Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow
Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) is a research and development collaboration among public schools, universities, research agencies, and Apple Computer, Inc. Initiated in 1985, ACOT began its work in seven classrooms that represented a cross section of America's elementary and secondary schools. Its goal was to study how the routine use of technology by teachers and students might change teaching and learning. Over the 10 years, ACOT has studied learning, assessment, teaching, teacher development, school design, the social aspects of education, and the use of new technologies in more than 100 elementary and secondary classrooms throughout the country. After a solid decade of research, the ACOT project is one of the longest continuing educational studies of its kind. Now, in its second decade, ACOT is collaborating with schools internationally to explore constructivism mediated by technology, emphasizing collaboration over the Internet.
In ACOT classrooms, students and teachers have immediate access to a wide range of technologies, including computers, videodisc players, videocameras, scanners, CD-ROM drives, modems, and on-line communications services. In addition, students can use an assortment of software programs and tools, including word processors, databases, spreadsheets, and graphics packages. In ACOT classrooms, technology is viewed as a tool for learning and a medium for thinking, collaborating, and communicating.
ACOT's research has demonstrated that the introduction of technology to classrooms can significantly increase the potential for learning, especially when it is used to support collaboration, information access, and the expression and representation of students' thoughts and ideas.
Realizing this opportunity for all students, however, requires a broadly conceived approach to educational change that integrates new technologies and curricula with new ideas about learning and teaching, as well as with authentic forms of assessment.
ACOT's mission is to advance the understanding of teaching and learning in global, connected communities of educators and learners. This includes investigating how teaching and learning change when people have immediate access to technology as well as helping people better understand how technology can be an effective learning tool and a catalyst for change.
There are three ACOT sites in the United States:
- Portal Elementary School, Cupertino Union School District, Cupertino, CA
- Dodson Elementary School, Nashville Metropolitan School District, Nashville, TN
- West High School, Columbus Unified School District, Columbus, OH
All three of these schools house ACOT Teacher Development Centers, where a full time Teacher Development Center Coordinator hosts weeklong Practicums with teachers from throughout the District, where they can observe the constructivist practices of the ACOT Mentor Teachers in a situated learning environment. They also host 2-week long Summer Institutes where teachers and students can learn experiment with new technologies and constructivist practice.
There are currently four International ACOT sites:
- Örbyskolan, Stockholm, Sweden, Apple Computer Press Release
- St. Andrew's High School, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland
- St. Berthuin, Malonne. Belgium, Apple Computer Press Release
- Apollo Parkways Primary School, Melbourne,Victoria, Australia
In addition to these school districts where research has been conducted for more than a decade, ACOT has been associated and affiliated with other schools during the past ten years exploring the use of new technologies from Apple's laboratories.
- Ross School District, Ross, CA
- Teacher Beliefs and Practices Part I: Patterns of Change - Discusses the findings from the first through fourth year at ACOT sites with classrooms of students with high access to technology. Report #8, 1990.
- Teacher Beliefs and Practices Part II: Support for Change - Continues a discussion of the findings from the first through fourth year at ACOT sites with classrooms of students with high access to technology. Report #9, 1990.
- Teaching in High Tech Environments: Classroom Management Revisited - Discusses the findings from the first through fourth year at ACOT sites of managing students in classrooms with high access to technology. Report #10, 1990.
- High School Mathematics - Discusses the development at ACOT sites of teachers' knowledge and implementation of a problem-based mathematics curriculum using multirepresentational software. Report #11, 1990.
- Partnerships for Change - Discusses the evolution of ACOT and suggests findings that might influence the success of other education-business partnerships. Report #12, 1992.
- The Relationship Between Technological Innovation and Collegial Interaction - How technology-rich environments such as Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow influence and encourage collegial interaction among teachers. Report #13, 1992.
- Group Authorship Among Second Graders Using Multimedia Composing Software - Discusses the negotiations among second graders for group authorship when using multimedia composing software. Report #14, 1992.
- When Teachers Utilize Student Expertise in Technology-Intensive Classrooms - How the introduction of technology served as a catalyst for instructional change and led to major role shifts for both teachers and students. Report #15, 1992.
- Influence of High Computer Access on Students' Thinking, Learning, and Interactions - How students use the computer to expand their ways of knowing, sharing, and collaborating. Report #16, 1992.
- Creating an Alternative Context for Teacher Development - Evolution of a professional development project in which teachers learn not only about using technology in the classroom, but also about changing their instructional role--from dispenser of knowledge to facilitator in the construction of knowledge. Report #17, 1994.
- The ACOT Teacher Development Centers - An innovative staff development project that assists teachers as they learn to integrate technology and move toward a more constructivist approach to teaching. Report #18, 1994.
- Environments That Support New Modes of Learning - The physical impact of adding technology to traditional classrooms, the consequent effect on teaching and learning, and teachers' recommendations for improving classroom design. Report #19, 1994.
- Media Fusion - The teaching/learning observed when students use prototype tools provides for further development of the tools. Report #20, 1994.
- Student Engagement: Views from Technology-Rich Classrooms - How technology-rich learning environments facilitate student engagement, the potential challenges for teachers, and the implications all of this has for technology integration. Report #21, 1994.
- Integrating Technology into Classroom Instruction - This report presents research findings from Year Two of the ACOT Teacher Development Centers project, a model of teacher development that goes beyond the traditional teacher in-service experience. Participating teachers learn by observing and working extensively with accomplished ACOT teachers and students during actual schools days. Report #22, 1996.