For me, there are four key reasons that schools should transition toward 1:1 technology access for students:
- Broadband, social networks, and mobility have spawned a new kind of learner (Waters, 2011). Children expect different things out of life today than we did in our youth and as a result, technology is a very important (and fully anticipated) part of their experience. Failing to produce the kind of learning environments that are tailored to those of the rising generation will be the hallmark characteristic of defunct schools in this and future years to come.
- In its ubiquity, the Internet has become the primary instrument commonly used to access knowledge on any subject. Under the guidance of a skillful teacher, every student should be privileged with unfettered access to knowledge – unhindered in his or her progress toward understanding. Clearly, an essential role of educators today should be to pay attention to the present (Draper, 2007), while leading students along safe and successful paths to a bright but challenging future.
- When used properly, technology can be the avenue through which teachers and students become co-creators of knowledge. Through these more learner-centric approaches to pedagogy, the “banking” concept of education can better subside as truly impactful learning takes hold (Freire, 1963). With greater access to educational technology, the customized learning, social and emotional support, self-regulation, collaborative and authentic learning experiences, and assessment for learning that commonly accompany learner-centric classrooms can be realized with far greater ease (Aslan et al., 2011; Watson & Reigelut, 2008).
- Outcomes of previous 1:1 efforts have included increased teacher and student engagement, higher test scores and a narrowing of the achievement gap, more effective professional development, and greater digital citizenship and community outreach (see for example Gray, 2011; Digital Education Revolution NSW, 2011).
In your opinion, can schools afford not to make the transition?