1-1 programs for school districts is nothing new. The idea is to give every student their own device to use. Students are given a Chromebook, an iPad, a Laptop, or any mobile device to use as if it was their own. This gives every student equal access to technology.
Along the same lines as 1-1 is BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device policies. The idea is that each student is able to bring their own computer into the classroom. Whatever the student is most comfortable with is what they will use, and the district doesn’t have to buy a computer for students individually.
Both of these systems have a flaw. I’m surprised there isn’t more hybrid systems being used by school districts.
BYOD creates too much of a mess with technology. You can’t have every student being on a completely different platform. This is a nightmare for teachers and staff. How do you make sure resources are available for every students when one student has a Windows 7 netbook, one student has a kindle, one student has an out of date iPad…etc? It’s a mess.
A 1-1 program removes the mess. It gives every student the same tools. The same access to software and resources. The downside? It teaches the students how to use one platform. Technology is an important part of our world today, and a growing part of students lives. Should you only teach them how to work within Google’s ecosystem? Apple’s ecosystem? Students learn how to work withing a particular company when it comes to technology, and can understand the company better than the technology.
I propose a Pick Your Own Device policy for school district. A 1-1 program where students and parents are given a choice of devices (depending on what the district can support). For example, students are given the choice of a Chromebook, iPad, or Linux Netbook. The student can choose the device that best fits their learning style and comfort level. You could even allow students to switch each school year or at the end of the product life cycle (4-5 years).
This gives students choice without getting out of control for teachers and staff. It gives a set amount of variety for teachers and IT staff to accommodate for and makes software and resources are available for everyone. It also ensures that whichever device the student chooses, it will be up to date and able to run school issued software.
What do you think of this set up? Do any school systems currently run a program like this?