Friday, February 15, 2013

Beyond 1:1 Computing

From eSchool News

Why schools must move beyond ‘one-to-one computing’

Ed-tech consultant Alan November recommends using perspective and a new term instead: One to the World

Seize the world

Without question, I believe every student must have 24-7 access to the internet. However, while one-to-one computing might work as a marketing slogan designed to convince schools to buy as many computers as possible, it is a simplistic and short-sighted phrase that suggests if every student had a device and if every teacher were trained to use these devices, then student learning would rise automatically.

Adding a digital device to the classroom without a fundamental change in the culture of teaching and learning will not lead to significant improvement. Unless clear goals across the curriculum—such as the use of math to solve real problems—are articulated at the outset, one-to-one computing becomes “spray and pray.”

If the language we use to describe an initiative sets the tone and direction for it, and if we want to create a more inspiring vision than giving each student a device, then I have a simple proposition: Let’s drop the phrase “one-to-one” and refer instead to “one-to-world.”

This simple, one-word change takes us beyond the focus on the boxes and wires and alludes to why we are making the investment in the first place. The planning considerations now evolve from questions about technical capacity to a vision of limitless opportunities for learning. This change also has enormous implications for the design of staff development. As soon as you shift from “one-to-one” to “one-to-world,” it changes the focus of staff development from technical training to understanding how to design assignments that are more empowering—and engage students in a learning community with 24-hour support.

Developing leadership

Perhaps the weakest area of the typical one-to-one computing plan is the complete absence of leadership development for the administrative team—that is, learning how to manage the transition from a learning ecology where paper is the dominant technology for storing and retrieving information, to a world that is all digital, all the time.

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