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Re: [K12OSN] success stories?



> Just wait 'till you what is happening in Atlanta next  :)
> The real thing that is needed is to get some hard statistics on
academic performance, make the K12LTSP switch and then test again.
Daniel Howard managed to pull some numbers from the big test score (the
CRCT) and compared Brandon to 3 other schools with very similar
demographics. The other 3 were neck-and-neck and Brandon was trailing
them all before the Thin-Client infusion/invasion. The stats changed
dramatically after a year of thin-clients. Brandon took the lead from
the other 3 by a nearly 35% jump ahead (from nearly 20% behind the year
before)!!

So, from that data, can we deduce that k12ltsp makes kids smarter?
Or maybe it would be better to say that k12ltsp doesn't get in the way
of learning, like some other operating systems do.

I've compared Brandon and three similar elementary schools' test scores
in '05 (pre-K12LTSP) to the scores post K12LTSP, here's the chart:

http://home.comcast.net/~dhhoward/crctscores.pdf

The four schools compared are similar in demographics, income and
educational level of parents, and PTA support/funding.  Before K12LTSP,
we were the bottom of the group, and now we're the top, as well as the
top scoring school in our district and third in the state.  Math scores
in particular were sharply up after K12LTSP was installed and all scores
were sharply up in the lower grades.

We'll get a chance to see if it works in 6 other schools this coming
year, as they're rolling out a pilot.  It will require more study, but
here is what I think happened:

* The students spent *a lot* more time doing math at school because the
far more numerous PCs in each class allowed teachers to regularly
schedule time on the First-in-Math web site (where one of our first
grade classes took first in the nation and another took third place) and
also teachers would put students on the PCs practicing math when they
finished other activities early.

* The students were able to test their reading comprehension immediately
after finishing a book using the Accelerated Reader web site, whereas
before they would often have to wait a week or more to be tested when
their turn came up to use the computer lab.

* The students did most if not all of their project work at school
instead of at home since all students could access PCs easily.  In fact,
the 5th grade teachers had them do an inquiry-based project on the Ocean
in the last two weeks of school.  The teachers just turned the students
loose and the students taught themselves about the ocean.  The teachers
said they would have never tried to do a project like that in the last
two weeks of school before, but the 8-9 computers per class is what
allowed them to do it.  The fact that students weren't having to do it
at home may have relieved stress levels of students and parents...

* The students were able to practice the standardized test the week
before the test using an online site provided by the state.  Again, the
teachers could do it in school and help students, whereas before the
teachers relied on students to practice at home online.  Not all kids
have online access at home.  This year, all students were able to
practice.  We have tried to download the data on our use of the online
practice site, but the file is so large, the server times out every
time.  The other schools' data can be easily downloaded.  So we can say
that having all those working PCs at Brandon led to a huge increase in
the amount of time our students practiced taking the state tests.

So, my gut says the most important benefit that K12LTSP gave us is the
ability to afford to drastically increase the number of working PCs in
the classrooms, and coupled with the cable modem I had installed to
drastically improve our Internet speed and reliability, the subsequent
heavy use of First-in-Math, Accelerated Reader, and the state CRCT
practice test web sites, is what gave us the huge jump in test results
this year.  I reiterate that I'm not a huge fan of all the increased
testing and emphasis on test results, but it has allowed us to prove the
benefits of K12LTSP in a way that district folks cannot ignore.

What I cannot prove, but suspect, is that the reason our biggest test
score improvements were in the early grades (K-3) is due to teachers
using GCompris and ChildsPlay every day with the kids.

As Jim Kinney indicated, next year we're going to really emphasize the
full use open source software applications, and I'm going to see if I
can get one of my colleagues at Ga Tech or Ga State University to work
with us and develop some new OSS apps geared specifically to state
curriculum goals.  But every teacher in our school will tell you that
having all those working computers in their classrooms made all the
difference in academic performance, productivity, and satisfaction with
technology this past year.

Daniel







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