One to One Initiative
At the end of the 2013 school year, the school district came to the decision that they would enroll in a one to one initiative program. This program would equip all high school students in the district with a MacBook Air laptop by January 2014. An article in a local newspaper stated that the purchase of 2,500 laptops would cost 2.7 million dollars and would be paid with a four-year interest free plan. The distribution was set to be in January after midterms, so students could start the second half of the year with their new laptops.
So far, it has been almost two months since we received the laptops. Although, many students were against the idea in the beginning of the school year, I would say a majority have changed their minds. The laptops have become a useful tool during the school day in many ways. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages that have risen since the distribution of the laptops. The laptops received in January, have become influential aspects in the lives of students.
Students now have the internet at their fingertips throughout the entire school day. Many may say this is a disadvantage, however, it has been proven to be beneficial in many ways. During class, teachers tend to use their laptops to project documents, videos, and power points on their projector. With the new one to one initiative, teachers are able to use schoology in a more productive way by posting a file so students can follow along and have their own copy of the documentation on their laptops. This allows students to be able to work on their homework or long-term assignments in their free time throughout the school day since they have all their resources on their laptops.
Since many students take part in after school activities in or out of school, this serves as a useful advantage for such students. Additionally, with the educational software applications on the laptops, students are able to take notes on Evernote and create group documents and power points on Google Docs. The most useful aspect of this is that students are signed into accounts while using Evernote, and Google Docs, therefore, if something were to happen to their laptop, their work can be accessed on any computer by simply signing in. Also, by the click of the print button students can have a hard copy of their school work as well as an electronic file.
These useful resources impact the students’ ability to complete their school work to the best of their ability and prepare for the technological future. Although the laptops may appear as useful tools for students, there are several disadvantages that come along with the advantages. Although the one to one initiative is new for both teachers and students, the laptops seem to be a waste of money since students are rarely allowed to use their laptops during class. It is understandable that teachers fear that students will be playing games or searching the web during class, however, this should not stop teachers from allowing their students to use their new laptops. If this was a serious issue teachers should have elucidated their views prior to the purchase of the laptops.
This now causes students to carry another 2.38 pounds plus the bulky case in their backpacks for no apparent reason. Therefore, teachers should accept the fact that students now have laptops to use and allow them to be used throughout the class period. Additionally, laptops should be treated like notebooks. Students should have the ability to take them out whenever they please since they are now educational tools in the classroom. If students choose to distract themselves on the laptops its their problem and will result in their poor test scores.
This does not impact the teacher in any way since it is the student’s decision how they want to use their laptop whether it is for the better or worse. Along with this disadvantage, there have been several cases of technical difficulties. These laptops tend to crash every once in a while and may not turn back on for hours. This is inconvenient because if a student is typing up a paper and their laptop crashes, their work will be lost and will require them to start over. These disadvantages not only stress students, but they may affect the student’s ability to complete assignments. Overall, the one to one initiative has several advantages and disadvantages that affect the students positively and negatively.
The laptops are extremely useful for educational purposes out of school as well as in certain classes in school. With more one to one laptop training, teachers will eventually be able to incorporate the use of technology in their quotidian lesson plans. Also, the idea of virtual schooling may become an educational norm during snow days throughout the winter. There are infinitely many ways administrators can integrate the use of the one to one initiative for educational purposes. I believe that since the use of technology is rapidly increasing as years pass, the laptops will serve to prepare students for their futures in college as well as in the real world.