“Create a presentation—kids want to use a laptop,” Evans continued. “Communicate or collaborate with peers—smart phone. Take notes in class—tablet. Read a book or article—digital reader.”
The idea of the ultimate one-to-one device for learning “is, in fact, a fallacy,” Evans concluded. “Kids are multi-mobilists and want to use a variety of appropriate devices for particular tasks.”
Marrying a digital learning initiative to a single device is a mistake that could hinder its success, said Patrick Larkin, assistant superintendent for learning at the Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts.
“Whatever decision you make, it’s a short-term decision,” said Larkin, whose district has given iPads to all high school students. “Technology is changing so fast, and devices are changing so quickly.”
Alexandra Sneed, enterprise solutions marketing manager for Verizon Communications, agreed that flexibility is key.
“Educators and IT departments must be agile, collaborating with and among each other to ensure effective implementations for all involved,” she said. “Successful schools … have recognized that there is not a one-size-fits-all model—and that each entity will need to work within its environment to build the best model that works for its [students and staff].”