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Hawaii’s Access Learning 1:1 Pilot – Year One Successes

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of SETDA members. Today’s post comes from Stephanie Shipton, currently serving as an Institutional Analyst in the Office of Strategic Reform at the Hawaii Department of Education.

Across the country, schools are starting to implement 1:1 initiatives. In the 50th state, its 1:1 pilot program, Access Learning, is showing remarkable preliminary results.

The Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) Access Learning pilot project focuses on providing schools with support and resources to use technology as a tool to transform teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Schools applied and were selected based on their network capacity, readiness to implement large scale school-wide change, ability to participate in professional development, identification of a school level project team, sufficient on-site technology coordinator support, and capacity to participate in the project evaluation. Ultimately, eight schools were selected: six elementary schools, one middle school, and one combined middle/high school. Schools identified their preferred devices (laptops or tablets), received one device per student and teacher, and a spare pool of equipment equivalent to six percent of their total device count.

The year one report from the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Access Learning Pilot Project showed:

  • Collaboration and communication among and across administrators, teachers, students, and parents has increased.
  • Efficiency and work quality of administrators, teachers, and students has increased.
  • Students believe their schoolwork is more relevant and engaging.
  • Parents believe public schools are now on par with private schools relative to preparing students for success.
  • Combined loss/theft rate of .089 percent.
  • 93 percent of teachers believe the technology will help them align instruction to the Common Core.

Achieving success required HIDOE leaders to work together across office lines – curriculum, technology, and policy. Work began with a comprehensive professional development plan that supported principals’ development of a school-wide vision and plan. Teachers participated in a series of professional development sessions with follow up, on-demand, small group support. School and area technology coordinators worked with the technology office and outside vendors to develop and load device images. The policy office worked with department leadership and others to coordinate and resource various aspects of the program. HIDOE also secured theft deterrent software, leading to a partnership with local police departments. The project team developed a new digital device usage policy, 1:1 change management guide, and a Google Apps for Education run book.

What was observed in classrooms?

  • Kindergarteners filming each other reading out loud to provide feedback on pronunciation.
  • Fourth graders conducting a live virtual field trip to a volcano crater to teach their peers around the world about volcanic flora and fauna.
  • Middle schoolers researching band compositions and better understanding sheet music.
  • High schoolers using technology to collaborate on documents and presentations.

What did we learn?

  • Success requires visionary school leadership. The principals in the Access Learning schools set the tone for implementation and modeled strategies for using technology.
  • Access to sufficient network bandwidth can make or break a 1:1 project. This is more than just bandwidth – check your access points and infrastructure.
  • Teachers need to be empowered with professional development tailored to their needs. This means school-by-school professional development sessions and opportunities for peer-to-peer support. For example, curriculum office staff on campus to provide teachers the opportunity to schedule time for individual support.
  • Parents and communities are allies and partners – bring them in to the fold. Schools conducted parent nights, put up anti-theft posters at local businesses, spread the word to prevent theft, and partnered with local businesses to identify areas where students could access Wi-Fi if they did not have home access.

With the first year of implementation under HIDOE’s belt, the lessons learned provide meaningful next steps as the Department moves forward. For more information, visit: and for project resources visit:


shiptonStephanie Shipton is currently an Institutional Analyst at the Hawaii Department of Education in the Office of Strategic Reform. In this role, she is responsible for oversight and management of Race to the Top reforms on standards, assessments, and network upgrades. In addition to overseeing portions of the state’s Race to the Top grant and providing strategic policy support. Ms. Shipton also oversees the Department’s Access Learning Pilot Project – an $8.2 million 1:1 pilot in 8 schools across the state. Prior to her role at the Hawaii Department of Education, Ms. Shipton served as a policy analyst with the National Governors Association (NGA), where she led strategic consulting services to the nation’s governors on education policy efforts related to charter schools, the Common Core State Standards, and supporting learning outside of the school day. Ms. Shipton also worked on early warning indicator, adolescent literacy, and graduation rate policy and research for the Alliance for Excellent Education and has held roles at Capital Partners, Inc; and on the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for Senator Kennedy.

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