I find it very common to hear all the reasons why moving towards 1:1 in our schools will not work.
We don’t have the funds, the teachers won’t use them, I don’t understand how to use them, collaboration is better – the list can go on and on. In my mind, these are all just excuses for not taking the creative leap to provide a computer for each student.
We work at a school in a high poverty area. Every student from grade 3 to 6 has their own laptop. The grade 4’s are expected to bring their machine home every day and work on various programs to supplement their in-school learning.
The prevailing wisdom seems to be BYOD (Bring your own device) which makes no sense. While this allows schools off the hook for paying for computers, it creates an opportunity gap between rich and poor schools. Our parents don’t have the money to buy a computer for their child. We, therefore, are obliged to find the money to invest in machines.
The main reason I am so keen on 1:1 is because the daily use of computers has really revolutionized the teaching and learning at our school. Teachers have been open to learning new programs like Mathletics, Prodigy Math, the Discovery Education Science Techbook, Google apps and Hapara as a learning management tool. They are getting into coding and robotics and our kids are very keen on makerspaces.
I can’t claim that all of this is because of the fact that we moved to 1:1, but it did change how we do things here. The teacher is no longer the sole provider of information. The teacher is a co-learner with the student. Teachers are more apt to encourage students to find their own answers to their inquiries rather than depend on one adult.
If these are just some of the benefits we have seen over the space of our first full year as a 1:1 school, why are others so hesitant?
I have no good answer for that question, but for us there will be no going back.