Could schools democratize learning with 1:1 device programs?Cain Chen
School has always been challenging for students – and that was before they had to attempt learning from home. Over the past year, many school-related challenges have been amplified, especially for children with disabilities and low-income learners. Districts looking to close the gap are turning to edtech to equalize education for all.
Let’s look at how school-provided 1:1 device programs are democratizing learning.
What is 1:1 learning?
Under a 1:1 learning program, all students have an institution-issued electronic device, such as a laptop or tablet, which they use to access online coursework, digital content, the internet or ebooks.
One-to-one devices are usually owned by schools and provided to students over the course of the school year. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more schools are reaching a 1:1 computing environment years ahead of schedule.
Students learn at their own pace
Students have always learned at different paces. However, in the classroom setting, educators had to teach to the middle, leaving some behind and others disengaged.
In a 1:1 environment, learners at different levels can complete coursework at their own cadence. Students who have mastered certain concepts can then concentrate on subjects that present more of a challenge. Those who need a little extra time with certain concepts can reread or re-watch lessons as many times as they need to really grasp the material.
Digital lessons can also be condensed into shorter time frames for summer school or stretched out over longer trimesters to accommodate a variety of learning schedules. This makes it possible to guide students through the material at a faster or slower pace, depending on the situation.
Accessibility for all
Schools are also using edtech to standardize education so knowledge is more accessible to everyone.
Increasing access to learning content is simplified through a variety of online applications, platforms, and cloud technologies. These new learning formats also ensure students have continuous access to quality content that’s always up-to-date.
Think about what that could mean for students who live in low socio-economic areas or who live in low-income districts. Instead of waiting until these institutions can afford the latest version of an expensive textbook, or find funds to issue each student a book of their own, 1:1 learners can turn to their online learning platforms to access the same content as students attending private schools.
That same digital content also gives developing nations the opportunity to implement the same educational standards as wealthier countries around the globe.
“Differentiated instruction” allows an educator to teach to the student, not the test. By tailoring their instruction, teachers can more effectively meet individual students where they are, ensuring they don’t get left behind.
Technology makes it possible for educators to conduct virtual classrooms while differentiating their teaching and providing supplemental resources as needed without ever leaving their learning management system.
Teachers might encourage learners struggling with a particular concept to preview a set of curated content before the day’s lesson. Or, they may direct advanced learners to more advanced material to keep them feeling challenged.
Differentiated projects are another popular method for instructors. It allows students to use diverse programs and mediums to showcase their work, even as teachers personalize content.
Assisting students with disability
Assistive Technology, defined in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, is “any item, piece of equipment, or product that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”
For students with disabilities, assistive technology often comes in the form of their school-issued devices. Many arrive standard with a host of assistive learning tools like screen readers, interactive displays, touch screens, and text-to-speech tools. More advanced apps and specialized communication tools (think: braille keyboards, smart pens, headsets for hearing aids) can help students with a disability excel by creating a more inclusive classroom experience.
In truth, there’s no faster way to level the scholastic playing field than implementing a 1:1 learning program. Edtech devices help students of all abilities and backgrounds achieve their personal best, while staying connected to classmates and learning lifelong skills.
Content created and provided by ONEAFFINITI.