Monday, November 1st, 2010 | Computer Usage
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.