Thanks for your support both online and in face to face conversations as I have worked on my e-Teacher class work through the wikis and google docs.

Last question:
If we get the 1:1 initiative in grades 3-5, what implications do you see that having for our Mastery Extension vision and implementation?
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Wow! This question makes me think about my classroom and kids in a very practical way. Since fifth grade will have several "tiers" to our Mastery Exension work, we can use the laptops to differentiate instruction anywhere in the building for each tier. Our computer lab is used on a regular basis by every classroom and getting in there to work outside of our regular classroom time is challenging; that leaves us with various supported and unsupported laptops in the building to use. The unsupported laptops don't meet the requirements for installing Adobe Flash, a must have if you're trying to do anything from this century :-). Having an updated laptop for each student means that we can target specific skills with our students (using any online sources), have students bookmark their particular skill's site or save their work to their own computer, and continue to build upon previous work in a smooth and continuous flow. Without personal laptops we spend a lot of time checking to be sure laptops are able to support student learning (updated software) and reorienting students to last week's work. Elementary teachers have limited time to plan for and deliver multi-content instruction. We could maximize student learning with 1:1 laptops.

Certainly having a laptop for each student will allow us to be more flexible with our strategies. We would no longer be restricted by reserving the already limited number of laptops ahead of time and trying to find the time to go get them andboot them up. If needed, we could fine tune the mastery extension concept to target specific concepts of the larger topic being remediated.

I see us being more accountable to differentiate and teach to high levels. If every kid grades 3 - 5 has answers to every test question that has ever been asked with them 24/7, we have to ask better questions and help kids develop better skills in using the tool. And by kids, I mean ALL kids.

What kinds of activities would you set up for your "assigned" tier this round--the kids who have the skills and need some extension?

For the next three weeks my assigned tier includes a portion of the students who scored 90% or higher on a grade level math assessment. We're going to be using FabLab, a 3-D modeling software program. I'll present kids with a marketing/packaging challenge and they will design a container that meets certain specifications. Student designs become "nets", that when printed out on the FabLab printer and constructed, become real-life, tangible containers for students to evaluate. It's a great way to get kids to think literally "outside of the box" and creatively to solve an authentic problem.

We are working on graphing. I could have the students construct graphs using the laptops. I could search for interactive sites that would allow the students to interpret and manipulate graphs. We will also be working on addition and subtractions facts. There are tons of interactive drill and practice sites for facts mastery.

I envision using the technology as a way of moving kids from understanding to helping others understand. That said, students who "have the skills" will be asked to do something with them! This may include creating materials for others to use or any number of other tasks.
As with the rest of the instructional day, computers can be used in a multitude of ways. However, especially during mastery, if students had their own computers, the set up and break down after transitioning into a non-homeroom class for the short amount of time would be minimized. Borrowing of laptops, usually non-supported ones that do not run all scripts, would not be needed. Consistency and reliability would increase over what we are doing now. Students could begin and end assignments at their own pacing, and save assignments to their computers, which would allow for more individualized instruction.

A theme running through both comments here is the pain of computers not working correctly or as desired--either not being set up similarly, or not being supported, so thus too old to run the latest scripts or plug-ins we want running. That would certainly be a non-issue with all new computers, hm?

We cannot expect that just because the computers are new we won't have to do anything to keep them running. I would expect each and every teacher is required to develop some troubleshooting skills and solve many problems for themselves. I also expect the kids will be expected to become their own troubleshooters within limits. Perhaps we should have a basic troubvleshooting workshop run by DART and have each teacher bring 2 or 3 kids with them?

What a great idea! How young do you think we should go with this idea?