1:1 learning in education refers to a model in which each student has access to a portable, networked digital device such as a notebook or tablet that connects students with their teacher, other students, and/or experts. Implementing a 1:1 initiative with any device is a great way to provide students with access to technology in the classroom. Research shows schools that have introduced devices have reported higher levels of engagement and greater participation. As with any large scale technology initiative, there are questions school administrators must answer prior to rollout including:
1. What are our educational goals?
A 1:1 initiative is not about technology, it’s about what schools do with that technology. If their only goal is to buy laptops or tablets, but they don’t have a plan in place, they are headed for failure.
2. How will the device be used?
Before schools can even think about purchasing a device, they need to know how it will be used in the classroom. Will students be editing video? Do they need access to keyboards? Will they be used for testing? It is useful to put together a list of requirements and specifications the device must support.
3. Do we have enough tech support?
You can bet help desk calls will see a noticeable spike once every student is outfitted with a device. This is especially true during those first few weeks of adjustment. If schools don’t have the staff to support these calls, they may want to think twice about embarking on an ambitious technology initiative. Or they may need to get creative with their IT support team. Some schools allow tech-savvy students to help with basic troubleshooting, freeing up school technicians to deal with more serious issues.
4. Can our infrastructure handle more devices?
If a school’s network can’t support an influx of deices, then they can forget going 1:1 until they make significant network changes. Money has to be invested in infrastructure first.
5. Can we commit to providing continuous professional development for teachers?
If teachers don’t feel comfortable with the new technology or don’t know how to use it effectively, students won’t reap the benefits they should. Training has to be constant, and teachers can’t solely rely on mandatory professional development at the time of the rollout.
Implementing a 1:1 program can be a challenge for any district, but proper planning and IT support can go a long way to alleviate the burden. Helping districts answer these key questions is a great way for resellers to establish expertise and build a long, mutually beneficial relationship with their customers.