I asked 3 questions of the educators in charge of their district’s upcoming 1:1 student computing initiative. They worked in small groups and used editable Google spreadsheets to record their responses…
- If our 1:1 initiative is wildly successful, what will we see? We tried to create vivid, concrete images that were emotionally resonant, thus helping with meaning-making. We took our answers and lumped them into ad hoc categories on a separate Google document (e.g., student independence and self-direction, student interaction and collaboration, learning cultures and processes, digital citizenship and information literacy, management and support). We now had a basic picture of desired awesomeness.
- What will we need to do to ensure our envisioned successes? We focused on the success enablers that will lead to the positive outcomes and desired results that we identified in Step 1. [Not shown in results: We also put those into an effort-impact matrix to see which ones were easy wins or were more difficult but worth the hard effort (and which ones weren’t).]
- Why will our 1:1 initiative fail? Instead of doing a postmortem afterward, we did a premortem up front to identify reasons that the initiative will fail. We wanted to identify the success blockers that will get in the way of what we envisioned in Step 1.
We then took the responses in Steps 2 and 3 and organized them by Bolman and Deal’s leadership frames. This helped us identify main themes, see patterns, and think about necessary action steps across the spectrum. See our final results.
See the documents that we used to facilitate our work
Tips: Two to three sentences for each response – not single words or short phrases – to facilitate depth of understanding and conversation. After each step, have them look at the other groups’ responses and discuss, first in their small group and then as a large group. Have a separate notes document ready to capture thoughts that emerge from those large group discussions. Working through the three spreadsheets takes 2 to 3 hours; this doesn’t include writing up the final results.
- Visioning spreadsheet
- Tip: Have them look at another group’s responses and highlight the 2 or 3 that are the most emotionally resonant.
- Success enablers spreadsheet
- Tip: Only put numbers in the matrix below the list, not the whole text of each response.
- Success blockers spreadsheet
- Tip: Have them look at another group’s responses and highlight the 2 or 3 most important ones on the list.
- Final results