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What is a one to one (1:1) program?
One to one refers to the ratio of devices to students. In our case, 1:1 will mean an iPad for each Middle School student that is theirs to use at home and at school.
Why go 1:1?
Our students are living in a digital world. Greater access to technology will help teachers to provide instruction in a greater variety of ways and will enable students to learn and be creative in a greater variety of ways.
In a more practical sense, demand for technology has regularly been exceeding supply. Teachers are eager to take on new projects and lessons using technology but have had difficulty finding available times for our existing labs.
The iPad is the leader in the tablet market. This is beneficial for families considering supplying their own device, but more importantly, development of apps and educational resources from publishers is heavily slanted towards the iPad. In addition, iOS is known for ease of use which will help to reduce the learning curve for our students who are new to the devices. The tablet form factor is ideal for our intended uses, including both consumption activities (reading and other media) and creative activities (organized notes, multimedia projects). Battery life will allow devices to make it through the school day and homework on a single charge.
Why does everyone need to have the same device?
Uniformity of device empowers teachers to plan lessons and projects with greater knowledge of what to expect. It simplifies the task of supporting the devices when a teacher doesn’t have to be an expert in multiple platforms and the corresponding apps. Ultimately, device uniformity eliminates one variable that could make a lesson or project challenging.
How will this improve learning?
An iPad does not improve learning on its own, but is a tool to complement good teaching. A 1:1 program will improve learning by facilitating student ownership for their learning. Students will be able to explore questions and collaborate with classmates. Digital textbooks and other online resource provide a current, rich, interactive learning experience.
How will 1:1 affect students with diverse learning needs?
There is great potential in a 1:1 program to reach students at all levels. Ease of access to the internet and apps lends itself perfectly to enrichment activities. Our students with learning challenges will also benefit from the iPad’s ability to reach different learning styles through approaches including speech-to-text, text-to-speech, mind-mapping, media creation and screencasting. Students will also be able to hone their organization skills in a digital format.
Will this reduce cooperative learning / interactions with classmates and teachers?
On the contrary! We believe the iPads will increase opportunities for student-to-student collaboration. They will also be the impetus for an increase in meaningful conversations between students and teachers as students make meaning of their learning.
We do not want to see students “glued to their screens,” nor will the iPads become students’ only method of communication and collaboration. The iPads would be a tool similar to current notebooks and textbooks that can complement cooperative learning by providing a source of information, recording audio or video, or gathering data in a lab.
Won’t this be a distraction?
While iPads could be a tempting distraction, there will be high expectations and accountability. Simple phrases like “screens down” will indicate that it is time for the listener to engage in a different activity. Having an iPad will be a privilege that can be suspended if it becomes a distraction or is misused.
How will we ensure online safety for kids?
Education is the main component to online safety. A 1:1 program provides a great vehicle to weave digital citizenship into our classes. Those conversations will be important both at school and home. Supervision at home and school is also critical. In addition, these devices will be required to use the school wireless network during the school day. Our content filtering system is top notch, but hardware solutions will never be perfect.