The movement toward a one-to-one computing environment—that is, one device for every child—soon will be moot, says Phil Emer, director of technology planning and policy for The Friday Institute, which is housed within North Carolina State University. “The truth is, we’re going to blow through one-to-one. Right now, we might have four kids to one machine, but two years from now, we’ll have one-to-four. That is, one kid to four devices.”

That might not seem possible for schools to manage or support—but to remove some of the burden, schools should considering stopping the practice of doing certain things locally and do...

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