1:1 District

Books can be heavy, backbreaking, back pack filling, lunch squashing, P.E. clothes stink absorbing, easy to leave at home forgetfully, annoyances.  Ever see these hunched over children using their entire body weight to counter balance the five books and three binders in their army, oops (back), packs trudging home from school?

(http://www.stacksandstacks.com/blog/2007/08/07/consider-ergonomics-when-choosing-childrens-backpacks/)

(http://www.jsonline.com/news/health/beware-of-backpacks-14000-children-treated-yearly-for-injuries-b9984635z1-222888831.html)

Technically, a 1:1 (1 to 1 for those who forget ratio notation) school district, properly executed, could alleviate this problem.  Imagine:

(http://imaginationsoup.net/2012/09/backpacks-for-super-hero-super-kids/)

Isn’t that better, the right size back pack with the same amount of information?  In a 1:1 district there is one computing devise (laptop, tablet, cell phone or the like) for each student.  Each student has the world and beyond at their finger tips where ever they are.  The computer can individualize pace and provide for creative thinking, and world wide collaboration.  In the ideal educational setting this is and excellent notion.  But preparations must be made ahead of implementation.

Without the proper software, that allows the textbooks or other resources to be accessible by the devise, it defeats the intentions of the initiative!  Teachers need technology that is helpful not burdensome.  No software means the teacher has to search and vet the entire internet for all of the information to be used in the classes.  As well, the missing educational software provides and idol hands situation for students.

XZY School District provides new Apple computers to each high school student minus Microsoft software.  The (many years back) Apple software is ineffective, outdated, and not used in the real world for word processing or spreadsheets.  What did the students do you ask?  Listen to iTunes (that could not be removed from the devices), and counterfeit money to use in the school cafeteria (fooled everyone but the bank)!

What about repairs to broken computers?  Who pays for them?  Who fixes them?  Where do they get fixed?  How long will it take to get them back?  How much will it cost?  What does the student do in the meantime?  Is there a punishment for that student?  How much time is used by an administrator investigating the damage?

Who will be providing the server and is it strong enough?  XZY School District again now has laptops in the hands of all of its middle school students (about 18 schools) and all of its high school students (about 9 schools).  The entire district plans to conduct their state standardized tests on the students computers on the same day.  Results as follows: catastrophic server crash, everyone scrambles to find scantrons (that were so expensive versus the computers) that must be express ordered at on season cost (higher), finger pointing, stress for all, etc.

Yes, the idea of 1:1 would individualize instruction and products, provide access to the world, speed feedback, allow for tremendous creativity and higher thinking.  BUT, those in power and pushing the intuitive must answer a multitude of questions and implement multiple policies to keep up with the speed of the tools!  Any skipped step can lead to a domino effect of other issues.  If you want the honey, you have to figure out how to handle the bees and their stings!

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