Recently I was reading some articles on 1-to-1 programs that didn’t live up to expectations. This is not a new story, of course.
But there sometimes is a tendency to believe that giving a device to every student in a school or district or subset of this is miraculously going to solve all ills:
- Test scores will rise!
- Technology skills will skyrocket!
- Students will be engaged!
- The community will support us more fully!
- People will visit!
- Everyone will love us!
It’s the same old story as when I first did the research for the first and then the second edition of my book. There MUST be a magical formula here, right? A ratio of 1-to-1 combined with every student and every teacher = huge needle move in all the ailing and difficult aspects of the school. Plus everyone will like it.
Sorry, there’s more work to it than that. Wish it were easier but it’s not.
Here’s an interview with Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine written by Richard Feloni of Business Insider, listing the 5 things he sees as major reasons restaurants fail. They are:
- Bad People Management
- Lack of Accounting Skills
- Spotty Customer Service
- Sub-Par Food Quality and Execution
There is no mention of stoves, refrigerators, pots, pans, knives, utensils.
We need to look at education holistically and not about hardware or software. What is the experience in the classroom of the student, what are the factors contributing to that experience, what is the philosophical viewpoint of that school, what can we change, what can we improve, what do we have to work around, what is the leadership, what do teachers say, what do parents say, what do students say?
Technology can’t solve everything, so let’s stop simplifying this highly complicated endeavor. All those restaurants which failed within 5 years had stoves, refrigerators, electricity, and gas. That’s not the reason they failed. Introducing 1-to-1 without a serious look at everything else can result in pockets of success but not transformation. Take the time, energy and effort to go deeper.
- Pamela Livingston