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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Reflecting on One-to-One Programs

Mary Beth Hertz

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

More and more schools are bringing laptops, netbooks, and other mobile computing devices into the classroom. Here are some thoughts on these initiatives.

1) Common Understanding
What does 1:1 mean in your school? Does it mean that each student has a mobile device at his or her fingertips, or does it mean that each student has the possibility of using a device? (Hint: One of these is not truly 1:1.)

2) Staff Competence
How well-versed is your staff with these devices? Have they been given adequate time to tinker with the tools before putting them in the hands of their students?

3) Infrastructure
Can your infrastructure handle the increase in devices? Do you have a plan in place to support the addition of these devices to your wireless network?

4) Mobile Device Policy
Do you have a mobile device policy in place? If so, have your students and their parents read and agreed on this policy?

5) Theft or Other Problems
What will you do if a device is lost, stolen or destroyed?

6) Ongoing Support
How will you continue to support your staff throughout the year with incorporating mobile devices into their classrooms in an efficient, meaningful and productive way?

Making 1:1 Work for You

These are just a few of the considerations you should be making when looking at introducing a 1:1 environment at your school or in your classroom. Remember, 1:1 can mean iPads, iPods, netbooks, laptops, e-readers or any other mobile learning device. You need to take a look at your needs and your resources before making a decision on what kind of device to bring into the learning environment.

Following a fad, or copying what the school down the street did will no doubt lead you down a path toward frustration and wasted resources. First, assess the learning environment. Why will these devices help enhance or improve instruction? If you are going school-wide with devices, ask the teachers for input as well as the families and students.

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