A great deal of research has been conducted around 1:1 computing. For the most part, the results have been disappointing at best. From what I have read there are several key misconceptions:
The emphasis was placed on the technology (management, distribution, security, type of device, etc.) not on improving student achievement. It was assumed that the technology was the answer – the more you buy, the better the test results.
Teachers could be taught the technical aspects of using the computer and the software and they would then have all of the skills needed to drive high level use of the technology.
Once teachers understood how to use computers, they would naturally change instructional practice, acquire needed resources, and “be creative.”
Computers would improve student discipline, engage students at higher levels of thinking, level the playing field among SES, ELL, SPED, etc., groups of students.
Administrators could adjust their practices, processes, and procedures to take full advantage of the technology to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the curriculum and student progress. They could also judge the effectiveness of the 1:1 implementation, would know what a highly effective classroom looks like, and could provide support and guidance to the staff.
Those in charge believe that if their district has more computers than the one next door, their district will somehow be better.
What I believe:Laptops are expensive typewriters, and relying on the Internet for most (or all) of one's research is risky. Without significant support for ongoing teacher professional learning and coaching, the cost-benefit ratio of one-to-one computing rarely is justified.
School leadership is a critical element in any educational endeavor, particularly if it requires reallocation of resources, changes in teacher practice, and increased emphasis on student learning with the assistance of technology. From district to site-based administrators, leaders must be committed to the change process and willing to provide long-term dedication to that process. This will require administrative professional development independent of teacher professional development and in conjunction with teacher professional learning opportunities. This must happen over time: years, not months.It’s impossible to overstate the power of each and every teacher in the success and/or failure of 1:1 computing. Teachers must make massive investments in time and effort to adapt their teaching materials and practices to make the 1:1 environment effective and relevant. This will require a professional development plan that meets teachers where they are and moves them along an established learning continuum with the goal of institutionalizing the process to ensure sustainability.
Professional learning and ongoing coaching are the keys to the success of any program that, at its heart, requires teachers to alter their instructional practice; which is exactly what successful 1:1 computing programs demand. This is not accomplished by sporadic, non-connected, large group training but through a long-term methodical plan focused on measurable changes in teacher practices, student engagement and achievement, and student/teacher research skills.
A blended approach is a key aspect of a successful implementation plan. Professional development must apply a connected learning approach; providing ongoing professional development that is goal oriented and requires teachers to put into practice concepts, processes, and content after each professional development session.
It will be important to take a systems approach and create a unique plan of action with each district and to some extent, schools within a district. Any professional leaning plan must take into consideration each organization's goals, culture, and parallel initiatives. Once these are understood, it will be possible to develop services and content tailored to meet the needs of all stakeholders.
Michael Rush, Consultant
Mr. Rush’s career spans over forty years, teachings grades four through twelve in the areas of Social Studies, mathematics, and Language Arts. He received his Masters degree from Ball State University and conducted advanced degree work at Purdue University in curriculum and Instruction. Mr. Rush worked as a consultant for the Indiana Department of Education in the area of Innovative Education and the U.S. Department of Education, evaluating projects seeking dissemination grants. For two years Mr. Rush was a consultant for the Children’s Television Workshop supporting the development and promotion of educational programs. In 1994, Mr. Rush wrote and received his first of three grants from the National Science Foundation. Mr. Rush served as the director of the Institute for Science and Technology from 1994 through 1999. Mr. Rush was also the President of INTEC Consulting, Inc. an educational consulting company that provided high levels of support to schools, districts, and departments of education throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. Mr. Rush served as Vice President of Professional Development and as Vice President for Product Development for Collaborative Learning.