Frequently I speak with educators who have recently made the transition to one-to-one. One question that I always ask those educators is what, if any, changes have you seen in your classroom or school since moving to one-to-one. Generally, they respond with a list of the positive things that have happened at their school. Student engagement is almost always on that list. Educators talk about how the students have become much more engaged with their work, which has led to other benefits such as deeper understanding of material, reduced discipline problems, and increased attendance.
A post by Sylvia Martinez on the Generation Yes Blog pushed me to look further into the student engagement issue. She wrote about the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) of over 42,000 high school students selected from 103 different schools in 27 different states. These students reflected a cross section of the U.S. population. The survey was very informative, and I would strongly recommend that you take a look at it. There were a couple of sections that were of greatest interest to me. The graph below shares student views on their degree of excitement/engagement with various pedagogical methods.
(You may need to double click on the image to see it more clearly or visit their site to get the pdf version of the report.)
There were also student written responses that were very powerful. Here are the comments that some students gave about their classes.
One-to-one certainly isn’t a panacea for all of the student concerns from this report, but one-to-one combined with a shift in pedagogy can have a tremendous impact on schools and students. As I read the student concerns from above, I think of many of the great one-to-one educators who have moved far away from those problems stated by students. It is important to reiterate that the computer alone isn’t the key, but the computer PLUS a change in teaching can have make a huge difference! I’ll leave you with a summary of my condensed “elevator speech” I use when asked why schools should consider one-to-one.
Technology certainly isn’t the answer, but technology enables our students to do work that is unimaginable without technology. Students can create, collaborate, and connect with others from around the world in ways that are not possible without computers. Students are engaged because they interact with real world problems using real world resources, and they aren’t confined to the closed views of the textbook. The things that they can do in their classroom are relevant to the real world, and at times they may even virtually leave their room to be part of the world outside of the schoolhouse doors. The possibilities of one-to-one are truly unimaginable!