There is a lot of interest in the education field about 1:1 technology–using laptops, iPads, or even smartphones to extend a students’ learning experience throughout the school day. 1:1 initiatives address universal
themes of equity in education, engagement of all learners, and empowerment as students learn skills that can be transferred to adulthood. It is a question I get often from readers and one I don’t yet have a good answer to. The program is relatively new and requires research in areas such as pedagogy, technology infrastructure, school district policy, stakeholder professional development, community engagement, funding, and organization before it can mature into a sustainable model for schools across the country.
That’s why I was thrilled when Mark Pullen offered to share his thoughts with me. He has first-hand experience using 1:1 technology in the classroom so has first-hand experience with its set up and roll out. He isn’t going to make the decision for you, merely provide factors you will want to consider if you’re investigating this approach. Please give a warm welcome to my guest blogger, Mark Pullen:
Technology has the power to dramatically transform education. Realizing this, many schools have begun to introduce 1:1 (one computer per student) programs that allow all students to have access to technology at all times. The benefits of 1:1 programs can be seen in all subjects: students are able to publish their writing for genuine audiences, practice math using adaptive programs that get harder or easier when needed, view interactive online science dissections, and so much more.
Before jumping into a 1:1 program, however, there are many considerations a school should make to ensure that the program begins successfully. Here are five crucial things to consider beforehand:
- Have the district’s teachers been adequately trained to utilize technology effectively? Without training, many teachers will simply use computers as a sort of virtual worksheet instead of using them as a powerful research and collaboration tool.
- Has the district ensured that there is ongoing tech support to repair student computer issues that will arise? A stash of extra computers will also likely be needed as trade-ins which students can borrow while their device is being repaired.
- Does the district have enough bandwidth and server space to ensure that the user experience will be consistently robust? Computers without fast, reliable Internet access are largely glorified typewriters.
- Have the students’ parents been taught the value of a 1:1 school environment? Without parental support, even the most well-intentioned 1:1 program can quickly fall apart.
- Has the safety of the students’ devices been ensured? With each student carrying a valuable computer around the school each day, a comprehensive theft and damage prevention plan must be in place. Insurance to protect students’ computers is an extremely wise investment as well.
Make sure these five issues are addressed, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful school or district-wide 1:1 program!
About The Author
Mark Pullen, 1:1 classroom teacher, written on behalf of Worth Ave. Group, a provider of laptop, tablet computer, and iPad insurance to schools and universities since 1971. Learn more at http://www.worthavegroup.com/education.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist forExaminer.com, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s seeking representation for a techno-thriller Any suggestions? Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.