We’ve been discussing this for a while, and now a fair few of the closest schools to us have moved in that direction too I thought it was probably time to share.
I’m very pleased 1-1 schemes are being adopted, but I’m concerned about the way we are doing it.
We did some trials using Open Office in KS3 last year. The thing that stuck out most was some students struggled to achieve certain tasks because the buttons and menus were not in the same place.
Watch users trying to move between MacOS/Windows and you see similar. Interestingly, staff find it far harder than students than to switch OS. A good sign that the more you get used to one way of working the harder it is to change.
“Technology is neither a devil nor an angel. But neither is it simply a tool, a neutral extension of some rock-solid human nature”
I’m slightly over-obsessed with Cousin at the moment. The technology shouldn’t shape the pedagogy is something of a catchphrase round here, but that needs to go hand in hand with an awareness that it still does have an impact.
What I think this tells us is we should be teaching more generic concepts for students to adapt and apply in other environments. I know this isn’t news to ICT teachers, but it doesn’t seem to be having the impact in our 1-1 decisions. Tie me to a single OS or form factor for my whole school career and it won’t be as helpful later on.
5 years is a long time
I’m writing this on a 5 year old laptop. It works fine for what I need to do and it’s in pretty good condition. The main reason for this is because what I do hasn’t changed a whole lot in that period. Actually, my needs are probably less demanding now.
This doesn’t apply to our students.
Give a year 7 a reasonable spec laptop this year – how is it going to stand up to the job of completing their coursework in 5 years time?
Give a year 7 a tablet this year – if they decide media and photography are the courses for them in KS4 I bet they’re going to wish they had a laptop with the Adobe suite on.
Give a year 7 the absolute best of breed device this year – how do we know it will be the case in 5 years? By then an entirely new category may have emerged.
We need to be more flexible with our 1-1 offering.
We’re being sold to, remember that
Of course it is going to be a better deal to buy 2000 of X device from Y brand than a more random selection of various tools from different places. Bulk buying may save us cash, but is that a good educational reason?
In the last year at SSAT & BETT I encountered a number of headteachers who do all of their ICT purchasing from manufacturers that are at that show. If it’s not there they don’t buy. That genuinely scares me.
Financial decisions shouldn’t take priority over teaching and learning. I know it’s a difficult time to be adopting this position, but it’s the right thing to do.
This is the most important.
While we’re still debating the value of ways we categorise learning styles, what we do know for sure is we all learn in different ways. And, how we learn best changes throughout the day.
Sometimes I like a computer in front of me, sometimes I’m happier with a big piece of paper and a pen. Sometimes the laptop works best, other times a tablet is more appropriate.
As far as I can see in every other aspect of our curriculum design our goal is to personalise. How does this stack up against requiring every member of our school community to learn using the exact same device?
In short- I don’t feel that 1-1 is impossible right now, I am just worried that current 1-1 offerings all require commitment to one specific device for far too long.
What we should be doing is building a 1-1 programme that is device agnostic, and allows students flexibility to switch their device based on how they want to learn at that moment.
I’ll get back to you once we’ve figured out if this is actually the right thing to do and if it’s even possible…