The two biggest factors spurring the rise in 1-to-1 student computing have been new mandates that tests be delivered online and the widespread adoption of the Common Core Standards.
Generally, the hope is that putting devices in the hands of students will help with some or all the following goals:
- Allowing teachers and software to deliver more personalised content and lessons to students, while allowing students to learn at their own pace and ability level
- Helping students to become technologically skilled and literate and thus better prepared for modern workplaces
- Empowering students to do more complex and creative work by allowing them to use digital and online applications and tools
- Improving the administration and management of schools and classrooms by making it easier to gather information on what students know and have done
- Improving communications among students, teachers, and parents.
The most significant problem for schools trying to go 1-to-1, though, has been a lack of educational vision. Without a clear picture of how teaching and learning is expected to change, experts say, going 1-to-1 often amounts to a “spray and pray” approach of distributing many devices and hoping for the best. Some critics of educational technology also point to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which found that countries where 15-year old students use computers most in the classroom scored the worst on international reading and math tests.