That’s the title of a recent article on Scholastic.com, and it’s an interesting one. According to the article,
Across the country, the same question is being considered. The idea of having 1:1 computing in schools has turned from if to when, and while the last great hurdles remain price and sustainability, more and more administrators are wondering if the answer isn’t already in their students’ backpacks and bedrooms.
Definitely a valid question to ask, and I agree with the article that this is more of an issue of when rather than if. Also, when considering that many schools or districts cannot afford to start, let alone sustain, a 1 to 1 technology project, regardless of the device, it is good to see that some educators are actually beginning to consider the possibility that students could bring in their own devices, and not just laptops. In fact, while most of the Scholastic article deals with the implementation of laptops brought in by students, the ending is the most telling:
Pennsylvania’s Murray already sees students shying away from laptops because of the weight of carrying them around. “It’s much more likely in a few years all students will have their own smartphones,” he says.
The mini computers that are popping up with smaller form factors might become the next big player in the K–12 space, he says. Forsyth has even looked into using Sony Playstation handhelds in class, noting that they have a “decent Web browser.”
“We want to support whatever kids bring in,” he adds.
And I don’t think it’s just the weight and size of laptops that are causing this attitude in students. There are also the differences in cost, accessibility of the technology (as in, no need to wait minutes for my laptop to boot up), and tool-to-use fit (i.e. no overload of unnecessary bells and whistles).
As the article states, there are many hurdles to be overcome to make this all work, but the fact that it is being considered at all is a giant step forward (and as a final note, I commend the parents who went to their local school board and “asked the board why their son couldn’t connect to the network that they as taxpayers helped pay for,” with a laptop brought from home).
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts…
Image credit: “Nigeria wide banner”, from One Laptop Per Child’s photostream: