Don't Implement One-to-One Devices in the Classroom Unless...Posted by Paul Barnwell on Sunday, 10/13/2013
Driving to work a few weeks ago, I listened to a completely unsurprising story on NPR. The story, titled “Students Find Ways To Hack School-Issues iPads Within A Week,” highlights the Los Angeles Unified School District’s early challenges in attempting to provide devices to 600,000 students.
Students quickly discovered ways to get around software meant to block Facebook and other sites, with some entrepreneurial students even charging classmates two dollars to hack the iPads. Think students were trying to hack their way into access for better educational apps, games, and websites? Heck, no!
"Most students employ a deeply ingrained practice of using digital devices primarily for entertainment, and this is the paradigm we must chip away at."
The alluring qualities of social media interaction, on-demand YouTube music videos, and taking instagram photos will continue to attract students. The entertainment factor isn’t going anywhere with mobile devices. In fact, it only seems to become more individualized by the minute.
With that said, I’m still a proponent of thoughtfully integrating a healthy dose of digital devices and open internet access in as many classrooms as possible. But don’t implement one-to-one policies or open cell phone access unless…
1. All teachers are trained and comfortable with resources, tools, and classroom strategies for using digital tools instructionally. I still have my own struggles in my classes--I have to deal with students seemingly addicted to instagram and Twitter--but I’m trying to encourage their use of cell phones to create reminders and lists, access our classroom Schoology site, and use Google Drive if computers are unavailable. The digitally connected world forces individuals to make constant choices about how to use devices, and I’m trying to provide students with an arsenal of tools.