August 4, 2014

Scaling Educational 3D (3)

In our previous post we highlighted two of the strategies used by Holli Hillman used in scaling 3D beyond the single school installation or pilot project. In this post we will unpack three more practical strategies worth emulation: 

The Plan.  Most school technology efforts use an approach like this: “Fire, Aim, Ready!” Ms. Hillman’s paradigm became “Ready…Aim… Fire!” She knew that “you don’t just buy 3D.” You plan for 3D; you think it through; and you try to remove as many obstacles as you can before you begin. In developing her action plan, Ms. Hillman sought help from both inside and outside the district, ensuring that her efforts would indeed be successful.

The Promotion. In a famous Russian farce by Ilf and Petrov, “Christopher Columbus Discovers America,” there’s a saying uttered by Christopher Columbus that goes like this: “Without publicity—there’s no prosperity!” Effective scaling of 3D from one school to many schools requires marketing and promotion. In the midst of her project, Ms. Hillman wrote the following note to me: “This morning I had a VIP visitor. Brenda Cassellius, the Commissioner of Education for the state of Minnesota came in to view our district’s 3D set up and the way in which we are using it. Then on Monday,  I will have a Congresswoman here also. Very exciting things happening!”

The Results. In education, effective promotion is more likely to see scale increase if results are strongly evident. Simply using technology is never as convincing as is producing results with technology. Ms. Hillman didn’t merely show off the technology, she marketed the results of using 3D in the classroom. She began to gather informative student anecdotes or stories, collect data on student performance and improvement, and document  how well—or how quickly—students were learning.

In our next and final post in this series about scaling educational 3D, we will explore three more critical strategies. Please come back next week.

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