One to one computing (education)

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In the context of education, one-to-one computing (sometimes abbreviated as "1:1") refers to academic institutions, such as schools or colleges, issuing each enrolled student an electronic device in order to access the Internet, digital course materials and digital textbooks. The concept has been actively explored and sporadically implemented since the late 1990s.[1] One-to-one computing is frequently contrasted with a policy of "bring your own device" (BYOD), which encourages or requires students to use their own laptops, smartphones or other electronic devices in class. One-to-one computing offers the benefits of equal access, standardization, easy upgrades, simple networking and the ability to monitor student progress and online behavior. For these reasons, one-to-one computing is a major part of education policy in many countries. These benefits also underlie the one-to-one model of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a charity that aims to issue electronic devices to millions of children in the developing world.

However, one-to-one requires substantial institutional investment. In addition to the initial cost of purchasing hundreds or thousands of electronic devices, there are very substantial ongoing costs to institutions, including implementation, training, software licensing, monitoring, security, upgrades and maintenance. Therefore, the overall cost–benefit ratio of a one-to-one model is the subject of lively debate. Many students are likely to own and use one or more electronic devices in addition to the school-issued electronic device, raising the question of whether 1:1 is redundant or wasteful. Furthermore, the ultimate academic benefits of one-to-one, if any, are unclear. According to research published by Boston College, the educational value of 1:1 depends on the classroom teacher.[2] Some schools have even phased out their one-to-one programs because there was no evidence of academic gains.[3] Other studies have shown some progress in specific subjects, especially in writing scores, that are correlated with the use of school-issued laptops. The wide range of results for 1:1 programs means there is no consensus on their benefits or drawbacks.[4] Because 1:1 computing programs may have many goals, from improving educational outcomes to increasing equality, and are associated with such a wide range of teaching methods, it is also difficult to judge their overall success or value.


  1. ^ Bebel, Damian; Rachel Kay (2010). "One to one computing: A summary of the quantitative results from the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative". Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment. 9 (2). Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Norris, Cathleen; Elliot Soloway (May 2010). "One-to-one computing has failed our expectations". District Administration. Retrieved 19 March 2014. Boston College researchers found that the impact of a one-to-one computing implementation is largely a function of the classroom teacher... if extracting value from an innovation is dependent on the teacher, then the value added by the innovation per se is limited. 
  3. ^ Hu, Winnie (4 May 2007). "Seeing no progress, some schools drop laptops". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Sauers, Nicholas J.; Scott McLeod (1 May 2012). "What does the research say about school one-to-one computing initiatives?" (PDF). Castle Brief. UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, University of Kentucky. Retrieved 19 March 2014. When examining the research related to one-to-one computing programs, it is clear that they have produced a wide range of results. 

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