Los Angeles Unified’s ipad rollout not going according to plan

One of the themes in Keeping Pace is that online and blended learning are not primarily about technology. More important is the instructional approach built around extended learning, personalized instruction, and similar goals that are not achieved simply by putting a computer in students’ hands. Los Angeles Unified School District’s attempt to use ipads is becoming a useful cautionary tale of what can go wrong when the focus is primarily on technology—but unfortunately it is a lesson learned at the expense of millions of taxpayer dollars and countless lost hours for teachers and students.

If you’re not familiar with the background, the LA Times has a good story to review the basics. For additional analysis, check out the blog post at Mind/Shift. It’s worth reading some of the comments after that story as well.

We’re not familiar with the LA USD situation specifics, but the blog post analysis rings true. It talks about not leaving enough time for implementation, and a lack of professional development, as the first two causes of problems so far. Both of these, in our experience working with schools implementing online and blended learning, are the most common problems. They also go together, because providing the time for the necessary professional learning for teachers is often what requires months–if not years—of lead time, planning, and piloting.