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A Griegos Elementary School student in Albuquerque uses an iPad in the library, which has a portable cart of about 30 iPads—known as Computers on Wheels.

For years, there’s been an ongoing discussion about the digital divide between the “haves” and the “have nots.” As technology has advanced, so has that gap, which is driving fundamental changes in how we work, learn, and live.

Administrators, educators, and nonprofit entities nationwide have been trying to lessen that gap over the past decade. With newer, lighter technologies like tablets and ultra-light laptops like the MacBook Air, some schools are considering getting rid of textbooks altogether and going digital.

The Speak Up National Research Project’s Fall 2011 findings revealed that students want technology effectively utilized in their schools. They, as well as parents, teachers, and administrators, are seeking a high level of personalization that will engage and motivate them. The future of personalized learning is dependent on the new technologies and digital content that transform learning.

To implement blended learning effectively, administrators must gain a thorough understanding of the best tools, training, and processes necessary for teacher and student success. Thesys International offers custom curriculum designed to improve learning outcomes through blended learning. This web seminar, originally broadcast on October 25, 2012, featured Fairmont Preparatory Academy and the Pasadena (Calif.) Unified School District, which are in varying stages of implementing blended learning, with help from Thesys International.

A strong strategy and rock-solid network foundation are necessary to successfully implementing iPads in schools. Administrators in San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan High School decided to implement a 1:1 iPad environment beginning as a voluntary program in 2012, taking on all infrastructure obstacles head-on. With parent, student, and teacher feedback and support, iPads will then be a mandatory purchase for the 2013-2014 school year.

Digital literacy is certainly necessary for K12 students in order to succeed in school and beyond. However, instilling proficiency with technology can be challenging for students to learn and teaches to teach. Tools such as Learning.com’s easy-to-use instructional activities can aid teachers in ensuring their students are ready for the 21st century workforce.

In 2007, as part of their goal to meet technology literacy standards passed by the state of New York, administrators at the Longwood Central School District on Long Island were looking for a tool that would help them both integrate digital skills into core curriculum, and assess whether those skills were being taught effectively.

James Dent knew ST Math would help the students at the charter school he co-founded two years ago because he’d seen its power at other schools. But he had no idea how effective it would be with teachers.

An East Leyden High School student selects a Chromebook from a charging cart. With Chromebooks, students can work on any device in any class period and access their work from anywhere, including from the Chrome browser installed on a home computer.

For students of Leyden High School District 212, two miles from O’Hare Airport in Illinois, Aug. 14, 2012 felt more like their birthday than the first day of school. The district, comprising East and West Leyden high schools, realized its long-planned hope of providing a computing device to every student and gave out 3,500 new Google Chromebooks.

Digital citizenship programs, which focus on the safe and appropriate use of technology by students, have never been more important. The Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that 31 percent of students have been victims of bullying at school. An important aspect of Digital Citizenship is connecting students’ advancement through the program with enhanced access rights.

A new type of laptop computer from Google, Chromebooks offer thousands of apps, integrate seamlessly with Google Apps, include built-in virus protection, automatically update and back up data in the cloud, and boot up in just eight seconds.

Administrators in the Richland School District Two in Columbia, S.C., made the decision to pursue a 1:1 computing environment in 2011. But with a target of over 19,000 district students in grades 3-12, and a wide variety of devices on the market to choose from, putting a computing device in the hands of every student was no easy task.

One of the most popular games finding its way into classrooms now isn’t much of a game at all. Released originally in 2009, Minecraft is a “sandbox” 3D video game built in a Lego-like environment that allows “players” the creative freedom to build anything, from towering castles set high on ocean cliffs to complex roller coasters.

Kaya Henderson’s childhood in one of New York’s most affluent areas, Westchester County, could not have been more different from that of the middle school students she taught at Lola Rodriguez No. 162 in the South Bronx.

A Pew Internet study released in April, “The Rise of e-Reading,” notes a gathering American trend of embracing digital content. The report found that 43 percent of Americans age 16 or older have read an e-book or other long-form digital material, such as a magazine article, over the past year. Of those in this age group who read every day or almost every day for work or school, 54 percent use tablets or other e-book readers. The report also says that those who read with e-book devices read more than others, and that portability and speedy access are major drivers of this trend.

Cameron Evans, Microsoft’s education chief information officer, doesn’t so much see the future holding a single device for one-to-one connections in classrooms, but what he terms “a richly connected ecosystem of learning devices, apps and services that are smart and aware of each other.”

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