What are the advantages of one-to-one computing in the classroom?

Sunday, October 31st, 2010 | Computer Usage

It is not easy to prove that one to one computing increases learner achievement.  Much of the research pointing to positive results has been conducted by computer manufacturers – nay-sayers claim that these studies are biased.

Teachers who have experienced positive outcomes offer anecdotal evidence of an improved classroom experience when each child is given a computing device.  Let’s look at a few examples:

In schools troubled by absenteeism and disinterested learners, a present and engaged learner is the type of learner to have.  Many teachers report that one to one computing grabs the interest of learners, leading to improved class attendance and involvement.

Unexpected teaching moments arise when a learner asks an intriguing question, or something eventful happens in the world around us.  When each learner in the class has access to a computer, as well as the internet, a teacher can lead the class in the search for information sources, investigate the facts and help learners to reach conclusions.  In the process learners learn the valuable skill of finding and evaluating information.

Learners with a restricted world view are helped to expand the borders of their experience.  They can observe world news on the other side of the globe as it happens; they can also discover the wonders of faraway places and ancient worlds.

When learners engage with written material and interact with it, their ability to read and write must improve.  One to one computing does not only have a beneficial impact on basic literacy – being able to read and write – but also on the new literacies demanded by the twenty-first century.  Since much of the material learners access is in the form of images, they will develop visual literacy and media literacy skills; and since they’re using computers on a daily basis you can imagine what one to one computing will do for their digital literacy skills!

With one to one computing, never will a child be able to say: “The dog ate my homework.”

None of these positive results happens by itself – the success of one to one computing depends on the ability of the teacher to harness ubiquitous technology as a tool for teaching and learning.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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4 Comments to What are the advantages of one-to-one computing in the classroom?

Martin Rayala
Sunday, 31 October, 2010

Visual literacy is the connection between digital literacy, media literacy, visual art, design, and visual culture. All are having a hard time fitting in to the standard school curriculum because there is still a persisting bias against visual literacy at all levels of education. Educators need to accept the power of visual thinking alongside the need to develop written communication and numerical literacy.

[...] Attractive as one to one computing in the classroom may appear to you, don’t be fooled into thinking that there are no pitfalls.  Let’s think about a few of them: The greatest barrier to one to one computing in schools is the high cost.  Most schools can hardly afford to establish and maintain a single computer room, let alone providing a computer for each learner. [...]

Kobus van Wyk
Monday, 1 November, 2010

Martin, you are absolutely correct about visual literacy. At present, I am preparing a series of blog postings on the so-called ‘new literacies’, showing the connection and relevance. I am looking forward to your comments on some of these, particularly when I come to visual!

Kathy
Monday, 1 November, 2010

I’m finding it hard to get to grips with all these ‘new literacies’. I have a feeling that there is something very powerful and transformative lurking in there – especially for education in developing countries… if only I could get through this fog and feel the outline and shape of it!

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