What is one to one computing?

Saturday, October 30th, 2010 | Computer Usage

In the field of education, one to one computing means that every learner and teacher has access to a computer at all times – one computer, available to one person.  The computer could be a personal computer (PC), but is more often a laptop, a netbook, or a handheld computing device.  It is also assumed that each person has access to a printer and the internet.

A one to one computing classroom situation is different from that of a computer room visited by learners on a rotational basis.  In the latter case learners have limited access to technology and can engage with it only at fixed times.  The whole idea behind one to one computing is that learners can use the computer anytime, anywhere.

Computer manufacturers are the main promoters of one to one computing.  It is a no-brainer: if every learner were to be given a computer, sales will sky-rocket. 

School management and parent bodies may also support the concept in the belief that a computer in the hands of a child at all times leads to superior education.  It is for this reason that they are willing to invest large sums of money to make this possible.

Education authorities in the developing world must yet be convinced that one to one computing yields a substantial return on the investment.  In most cases they will only support a one to one initiative if the equipment is funded by parents or other donors.

One of the disadvantages of a computer room is that learner entry is limited – this makes it unlikely for learners to develop the level of computer proficiency required by most careers.  One to one computing allows learners to work with computers all the time, leading to sound digital skills and confidence in the use of technology.

It is difficult to justify one to one computing in poor countries where millions of learners have no access to technology at all.  Don’t fret if your learners do not have this level of exposure to computers – do what you can with what is available.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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9 Comments to What is one to one computing?

Sunday, 31 October, 2010

In truth, at first i did understand it. But after re-reading I think i comprehend

[...] is not easy to prove that one to one computing increases learner achievement.  Much of the research pointing to positive results has been [...]

[...] as one to one computing in the classroom may appear to you, don’t be fooled into thinking that there are no pitfalls.  [...]

[...] to the problem is simple: have technology in your classroom at all times.  You don’t need one to one computing.  You can do a lot with a single laptop and a data projector.  Innovative teachers are performing [...]

Clive Theys
Wednesday, 3 November, 2010

One to one is best,unfortunely we are stuck with our boards in Grade 4 with only 20 Apple notebooks to be shared amongst 160 learners in that grade.Our educators and leaners are so excited about the project that they want us to install it in all Intermediate Phase classes,PLEASE HELP!!

Friday, 5 November, 2010

The concept of One to one computing can be achieved in other ways. Allow me to explain briefly:
1.It could mean that in a class of 30 each learner has a laptop.
2.It could mean that within one week each leaner has a chance to operate the laptop in a group situation.
3.It could also mean that a learner has the opportunity to fetch the laptop at a given time to complete a task.

I explain my suggestions in more detail on the Khanya Apple blog see:

Richard Knaggs
Monday, 15 November, 2010

At Parklands College we achieve One2One computing by having a mixture of both a mobile rack of 12 MacBooks each as well as privately owned MacBooks. We have classes of 25 learners each, so there is a requirement that at least 13 learner own their own MacBooks. Classes are timetabled so that leaners use these devices at least 1 hour a day. These devices are used as tools to extend and enhance the curriculum, not to replace it as there are fundamental educational needs that need to be addressed in the traditional way.

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