Griffiths, R., Beesley, A., Shear, L., Araoz, C., & Hsiao, M. (2021). Maintaining momentum of 1:1 programs: Observations from the Apple and ConnectED Initiative. SRI Education.
The Apple and ConnectED Initiative provides valuable lessons for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers about what it takes to sustain 1:1 programs in schools serving high concentrations of students facing socioeconomic barriers. SRI’s 6-year study of the initiative illuminates how key factors and conditions came together in some schools to keep their programs going and reveals some important lessons for future endeavors.
Experience has shown that sustaining the progress of 1:1 programs in schools serving under-resourced communities is hard, as technology requires upkeep and the initial burst of focused energy sparked by new initiatives can dissipate. The Apple and ConnectED Initiative was designed with an intentional approach to building a foundation for continued use of technology and to create conditions that would set school communities on a new learning trajectory, leading to continued deepening and expansion of technology use in classrooms. This vision of sustainability involved ramping up the provision of technology and integration support as schools were ready and then removing these scaffolds gradually to allow schools to assume local ownership of their 1:1 programs.
Through SRI International’s (SRI) 6-year study of the initiative, the Apple and ConnectED Initiative provided a unique opportunity to observe how sustainability played out across many schools over an extended time period. This report describes findings from the research about the strategies that schools used to address inevitable challenges to sustainability and what factors and conditions appeared to make a difference. It further addresses the dynamic relationship among these factors and conditions, which can lead to positive reinforcement.
Schools that appeared to maintain momentum of their 1:1 initiatives demonstrated a broad commitment to the program and shared vision for how technology could support instructional goals, strong leadership (often but not exclusively from the principal’s office), and community support. This shared commitment and leadership made it possible to put plans in place for mobilizing resources and devising ways to keep the program going. The continued use of technology and, in some cases, continued growth in practices and community engagement using iPad devices, produced visible benefits for key stakeholders which in turn helped to reinforce commitment.