Should Every Student Get A Computer?
Best Practices For Student Devices
As a charter school, technology plays a key role in your educational model. You want to use technology to support your lessons and give your students the skills they need to succeed. But that goal doesn’t necessarily mean you need a 1:1 student to device ratio.
To determine if you need one device for every student, there are several questions you need to ask:
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How Are You Using Technology In Your Educational Model?
To start, you need to look at your educational model. For elementary school, you may not need one device for every student. We all agree that it’s important that students are exposed to technology in the classroom, but that can accomplished with a set of classroom computers.
Many charter school students may not have computers at home, so it’s important that they use them in class. You may only need eight to 10 computers per classroom.
For middle school, it’s more common to see a student to device ratio of 1:2. You may need more computers to meet your educational goals.
Where it’s most common to see a 1:1 ratio is in high school. Often, computers are used in all classes and students are using their computers for homework, to prepare for college admission and other school tasks.
Are You Using Blended Or Personalized Learning?
If your charter school is focused on blended or personalized learning, then you may need a 1:1 ratio for all students. With a blended approach, a significant portion of a student’s work is done on a computer, so it would be inefficient for a student to share.
For personalized learning, using a computer can allow a teacher to set up individual assignments and take each student’s progress on the computer. Having this ability to track student progress digitally is a big help for teachers managing full classrooms.
Are You Using Paper Or All-Digital Texts?
One other major area to consider is your classroom texts. If all your classroom materials are online and the teachers are posting homework online, then having a 1:1 ratio may be the right choice, even for elementary and middle school grades.
What Will You Do For Assessments?
Although assessments are only conducted a few times a year, you need to factor them into your technology plan. Think about the biggest group of students you’ll need to assess at one time and make sure you have enough computers to handle this group.
What Type Of Device Works For Your Needs?
Once you’ve determined how many devices you need, you need to consider what type of device will work for your requirements. While some schools choose laptops, most schools are looking at ChromeBooks. They’re inexpensive and robust enough to handle all the typical technical requirements of school programs.
Some schools will choose Mac products as part of their school culture or branding. This tends to be more expensive but it’s an option that some schools consider.
Do You Have The Right Technology Support And Security?
If your school is moving to a 1:1 ratio, make sure you have the support and security you need. For support, the more devices you have, the more issues you’ll need to resolve. You’ll also need to think about support for upgrades and updates.
For security, consider issues like controls for downloaded content. You need to make sure that students aren’t putting inappropriate content on their machines. You also need to have limits on the sites that students can access and the content they can view.
Along with these issues, you need to ensure you have the bandwidth to support all these devices without delays or outages.
By taking the time to consider these questions and how they align with your educational model, you can ensure you’re making the right choice for your charter school. Factoring in not only the cost of the devices, but associated costs of infrastructure will help you decide if a 1:1 student to device ratio is right for your school.
Share Your Experiences:
How does your school approach devices? Does your school have a 1:1 student to device ratio? What factors did you consider when making that decision? What have you learned from this experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- To decide if a 1:1 student to device ratio is right for your school, ask 6 key questions:
- How are you going to use technology in your educational model?
- Are you using blended or personalized learning?
- Are you using paper or all-digital texts?
- What will you do for assessments?
- What type of device works for your needs?
- Do you have the right technology support and security?
- School leaders need to also look at factors like what your school’s educational model is, the grades in your school, your school’s culture and more.
- While assessments only occur a few times a year, you need to pay special attention to your technology needs. You don’t want technology to negatively impact your students’ results.