Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership
A while back, I posted some information about some research I’ve been conducting about a 1:1 school. Specifically, I’ve been curious about what educators in a 1:1 environment (in this case, a Catholic school) might think these new technologies might have to do with helping kids grow as learners and as people. My original post was based on some really preliminary analyses. Since then, my assistant and I have been pouring over the data, and I wanted to share some revised (and additional) ideas about what we see in this school.
But first, a word about the pictures below. Social Network Analysis (SNA) allows researchers to draw maps, or sociograms, about relationships (among people, events, iguanas, herbs & spices, or whatever). Lines signify those ties. For today, it doesn’t matter how I chose the size, shape, and color of the nodes — in this case, educators throughout the school. Such attributes could represent anything from years of experience, to department, to survey results regarding attitudes about 1:1. For now, I just want to point out the overall shape of social structures in this school.
First up, here is a sociogram of who people talk to when it comes to problems with technology. When I first drew this, I was used a different software than now. See those pendants off the dark blue node to the left, and how much more connected people are to each other and to the light blue node on the right? I had originally wondered if these differences were significant — if there were factions among the school or if the people on the left were better at relying on each other. The jury is still out on what would happen if “big blue” or “little blue” were to leave the school, but in turns out that in general, this is a very strong school with a good core. There are some major go-to people, but the distances from people in the core aren’t that large.
Compare that to who people work together around a lesson. You see how this network is fragmented into separate components. Not shown here are the isolates (people all alone, not connecting with anyone). Also, the network is “stringier.” There are a few people who seem to be more collaborative than others, but overall, collaboration happens in small clumps. Collaboration is more of a paired activity than a group one (such as across a department or grade level). Not shown here, department matters to these clumps, but not always.
Finally, I’ll close with a picture of communication patterns around teaching students about responsible technology use. I’ll be unpacking these maps much more as time goes on, but I’ll close by saying that this really is a school where people think and talk about these things. The more schools get into 1:1, and the more our technologies advance, the more I’m hopeful that other schools might also pay careful attention to helping students be responsible technology users.