Building Best Practices for Technology Use in Education

uls-edtech2In 2012, University Laboratory School (ULS) began a year-long pilot to research and develop “gold standards” for implementing and sustaining technology in education, including current trends involving 1:1 technology, Google Apps for Education, and Internet service routing devices.

Unlike other schools, districts, and states, ULS designed their pilot not simply to deploy technology, but to determine best practices in technology integration that are tied to effective teaching, learning, curriculum development, and professional development. Further, the pilot included a router program, meant to increase student Internet security and help parents create safe online access in the home as an extension of the constantly supervised secure networks at school.

uls-edtech1This study built upon the successful ULS Tech PD, a year-long technology professional development initiative, which aimed to build basic fluency and understanding of ULS hardware, software, and virtual communities among the entire faculty and staff as well as a much smaller scale “pre-pilot” conducted in the summer of 2012 at CRDG Summer Programs (see p. x). ULS and CRDG researchers involved in this 1:1 pilot program believe that advanced planning, administrative support, carefully structured experiences for teachers and staff, and a comprehensive view of technology and its role in teaching and learning are needed to ensure appropriate and innovative use of technology in education. Because of this careful planning, the program at ULS has been a success; but these kinds of successes are not easy to come by. Thus, the 1:1 pilot study researchers have created a variety of ways to share their knowledge and experiences with others. Educators and education-related professionals from around the state and country have visited ULS in person or via Google Apps for Education to observe what is possible when technology is utilized to support collaborative learning communities, the key to understanding and using practices and habits of mind necessary for college and career readiness and critical thinking.