What is the down-side of one to one computing in the classroom?

Monday, November 1st, 2010 | Computer Usage

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.

Security is another problem.  The value of one to one computing is seen in the fact that learners can take their computing devices with them so that they may work outside of school – in the mall, with their friends and at their homes.  This poses a security risk.  Parents must be involved – in some communities it is a challenge to convince parents to share the responsibility for the equipment carried by their children.

A critical factor for the success of one to one computing is teacher training.  When you give each child a computer, you assume that they will quickly learn how to use them.  In general, this happens; but it does not necessarily hold true for the teacher.  The teaching style of teachers has to change, and this is not as easy as you may think!

Class discipline in a one to one environment is sometimes a challenge.  A teacher who is used to learners sitting at desks, all facing the teacher, discovers that the attention of learners is now directed towards the computers in front of them.  How can you make sure that they focus on learning material, rather than playing games, sending text messages to each other, engaging in social network activities or aimlessly surfing the web?

The greatest danger of one to one computing is that too much emphasis is placed on the technology, at the expense of education.  A computer can be a valuable teaching and learning tool, but it is just that: a tool.  When each learner has access to a computer all the time, you need a sound understanding of how to use this tool for its intended purpose, so that the technology tail does not wag the education dog in the classroom.

Cell phones are becoming as powerful as computers, and since mobile technology is approaching saturation point among children in some schools, one to one computing may be realized sooner than you think.  With this looming possibility, wise teachers are coming to grips with technology now in preparation for the realities of an uber-connected world.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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3 Comments to What is the down-side of one to one computing in the classroom?

Kathy
Monday, 1 November, 2010

Yes to mobile technology! Cell phones are the shape of things to come. We will soon have the opportunity to take structured education directly to the learner. I want a cell phone that can plug into a printer. I want my interactive lessons to go directly to learners who can’t get to school. We can have MXIT or Twitter classroom discussions. They can save their work in the clouds, for me to retrieve; submit video assignments on YouTube; complete online tests and enrol for mentoring or exam sessions on FaceBook Events… And if I don’t know how to use some of these applications, my learners will surely be able to teach me or set it up for me.

VOULA PHILIPPIDES
Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

With reference to the CLASSMATE MOBILE computer and INTEL LEARNING SERIES – Solutions to concerns raised in your article.
What is the down-side of one to one computing in the classroom?
Monday, November 1st, 2010 | Computer Usage
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. *Offering a complete solution (laptop, charging station, teacher software tools and student software), which brings down the overall cost of a technology solution.
Security is another problem. The value of one to one computing is seen in the fact that learners can take their computing devices with them so that they may work outside of school – in the mall, with their friends and at their homes. This poses a security risk. Parents must be involved – in some communities it is a challenge to convince parents to share the responsibility for the equipment carried by their children.* Our software stack with the Classmate comes bundled with software that protects the parent/teacher against unauthorized access to applications and internet usage. HDD protection also comes bundled with, this ensures data security.
A critical factor for the success of one to one computing is teacher training. When you give each child a computer, you assume that they will quickly learn how to use them. In general, this happens; but it does not necessarily hold true for the teacher. The teaching style of teachers has to change, and this is not as easy as you may think! *As part of our package we offer training to teachers on the hardware and software aspects of the solution.
Class discipline in a one to one environment is sometimes a challenge. A teacher who is used to learners sitting at desks, all facing the teacher, discovers that the attention of learners is now directed towards the computers in front of them. How can you make sure that they focus on learning material, rather than playing games, sending text messages to each other, engaging in social network activities or aimlessly surfing the web? * Our mythware software package will allow a teacher to control the classroom by locking computer screens out, or monitoring the screens from the teacher computer. A teacher could also push down content to the classroom pc’s.
The greatest danger of one to one computing is that too much emphasis is placed on the technology, at the expense of education. A computer can be a valuable teaching and learning tool, but it is just that: a tool. When each learner has access to a computer all the time, you need a sound understanding of how to use this tool for its intended purpose, so that the technology tail does not wag the education dog in the classroom. *our solution not only offers the tool, but the content too. The solution comes pre-packed with teacher tools, and student software that will drill in the skills covered in the classroom.
Cell phones are becoming as powerful as computers, and since mobile technology is approaching saturation point among children in some schools, one to one computing may be realized sooner than you think. With this looming possibility, wise teachers are coming to grips with technology now in preparation for the realities of an uber-connected world. * Mobile technology may be wide spread but still faces allot of obstacles. 1. Screen resolution limits the user to content specifically produced for that screen resolution. 2. Resolutions differ from device to device, asking all the kids to have the same mobile device is not practical. 3. Connectivity on the phones differ from device to device. 4. Fast internet connectivity is not always available. So a computer device of sorts will still be required. The mobile device can always be used to compliment the computer solution by plugging into a user’s profile in the cloud.
Below is a breakdown of tools that come pre-loaded with the Classmate pc.
Client Apps Common Apps Webcam Companion Webcam app, media mgmt, editing, digital archive, annotation
Backup & Restore (IEA) System/image backup & recovery
HDD Protection Enhancing ruggedize, HDD shock protection
Quick Launcher Quick access to apps
E-Reader Optimized e-reader with multiple formats support, annotation
Power Management Optimized battery life
Touch Apps Pen Input Method Handwriting recognition engine, pen input app
Note Taker Note taking tool for utilizing handwriting feature
Paint Drawing Powerful drawing tool for utilizing pen input feature
Quick Controller Quick access to system setting
Classroom Management Powerful classroom management software by Mythware. Student and
Teacher edition
Anti virus Avast anti virus *free edition packed with the software stack.

Richard Knaggs
Monday, 15 November, 2010

Voula has hit the nail on the head with regards to her concepts. However, there are many other software solutions available. You just have to find the correct mix for your environment.

Parklands Apple Solution:

We have found the Apple products and iLife suite to be the best as far as classroom integration goes due to the ease of use, simple inter-application integration and alignments with new media and the latest computing trends. It is also important that the environment is standardised to reduce support overheads.

Parklands Critical Success factors:

Educator training, confidence and Buy-in
Learner creativity, interest, engagement and fun
Ease of technical implementation
A strong pedagogical support system

The attributes of a MacBook and the iLife suite (device) that enable this are:

1. A device that is creative, easy to learn to use and yet well priced.
2. A device that educators and learners can use to create quality work using new media technologies (movies, photos, animations, sound)
3. A device that simplifies created content distribution by simple integration into Social Network environments e.g. FaceBook
4. A device that is modern, fun and creative for learners and allows them to use technology the way the want to.
5. A device that instills a sense of pride and ownership by all who use it
6. A device that supports multiple platforms so that it can integrate into any environment
7. A device that reduces the level of technical knowledge required to use it
8. A device that is aligned with modern technology trends
9. A device that reduces total cost of ownership with regards to technical support

I am sure you can map other technologies to these attributes but after our experience Apple provides the simplest mapping that is currently possible.

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