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Four Principles For Creating a Successful 1:1 School Provided Computing Campus

Written by Jennifer Sturges | Find me on: LinkedIn

bigstock-Teacher-and-school-boy-using-l-137258198.jpgWhile BYOD campuses are praised for their budget conscious approach to implementing technology in the classroom, one to one computing is becoming a more viable option for many school districts. 

However, often the complications of BYOD polices have turned many school districts. With the decrease in cost of affordable laptops, Chromebooks and tablets, schools are often choosing to create one to one computing campuses with devices provided by the school.

1.  Creating a Strong Vision

Introducing a one to one policy is a significant change in the structure of the learning experience.  Adoption is more likely when a shared vision provides a focus on the value for each group of individuals involved.  Such a large change must be adopted by all instructors, administration, support staff, parents as well as students. 

A strong vision and goals of a one to one policy creates a strong foundation for which all other activities must rely on. 

2. Determining Funding

Paying for a one-to-one program is often the primary concern of school districts looking to enhance integration of educational technology.  Focusing on funding before other considerations, however, can cause problems if expenditures do not align with firmly established goals.

Federal, state, and foundation grants are available for technology grants, as are special deals with various computer manufacturers. Some districts hold bond elections specifically for technology purchases or that include technology.

In addition to funding for individual devices, other technology improvements may be required to create a fully immersive technology based learning environment.  Wireless presentation systems that allow group interaction and collaboration, like wePresent, are often included in planning and funding of such initiatives to ensure the overall vision of the program is achieved. 

3. Encouraging Technology Led Instruction

A one-to-one computing environment has a positive effect on student learning when it allows the students to take ownership in the learning experience.

If providing computers to all students merely enhances traditional teaching methods focused on passive consumption, the return on investment will not be actualized.   Professional development is a key component, perhaps the most important component, in a one-to-one initiative.  Here are a few components to consider when addressing technology led instruction:

  • Do decision makers have a thorough handle on the attitudes held towards technology by the entire instructional staff?
  • Do instructors possess a high enough level of technology literacy to quickly adapt? For those who do not, what training will be provided?
  • Is professional development training designed to address one to one computing environments?

4. Planning Implementation

Policymakers must make decisions about who will have access to individual computers and when they will receive them.  Few districts have the funds, or the desire, to supply all students in grades K-12 with computers at the same time. 

In additional to who will receive devices first, how they will be distributed is also a major component to a successful one to one computing plan.  There are two primary ways one to one programs can be designed:

  1. Classrooms will be provided with carts to house technology in which students check out a device while in the room and return it at the end of the day.
  2. Individual students are assigned a device which they will “own” for the entire school year, including being allowed to take the device home.

Each method of providing devices has its own strengths and weaknesses.  While a check out method provides peace of mind that district property will be used correctly and not be damaged, it impacts the ability to incorporate technology for outside of the classroom.  Careful consideration should be made and polices put in place to ensure whatever method is used is designed to eliminate risk and maximize the value to the learning experience. 

In addition to how devices will be distributed, access to the internet on campus and at home is also a consideration when designing a policy for your district. More and more, schools are opting to provide students with internet access at home in order to completely immerse students in a technology driven learning experience. 

When providing minors with technology and internet access, ensuring legal compliance is a crucial step in the implementation process.   Adhering to the Children Internet Protection Act and other federal and state legislation is crucial to ensure the school district protects its students from the dangers of having open access to technology.  

Keep in mind legislation often lag behind current technology, considering additional district policies designed to protect students should be a significant consideration when planning implementation.

With the rise of school sourced one to one computer initiatives, those beginning the process of providing technology to students have a great advantage of learning from districts who already have “crash tested” such systems over many years.  The growth of in-room collaboration solutions designed to complement one to one polices also provides new and exciting ways to engage students in active learning environments that move away from traditional instructor-led approaches.

Learn more about our classroom technology solutions on our website

Topics: Interactive classrooms , Classroom technology , K-12

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