What are the keys to success in rolling out a one-to-one computing program in schools? “Before you look for keys, you need to have a car,” tweeted Sam Morris, education solutions manager for Lenovo. In this case, the car is a sound plan for what you’re trying to accomplish by giving every student a computing device.
“I think it’s important that you define the goals for 1:1 early in the process of establishing the initiative,” Morris explained.
Morris was leading a Feb. 21 Twitter chat hour on one-to-one computing along with eSchool News Editor-in-Chief Dennis Pierce. The conversation, which took place entirely on the micro-blogging service Twitter, explored strategies for making one-to-one computing work effectively in schools.
During the hour-long chat, readers were encouraged to submit questions and weigh in with responses of their own. The discussion ranged from whether “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs were a good idea, to whether laptops or handheld devices were more effective. It also touched on how to ensure effective teaching and learning with mobile technology.
Reader @vANguyenC17 asked if the trend among schools was to let students bring their own devices. “We’re seeing BYOD taking off in schools,” Pierce tweeted, referring to this recent eSchool News story.
Morris, who oversaw a one-to-one tablet computing program as the instructional technology director for Cary Academy in North Carolina before joining Lenovo, added: “I certainly think there is a lot of conversation around BYOD … but these introduce challenges as well.” He explained: “I think you need to define the common technology needs and goals and determine if BYOD can meet those needs.”
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A key to making BYOD programs work is to “make sure [your] tech infrastructure supports all platforms,” @vANguyenC17 noted.
“The biggest concern I have [with BYOD] is ensuring equitable access. We exacerbate the gap when we don’t manage BYOD well,” tweeted Deb Socia.
“I agree completely that BYOD can increase the digital gap,” Morris responded. “Or it can force all users to the lowest common denominator.”
“Good point,” tweeted Pierce. “Schools should have devices for kids who don’t have their own… and use web resources that aren’t platform dependent.”
“Kids who BYOD also have them to use at home. This would seem to be a distinct advantage over those who use the schools,” wrote @Lucasn_19.
“Yes. We should be enabling access to technology and resources beyond the classrooms,” Morris replied.
“What differences, if any, do you see between mobile-based 1:1 and full laptop-based 1:1?” asked Chris Dede, Timothy Wirth Professor of Learning Technologies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.