Project Red, an initiative to "Revolutionize Education" through technology, is researching several thousand schools that provide access to the Internet for every student, asking them what factors contributed to the success or failure of their program. They've recently released their conclusions on the utility and factors for success in 1:1 computing: Project RED
Their research, which spanned almost 1000 schools using a comprehensive survey instrument over the 2009-2010 school year suggested that there are 9 key performance metrics that separate 1:1 computing that has measurable and significant impacts on teaching and learning and 1:1 deployments that are just an added cost without any added educational value.
Here are the Project RED Key Implementation Factors (KIFs) - technology practices improve learning the most, ranked in order of predictive strength:
- Intervention classes: Technology is integrated into every intervention class.
- Change management leadership by principal: Leaders provide time for teacher professional learning and collaboration at least monthly.
- Online collaboration: Students use technology daily for online collaboration (games/simulations and social media.)
- Core subjects: Technology is integrated into core curriculum weekly or more frequently.
- Online formative assessments: Assessments are done at least weekly.
- Student/computer ratio: Lower ratios improve outcomes.
- Virtual field trips: With more frequent use, virtual trips are more powerful. The best schools do these at least monthly.
- Search engines: Students use daily.
- Principal training: Principals are trained in teacher buy-in, best practices, and technology-transformed learning.
Note what is missing from that list. No where does Project RED say You Can Give Kids XO Laptops and Just Walk Away.