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What should I know about my school's 1-to-1 device program?

Many schools are integrating technology into academics with programs such as a one-to-one laptop arrangement, BYOD (bring your own device), One Laptop Per Child, and even having iPads in the classroom. Typically, the school loads all the software students need onto the device to ensure standardization (and it helps keep teachers and students on the same page and aids network administrators in troubleshooting problems).

Common Sense offers a comprehensive best-practices guide for educators rolling out one-to-one programs. Our 1-to-1 Essentials guide helps schools proactively, rather than reactively, address issues commonly faced when going one-to-one. Definitely recommend it to your school!

One-to-one laptop programs work best when there's close collaboration among teachers, administrators, and families. Families should understand how the device is to be used and the teacher's expectations for homework. A few basics to look for:

  • An adjustment period. Most schools have a training period for students to learn how to use the device.
  • Clear rules. Ask for an acceptable-use policy so you'll know what's OK to do on the device and what's not.
  • Maintenance issues. Devices usually come with service arrangements or guidelines around maintenance.
  • A balanced approach. The most successful programs acknowledge that laptops are only one tool in the learning process.

One-to-one laptop programs represent new territory, so stay engaged in the work your kid is doing on the machine, watch for signs of frustration, and give feedback to the teacher about what's working and what isn't.