Ownership, or Loanership?: One-to-One Access to Technology Is Key
Just a few years ago (in the twentieth century), most people felt that we successfully integrated technology into the curriculum when there were two, four, or even eight computers per classroom. This seemed like enough, because most of the time the computers were not used; you didn't need one for each student.
Others preferred computer labs so that all students could have access to computers at the same time. This system solved the problem of one-to-one access for a short period of time. However, scheduling computer lab time was often problematic. At some schools, teachers had access to the computer lab only two or three times a semester! When COWs (computers on wheels, or carts on wheels) came along, technology integration into the curriculum took a giant step forward.
However, these are all examples of computer loanership. Students and teachers borrow the technology for a limited period of time to do a specific task. Students and teachers were not using the technology as digital tool for a variety of tasks on a regular basis.
Today, when we talk about successful integration of technology, most of us are thinking about one-to-one access. Schools that allow students access to their own computing device notice a significant difference. With ownership, students have access to information 24/7, can work and solve problems 24/7, and have the time to evaluate both their products and process by which they developed the product.
One-to-one technology varies in price from handheld computers to high-end laptop computers. Many handheld computers now include productivity tools, a camera, ample storage space, and wireless keyboards. Many articles explain the successes and pitfalls. As a start, explore The Maine Event: Laptops on Every Desktop, Handhelds Go to Class: Using PDAs in Many Ways, and Apple 1:1 Learning Initiatives.
Tell us what strategies you've used to get each student the twenty-first-century tools they need 24/7.