More often than not, when I ask school systems and principals about their approach to instructional technology, I hear one of two things. A victorious “We’re a 1-to-1 school!” Or a sheepish, “We’re not a 1-to-1 environment. We’re just not there yet.”
A 1-to-1 laptop or iPad roll out is not, however, a new instructional model. Yes, some sort of hardware is required to implement blended learning. And certainly some blended-learning models—like the Flex or Individual Rotation—lend themselves to ensuring that all students have computers or tablets at their fingertips throughout the day. But at face value, whether a student can or cannot carry a machine around all day tells us little to nothing about a school’s actual pedagogy, about the quality of interactions between students and teachers, or about the rigor of the software programs delivered through those devices. A 1-to-1 program in fact proves a poor bellwether of changes in student learning.
Why, then, do we continue to hear a clarion call for massive hardware procurement?