Project RED, an ed-tech research and advocacy group that has been studying how technology can help re-engineer the education system, has created a new online community for school technology decision makers that includes access to its research findings.

With funding from HP, Intel, the Pearson Foundation, and SMART Technologies, Project RED a few years ago launched a national research study of 2,000 schools, examining each school’s technology program. The group’s findings suggested that—when implemented effectively—technology can provide a significant return on investment (ROI) and help raise achievement. Project RED also defined what it meant by “effective” implementation: in other words, what the research suggested was the best way for using technology to get the maximum ROI in schools.

Now, Project RED has developed a methodology for effective ed-tech implementation, based on its findings. Tom Greaves, chairman of the Greaves Group and one of the creators of Project RED, said the methodology is available through the group’s new professional learning community that offers tools, resources, and opportunities for school and district leaders to collaborate.

Through this new online community, which is free to join, users will benefit from the knowledge of their peers, and they’ll be able to…

  • Access resources such as a project planner, a one-to-one computing ROI calculator, and a school technology readiness assessment;
  • Participate in webinars and online forums;
  • Review research;
  • Attend regional institutes to learn the Project RED Implementation Protocol and best practices from education leaders with “scars on their knuckles,” Greaves said; and
  • Share challenges and successes.

According to the group’s research, there are four keys to using technology effectively in schools:

1. Personalize learning for all students through frequent, appropriate use of technology integrated with curriculum and instruction in all classrooms and other learning places.

2. Make professional learning and effective use of technology high priorities for administrators and teachers.

3. Use technology such as social media, games, and simulations to engage students and encourage collaboration.

4. Use weekly online assessment to gauge student learning and then tailor instruction for personalized learning experiences.

Project RED also identified nine key factors that affect ed-tech success, although these factors are just a sample of the information available. According to Greaves, the project’s website also offers a 1,000-plus line-item project plan, complete with best practices from districts nationwide.

The nine implementation factors are:

1. Integrate technology into every single classroom.

2. Lead change by giving teachers time for professional learning and collaboration.

3. Engage students daily with technology, including games, simulations, and social media.

4. Fully integrate technology into the daily curriculum across all core subjects.

5. Conduct frequent student assessments online.

6. Provide each student with a computing device with internet access whenever possible.

7. Excite students with virtual field trips.

8. Encourage students to use search engines daily.

9. Support principals to lead change through training of best practices in technology-transformed learning.

“We know that technology alone is not enough,” said Intel Education Strategist Paige Johnson. “Schools need access to the valuable research on what works so that it can help guide the implementation of their technology platform’s deployment. The Project RED initiative gives districts a professional learning community to study best known methods and adapt the approached for their local needs.”

To learn more about Project RED or to join the community, go to http://www.ProjectRED.org or eMail info@ProjectRED.org.

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eSchool News Staff