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What’s The Big Deal With 1 to 1?

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I don’t understand why creating learning communities in our classrooms where our students have access to their own device is a big deal. Why is this not the norm? Nobody makes a big deal about learning 1 to 1 with textbooks. Every student has access to their own binder, pencil, pens and other “traditional” tools for learning at a “1 to 1” ratio. In fact if students didn’t have access to a pen or textbook, we would consider this a travesty. So why the trepidation to allowing students to use phones, tablets, and laptops in the class?

Technology is just a tool. Learning with technology should never become just about the technology in the same way that learning with a textbook should not be just about the textbook. It is about the learning. It is about equipping our students with the best possible tools to learn. Let’s face it, a computer is a better tool for learning than a textbook. If a computer and a textbook were invented at the same time, what tool would you choose?

Technology shouldn’t be a novelty in the classroom in the same way that a pen and paper aren’t novelties. As educators we need to stop treating it as such. Instead, see technology just as a tool for learning in the same way any other tool would be utilized in the class. It is simple… use technology whenever it is the best tool for learning. Side note: this should be readily available at the point of instruction and should not require a “field trip” to the computer lab.  I look forward to the day when we as educators quit talking about 1 to 1, or embedding technology into our lessons, or listing technology as a skill on our resumes. These things should just be a given. Our schools should be relevant to our world in a way that equips our students to participate in the world. It should be the norm… and it will be. I guess the challenge is to be on the front end of this change so we don’t rob our current students of opportunities for their future. It is what is best for our students.



  1. Ryan Reed says:

    Hi Travis –

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I’m an AP in Elk Island at a gr. 7-12 school that is looking to move to a BYOD environment in the near future.

    In looking at opening up the classroom environment to devices the topic that keeps coming up is digital citizenship. We are looking to teach are staff and students more about being digital citizens before bringing the devices in.

    Thanks again and have a great day.

    • That is great. Digital identity and citizenship is a huge part for sure. We are just finishing up our year 1 of our 1:1 BYOD plan. At the end we collected some data from students who participated and they all stated that learning with their own laptop in 1:1 environment has helped them greatly with understanding digital identity and citizenship. I think it is important to lay a foundation and be prepared to provide students with safe environment with the appropriate level of responsibility (we don’t want to throw them into the deep end without knowing how to swim). At the same time, I think the only way for them to learn digital citizenship is to participate online. It is hard to learn how to drive a car without actually driving a car.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

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