Tag Archives: one to one technology in elementary schools

Is Elementary Too Early for 1:1 Technology?

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Mobile device access for 1-to-1 instruction is now available for more than half of all U.S. K-12 students and teachers. While ample evidence suggests this technology improves overall learning, how early in a student’s education should it be introduced?

The benefits of adopting 1-to-1 instruction at the elementary school level:

Teachers can easily facilitate differentiated instruction (DI)

One-to-1 technology helps cater instruction to each individual student’s ability and interests. This means that no student is left behind and nor are any held back. The need for remedial or advanced placement classrooms is minimized. Students may receive assignments, reading materials, and other content tailed to their pace of learning.

Increased engagement with teachers and parents

Google Drive, among other tools, allows teachers and parents to view and comment on student’s work as they create it. This may include essay questions, note-taking, and peer discussion. More engagement between the student and stakeholders in their education should encourage greater student accountability.

Worldwide impact when minds are most easily molded

Students may feel a greater sense of belonging when their work is experienced by a global audience. Connected learning allows students to publish their work for the whole world to see. This may include essay questions answered as public blog posts, uploaded videos and more. Consider how a child may feel when their art projects garner comments and feedback from viewers globally.

Seamless engagement experience between school and home

With learning content delivered on their device, the learning experience will be similar whether at home or at school. Connected learning students can easily pick up their device at home, log-in and continue their studies.

Increased familiarity with 21st-century technology

While tech aptitude isn’t a stated goal of 1-to-1 learning, it’s a guaranteed byproduct. Elementary age students participating in connected learning systems will outpace peers in their overall technical aptitude.

Before we tech-up our kids, what are the potential risks?

Physical movement and exercise

A common concern among critics of elementary 1-to-1 technology is the effect it could have on physical activity. With society already becoming so sedentary, this is a valid concern. It’s up to each educational program to maintain high standards of physical education regardless of any connected learning plan.

Tactile interaction with physical media

The concern is that devices will displace books, magazines, and newspapers. While this may in fact happen, wouldn’t this also pair with society’s transformation in the same way?

Will in-person communication skills suffer?

All you have to do is board any bus or train to see how technology is affecting interpersonal communication. With more heads turned down, fixated on devices, actual verbal conversations seem affected. While this is absolutely a valid concern, it’s one that would need be met regardless. Regardless of age, the prevalence of tech devices in anyone’s day-to-day life is more than ever before. Parents and educators will have to take an active role to encourage in-person verbal communication.

With more than half of K-12 aged students are already engaged in 1-to-1 education, earlier adoption just seems logical. Certainly, there are a variety of valid concerns that can occur. Educators and administrations bear the burden of deciding whether the advantages outweigh the risks.

Pros & Cons: Is Elementary School Too Early for 1:1 Technology?

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Should grade-school kids use mobile devices in the classroom? That has been a longstanding question with no definitive answer yet. It’s not a black-and-white issue, not when both sides have their own solid arguments for their case.

It’s up to the school to decide whether the positives outweigh the negatives. The important thing is that they carefully go over all considerations:

PROS

Kids are familiar with mobile devices

Kids today are digital natives. They haven’t known a world without tablets. Many of them learned how to navigate around mobile devices the same time they learned how to walk. Thus, the use of these devices at school won’t be a foreign concept to them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They’re already familiar with such gadgets, so they’ll feel comfortable using them right away.

Kids will be ahead of their peers

Though most kids grow up exposed to mobile devices, not many know how to use it for educational purposes. But kids who go to schools that implement 1:1 technology will have that knowledge. They’ll be taught that tablets are powerful tools for learning and collaborating. At a young age, they’ll see how to use this tech to their advantage. The same can’t be said for students who go to schools that don’t implement 1:1 technology. By the time they reach high school, their peers will already be adept while they get left behind.

Kids will be able to catch up on their lessons

In a traditional classroom setting, some kids easily grasp the lesson. On the other hand, others need more time to understand it. When schools use 1:1 technology, the kids who have trouble can catch up at home. They can go over videos, and recreate the classroom experience. That’s more engaging than reading a book and trying to understand what it says.

Kids will become creators, not just learners

In the old days before the internet, only teachers could see their students’ work. But now, students can publish their work online and create a digital portfolio at a young age. They can even make their own sites, making it easy to track their progress through the years. They can also share with classmates and other students around the world. A wide audience will help them gain new perspective beyond their teachers’.

CONS

Kids will be too dependent on mobile devices

Some people fear that young students will neglect physical activities after becoming too dependent on their gadgets. This is a reasonable concern, but it can be addressed by controlled usage. This can be easily done by teachers by setting the pace in the classroom. Also, let’s not forget that practical learning and 1:1 technology can mix. The latter doesn’t have to replace the former.

Kids will have to be trained on the devices issued by their school

In a 1:1 technology setup, schools provide the tablets kids should use. Everyone gets the same device for the sake of uniformity. But what if a child who knows how to use only Android is issued an iPad?  Or vice versa? This can prove to be challenging for the child. However, kids are digital natives so learning how to use a platform is easy for them. A short training session will address this concern.

The long-term benefits of 1:1 technology easily outweigh the solvable problems that come with it. Therefore, schools that want their students to gain a competitive edge should consider going for 1:1 technology. The implementation may not be smooth-sailing at first. However, addressing the challenges is worth the advantages the kids will enjoy.

Positive 1to1 provides an implementation and management strategy and platform to help schools make the leap to 1:1 well. Learn more by contacting us!