The 1:1 student to computer ratio initiative is a great goal for schools to have. I mean, what school would not want each of their students to have access to a personal laptop computer? The problem is that most schools can't afford to spend the kind of money that it takes to provide each student with a laptop, especially when the nation is trying to climb out of a recession. Moreover, lots of schools are not budging on their bring your own device (BYOD) policies, preventing students from bringing their own technology devices to school such as their phones, ipods, tablets, e-readers and laptops.
As an advocate of project-based learning and student-directed learning, I wanted my students to be able to use computers to create projects using the many different webtools available on the internet. There was just one problem ... I didn't have any working computers in my classroom.
In the beginning of the year I was frustrated, because each grade level team in my middle school has two whole carts of laptop computers that they could use when students needed them for projects. The teachers schedule their classes to use the computers so that every student can have his or her own individual laptop for various assignments and projects. There was never an opportunity for me to borrow the computers because the teachers were constantly rotating the carts amongst themselves.
After trying several different avenues to borrow laptops, I finally addressed my administration and requested six laptops for my classroom. That's right ... not a cart ... not one for every student ... six! I realized that by using just six laptops, my students could create amazing projects, and practice their workplace readiness skills by collaboratively working in groups.