Should I Be Thinking About Moving to a One to One Model?

Without thinking about it consciously many of us change the emphasis of this question to make it a financial one that sounds like this: “Can I afford to go to a One to One model?” Our answer is generally, “No, I can barely afford the technology I have today!” When we think like this we believe we are being ‘realists’; but looking at educational technology this way shuts down many possibilities before we’ve fully explored them.

I like the approach that Bernajean Porter espouses:

Reality is too confining. If we are going to transform education, we need to let go of “reality”. If it is worth doing, then let’s do it. We should say “Yes!” first, then deal with questions of “How?” afterReality is too confining. If we are going to transform education, we need to let go of “reality”. If it is worth doing, then let’s do it. We should say “Yes!” first, then deal with questions of “How?” after.

If we keep deploying technology in the same ways we have for years, it seems to me, we are bound to continue getting the same results. It’s time for a new approach. One that puts technology in the hands of teachers and students so that they can move beyond the ‘many watching one’ model…

many watching one

….and ‘shared pencil’ approach that has dominated our classroom-based technology paradigms for decades.

girl boy sharing

How can we move to One to One financially? technically? pedagogically? There are lot’s of strategies to explore. There is no One Perfect Way to travel this path. In just the last two years the emergence of low-cost Netbooks,  Smartphones, new wireless standards, and  the availability of broadband in the home have made the initial cost of One to One more affordable.

In addition, Cloud Computing, virtualization, blade servers, and other new technologies have made One to One more easy to manage. All in all, One to One is more accessible to the average school district than at any time in the last 30 years.

Many visionary districts have found the answers to their questions and have created dynamic new One to One environments for learning. Many are beginning the journey with a single grade level or a single pilot. If you aren’t exploring and plannng for One to One, you should be.

It all starts with saying,”Yes!”


3 thoughts on “Should I Be Thinking About Moving to a One to One Model?

  1. YES!! My school district has embarked upon a project that will get us to 1:1 at the secondary level (6-12) by making it possible for students to bring their own computing devices to school that can access the Internet wirelessly . We are piloting now and plan to begin to allow any students who wish to to bring laptops or other devices to school in January. We are starting at our high school and will expand downward as we experience success. We are using an allowed, encouraged, expected model with the understanding that we won’t go to expected until we can guarantee that we can provide a netbook for year-long check out to our students on free or reduced lunch.
    We are using a product called Stoneware that will allow students to bring anything with wireless and an internet browser to access a virtual desktop that will enable everyone to access all the same programs and get to their files stored on our network.

    Anyone else out there pursuing getting to 1:1 through students bringing their own devices?

  2. Ethan,
    I like the approach of “allowed, encouraged, expected”. I have lots of questions about your pilot and if you are willing to share some of the results with me, I, in turn, will share them with my readers.

  3. When planning for 1:1, whether district purchased or student owned, be sure that your IT department is on board so that security doesn’t get in the way of student access to educational sites, and network robustness is varified.

    At our HS, we have a program in place that allows students to bring in their laptops from home. However, they are on a network that blocks access to secure sites, thus they cannot access the digital learning space used by teachers.

    At our Middle school, we currently have a 1:1 pilot with a team of 8th grade students and teachers. Network connectivity has limmited student access, and is currently impeding implimentation.

    You may want to take a look at a cool project at a district close by to me. The Copernicus Project Here’s a link to the FAQ.

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