the end of the Wired article, author Aaron Rowe wonders where Logo went and asks for readers to contribute their memories. The comments are worth reading — there are many memories carried into adulthood by people who found programming interesting and personally rewarding.

So –what happened to Logo? It’s still around. The language exists in many forms, open source, public domain, and commercial, and is still taught in many schools around the world. It may be rare in the U.S., but it’s alive and well in other countries. Along with it goes the educational philosophy of giving students interesting problems to solve and powerful tools to use rather than trying to stuff them with “content” or “information.” The hope is that this will create students who can problem-solve, create, and learn how to learn.

Many teachers who taught Logo took their experiences with the empowering nature of programming and turned those ideas into something else. Dennis Harper, who founded Generation YES was a Logo teacher and author of the book, Logo: Theory and Practice. These lessons live on in the GenYES and TechYES models where students are at the center of their own learning.

And teachers still teach it, it’s not dead! Gary Stager has a whole section of his website devoted to Logo resources and runs workshops worldwide for teachers. He tells me that he gets thousands of views a month on the page devoted to how to build a virtual pet in Logo, and regular emails from very young web browsers asking him how they too can build their own pets. Kids want to learn!

Virtual pet home

New versions of Logo are again getting some publicity, from Scratch to Starlogo TNG to robotics. These programming languages are being rediscovered by a new generation of teachers, and hopefully students looking for ways to express themselves using the computer. If only we actually thought learning to use this most powerful learning tool was important!

Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development

Another K12Online Conference session goes live today – Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development.

When people talk about “why aren’t teachers using technology?” the point is invariably made that there is not enough professional development. This session questions that assumption, and makes some points about how typical professional development may serve to actually increase teacher discomfort with technology, rather than alleviate it.

This session has a lot of ideas in it – community of practice, what is a constructivist, project-based classroom, students as co-learners, what professional development can be, and more.

Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development is available both as a video and audio only podcast on the K12Online 2007 conference site. Teaser Trailer (2 min): on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdYJIJc1oQE


Digital natives/immigrants – how much do we love this slogan?

How many times have you heard that kids are “digital natives” and adults are “digital immigrants”. That adults will never “get” technology like the kids do, because their brains are actually wired differently, and as digital immigrants, we will always “speak with an accent” — we can’t really see what they see.

This catchy turn of phrase seems to completely capture the ease with which kids accept technology that baffles adults. However, it creates a number of traps in its use. We don’t want to pretend that jargon is a guiding principle for education.

It’s attributed to Marc Prensky, but even he says the concept was around before he made it popular.

Calling students “digital natives” is an excuse for not actually teaching them about technology. Even if we accept that many students are more facile and less intimidated by technology that many adults, it doesn’t mean they know anything.

Digital natives they may be, but they still need teachers and parents. Kids need adults to guide them to use these tools wisely and for appropriate academic purposes. A teacher can take them further and to a place with real meaning. Parents can model values. Kids are less afraid of technology, and don’t usually worry about breaking things, but this doesn’t translate to intellectual curiousity or comprehending boundaries. They are just used to having technology around, but also more than willing to just ignore it when it isn’t immediately obvious what to do with it.

If we walk away from our responsibility to teach them about appropriate, academic uses of technology, it’s our fault when silly, or worse, inappropriate uses of technology fill that vacuum.

And we should go further than just helping them use technology. They should know why we think it’s important. By giving students a role in helping out, and insight into how decisions are made to use technology in education, we give them the excitement of discovery and empower them to think beyond themselves and their own enjoyment of the moment. We have to share the “whys” of educational technology with them.

And just like “digital native” is an easy label, “digital immigrant” creates the same problem in reverse by providing a convenient excuse for teachers who don’t want to learn something new. I have all the sympathy in the world for teachers who are overburdened, and who patiently listen to all the hype that never pans out. But it’s time to accept that the world has changed.

No one is saying that fundamentals aren’t important, or that critical thinking and reading and math aren’t required for today’s world. But technology makes those things accessible to students who might have been left behind before. Blogs allow shy students to have a voice in a class discussion. Or allow a student who is not even physically in the classroom to participate. Wikis represent the technology of democracy. It’s everything we try to teach students about collaboration and teamwork. Getting these tools up and running is important, using them even more so.

Creating labels like native and immigrant only solidify boundaries and create implied adversaries. It’s simply the wrong mental picture for a collaborative learning environment where teachers and students are all lifelong learners.

Other conversations:

Practical Guide to Constructivist Teaching

Just announced from The Institute for Learning Centered Education – a new book by Pat Flynn, Paul Vermette, Mike Smith and Don Mesibov:


This book is for teachers, administrators, staff developers, college students and professors of pre-service students looking for lessons, practical tips and assessment strategies for constructivist classrooms. Veteran teachers share their secrets and years of classroom experience in creating authentic experiences for students.


  • Constructivist-based lessons in math, science, English and social studies that were taught by Paul Vermette. These are not summaries; these are step-by step narrations of what Paul actually did in the classroom to engage, motivate, assess what they are learning and cause them to increase their learning through reflection.
  • Four specific strategies to teach students that which we want each of them to learn. The strategies are carousel, concept mapping, jigsaw, and literature circles. There are 81 pages of examples from kindergarten to 12th grade – in math, science, social studies, and English.
  • Seventeen Intentions of an Effective Teacher; these can serve as guidelines for lesson design. (I previously wrote about these 17 Intentions in this blog.)
  • Two chapters by outstanding teachers. Beth Konkoski of Virginia has written about the role of the teacher while students are engaged in group activities. Sonia Basko who teaches in Rochester, New York devotes a chapter toward the importance of preparing students for a constructivist classroom. Each of these chapters contains pages of practical suggestions and strategies that can be applied to all classrooms.
  • There are chapters on important aspects of assessment that are critical for any classroom, but often not addressed in staff development. And there is a focus on reversing the traditional way of teaching or parenting; instead of explaining and then giving students a chance to apply, the authors suggest that Engagement Must Precede Explanation.

For your copy, send $20 to:
Institute for Learning Centered Education
414 Bagdad Road
Potsdam, New York 13676

For more information, you can visit the website of The Institute for Learning Centered Education.

Nonconformist students – allies in educational technology use

Yesterday I posted about the new NSBA report on teen and tween use of online networks for talking about education and creating content. Today, I’d like to review a really interesting part of the report that has gotten less attention – nonconformist students and their use of technology.

Nonconformists — students who step outside of online safety and behavior rules — are on the cutting edge of social networking, with online behaviors and skills that indicate leadership among their peers. About one in five (22 percent) of all students surveyed, and about one in three teens (31 percent), are nonconformists, students who report breaking one or more online safety or behavior rules, such as using inappropriate language, posting inappropriate pictures, sharing personal information with strangers or pretending to be someone they are not.

No surprise here, it’s probably the non-conformist teachers who are also the heaviest users of technology too!

Nonconformists are significantly heavier users of social networking sites than other students, participating in every single type of social networking activity surveyed (28 in all) significantly more frequently than other students both at home and at school — which likely means that they break school rules to do so. For example, 50 percent of non conformists are producers and 38 percent are editors of online content, compared to just 21 percent and 16 percent, respectively, of other students.

These students are more in touch with other people in every way except in person –their own classmates, other friends, teachers, and even their own parents.

These students seem to have an extraordinary set of traditional and 21st century skills, including communication, creativity, collaboration and leadership skills and technology proficiency. Yet they are significantly more likely than other students to have lower grades, which they report as “a mix of Bs and Cs,”or lower, than other students. However, previous research with both parents and children has shown that enhanced Internet access is associated with improvements in grades and school attitudes, including a 2003 survey by Grunwald Associates LLC.

These findings suggest that schools need to find ways to engage nonconformists in more creative activities for academic learning. These students talents are being ignored, when in fact they are:

  • Traditional influentials (students who recommend products frequently and keep up with the latest brands)
  • Networkers (students with unusually large networks of online friends)
  • Organizers (students who organize a lot of group events using their handhelds)
  • Recruiters (students who get a disproportionately large number of other students to visit their favorite sites)
  • Promoters (students who tell their peers about new sites and features online)

So, are these kids your allies or enemies?
These students could be the key to successful school-wide use of technology, providing both expertise and the networking ability to create wider acceptance among their peers. By providing them with a role, graduated responsibility, and an understanding of what the goals are for educational technology, they could be a primary asset, an advance team, and a force for change.

Download the NSBA reportCreating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking (PDF)