Wednesday, December 15, 2010

1:1 on the cheap

When will this be the norm?
I read Patrick Larkin's blog post about his school's quest to become a 1:1 student-to-computer school, and one quote really struck me:

As we start to increase our comfort-level in our new environment, we have to start to think about becoming a school where students have options (more like the real world) where they bring their own devices. 

As I walked around our school today, I saw several students with their own internet devices: laptops, iPads, iPhones, Droids, etc... I also think back to when most students only had basic cell phone for calling and texting. That was only... three years ago? 

How far away are we from a reality where every student brings to school their own wireless device, personalized to what they need it for? I would guess five years or less. (I know that a popular high school graduation present is a laptop, so we can't be that far away.)

We can all agree that a 1:1 laptop-to-student ratio would be ideal. However, in this current economy it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with the funds for it. Why not open up the school's Wi-Fi networks, and encourage all students to bring their own devices?

I don't think we can pick one device that is a one-size-fits-all for a 1:1 school. Students in classes requiring heavy-computing may need their own laptops, while students in Language Arts or Social Sciences may get by just fine with an iPad. Students in vocational classes may not need a wireless device at all.

Another issue: The technology integration that we are encouraging at our school is awesome, but we only have three "open" computer labs available in the school (about 100 computers for 1,7000 students). More and more teachers are wanting to have their kids work online, and our computer labs are booked weeks in advance. Allowing students to bring their own computers would alleviate this problem.

I am waiting for the first brave student to bring in his laptop, plop it on the desk, fire it up, and begin taking notes. It hasn't happened in my classes yet, but I am sure it will soon.

How is your district handling this issue? Should we encourage students to bring their own personal devices to school with them?

1 comment:

  1. Court - Thanks for the mention of my post. It is an exciting time to be an educator! One of the amazing things for me to comprehend is the device that we are looking at utilizing next year, the iPad, didn't even exist a year ago.

    The reality for us here at BHS is that we actually have the infrastructure to go with a "bring your own device" model, but in order to try to make things more manageable we are looking to provide one device for all students to get started.