What CIOs Can Learn from Project RED

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We recently spoke with Paige Johnson, education strategist for Intel, about the newest research from national research and advocacy plan Project RED (Revolutionizing Education), which surveyed over 1,000 schools about best practices in technology. Intel sponsored the research along with HP, SMART Technologies and Pearson because they believe there is a need to revolutionize the way the U.S. looks at technology as part of teaching and learning.

Q: This research has touched thousands of schools. Why is it so important for school district administrators across the nation? 

Johnson: For school administrators, the research is clear that vision and commitment from the superintendent and lead administrators increases value and return on investment. Distributed leadership buy-in matters, but the superintendent plays a critical role in gaining buy-in. Planning is crucial; you will get a much better ROI if the stakeholders, parents and school board understand the value and that it’s a curriculum program, not a technology program.


Q: There are three goals of Project RED. What is the take away for District CIO’s in districts that for various reasons have been unable to get there?

  • Goal one: Identify the strategies behind districts that considered their significant academic improvement was due to technology.  
  • Johnson: If you really want to focus on academics, this has to be cast across multiple leadership teams, not just the CIO. Technology intensive deployments and cost savings don’t sit in curriculum; you have to look at the return on investment across all divisions to figure out the academic gain
  • Goal two: Research the potentially positive impact of technology in schools 
  • Johnson: One of the interesting things about Project RED is the systematic survey of over 1,000 schools. There are consistent themes about key factors that made for better technology deployments, and we are continuing to gather data on what’s working and finding ways to scaffold those best practices so schools can use them and make them their own.
  • Goal three: Examine the impact of 1:1 computing on student performance and education budgets. 
  • Johnson: We scientifically looked at factors that improve learning environments and analyzed whether they improved graduation rates and student achievement. For example, student achievement increases when teachers align their curriculum to state standards and assessments. Research shows achievement will increase further if you align to standards with a deep technology deployment.