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K-12 Consultancy Pushes 5 Steps for 1-to-1 Success

A company that consults in K-12 on how to integrate technology with curriculum has developed a five-stage process for preparing schools to tackle 1-to-1 programs -- a process it says takes three to four years to achieve fully. BEYOND Technology Education (BTE) calls its integration process SWIMGrid for "school-wide integration model."

"I started using the BTE program with my students three years ago, and it changed the way I engaged with students and their parents," said Kimberleigh Brown, director of education technology at Los Gatos Christian School in a statement. The school, based in Northern California, teaches students on dual-boot iMacs with both Mac OS and Windows to help them learn which tool is best for the given work. The campus also has iPads and pervasive wireless access.

The school works with BTE to integrate classroom curriculum with technology. That includes teaching the use of Microsoft Office, keyboarding, and basic hardware skills from kindergarten on.

"There are so many ways to use technology and challenge students to apply technical skills in creative ways. This is the most exciting time to be in education, and the changes technology can bring to education are huge," Brown added.

The Grid developed by BTE includes five phases:

1. Train the teachers. If instructors aren't confident using the technology, they'll have trouble integrating it with their curriculum. They need to speak up to get the support they require. Advises the company, "Start by identifying the level of technology knowledge and training gaps to uncover where the real needs are."

2. Seek ways to equip students with 21st century skills. View technology as a "productivity tool," to encourage students to tackle complex problems through project-based learning.

3. Integrate technology into the curriculum. Says BTE, "Add technology projects to fit into existing curriculum. The goal: to provide students with technical skills and to show them how to apply what they're learning to the real world. Inspired students, the company notes, are motivated learners."

4. Build the infrastructure with a view to the future. The classroom networking infrastructure needs to be secure and ready to handle the new and growing loads being imposed by mobile computing, the use of digital textbooks, streaming video, and other broadband-hungry applications.

5. Track and assess projects. Make sure to schedule "periodic assessments," says BTE, to make sure that new instructional practices stay on track and hit their goals over the long-term.

"Technology surrounds every aspect of our lives and will continue to well into the future," said BTE co-CEO and Founder Ernie Delgado. "Ultimately, our goal is to prepare youth for their future, giving them both technical and creative skills needed to adapt to changing environments."

BTE customers include Marquez Charter School in California in and Lamb of God Lutheran School in Las Vegas, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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