Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Student's Perspective on a 1:1 Program

I've been writing on the blog a bit lately and tweeting about my thinking on 1:1 programs, and one of my former students took notice. She is currently in a school in the midst of implementing such a program, and she wanted to give me "the student's side of the story." I told her I'd try to keep her anonymity in tact, but I did ask her permission to share her story, because I find it so interesting.

Here is what she shared:

I've been noticing you talking a lot about 1-to-1 laptop programs on your blog, and since [our high school] has started that this year I thought you might be interested in it from a student's side.
This might be purely because it's such a new thing to [our high school], but I have really noticed the absence of actual TEACHING happening in the classroom. It has produced a lot of lazy teachers who are counting on the technology to do the teaching for them - we have an online program called Moodle where teachers can assign and collect things, and they have really been depending on that to do the teaching for them. It's been somewhat frustrating having that aspect, so I guess since your job is now to teach teachers I would encourage you to make sure they still are real and involved in our lives/educational journey so we don't lose some of the more traditional fun of being in school.
That being said, there are countless benefits to this program. It has made it SO easy to do homework - not having to worry about using different programs between home and school and having everything I need right in front of me at all times has been awesome!! Not having to worry about whether or not I'll be able to actually get a laptop from the school cart has been so nice, and it saves a ton of time for the teachers too. It has also allowed teachers to assign more than just papers for learning which is super awesome for different learning styles and has really allowed technology-gifted people to find a new place in school. I have missed taking my notes by pen and paper, but it's not like pens and paper don't exist anymore - I can still write out my notes later which helps me learn. The 1-to-1 program has saved a lot of time for teachers and students which has been great!!
I'd say more than anything the positives outweigh the negatives, and I think as a new generation of teachers comes into schools more prepared to teach while using technology rather than using technology while teaching, this kind of thing is going to really take off and do well. That's my two cents.

Isn't that interesting? Pretty well echoes my own thoughts--I do think there are some pretty clear benefits to deliberately incorporating technology into the classroom in this way, but technology can become a crutch that supports poor teaching. (I note this among my ten points in my recent post about highly effective, tech-savvy teaching.)

A good reminder for all teachers: technology may be a value-add for your teaching, but technology does not replace good pedagogy.


  1. Very interesting post and thanks for sharing. I wonder if there is a difference b/w instruction at various grade levels. For instance, are grades 3-8 teachers using it differently than those in 9-12 as a tool to assist (or stand in place of) good teaching?

    1. Thanks for taking time to read and comment, Stephen! Yes, I would guess there probably is a real difference at different grade levels, but this is an anecdotal gut feeling rather than based on any empirical evidence. I *have* seen technology used as a crutch to support shoddy teaching in many classrooms at all levels, but the way it happens looks different at different levels.

      Great to hear from you!