Myth 5 – 1:1 is all about independent learning
Obviously, if used in the right way, 1:1 (one device for each learner) does offer opportunities for independent learning. But the reality of it is the digital collaborative learning opportunities are far greater with 1:1 than without. It is also important to remember that ‘independent’ learning doesn’t necessarily mean ‘learning by yourself’.
I think there is a time and a place for children to learn independently but then I also feel that as human beings we achieve our greatest learning feats through collaboration and copying. Just think how you learnt to walk, talk and read. Isn’t it a shame that education is still one of the only aspects of society that still calls copying, ‘cheating’.
Even in large scale 1:1 deployments that don’t necessarily involve good connectivity, the right solution can still offer digital collaboration on a classroom / school level through a Local Area Network (LAN). Of course the real power of digital collaboration comes when you combine 1:1 with good connectivity and give learners the full power of the Internet.
For me the photo below sums it up:
Photo: Fearghal Kelly
You have a group of young people working on Chromebooks in Google Docs. If you look carefully you can see that there are a number of other learners in the document all collaborating at the same time. In this case all of the collaborators are all in the same room, but they could be anywhere in the world.
When you observe learning like this it really starts to make you think more about ratios and what it is we are actually trying to achieve in education. Google Docs can achieve a ratio of 50:1 (fifty learners all contributing to one document in real-time). What’s more because Google Docs is a browser-based application you can easily edit documents on any Internet enabled device (although it is optimized for Android and Chrome)
The real-time collaboration features of Google Docs really does make it a killer application for education. I just wish more people would consider using it to support learning and formative assessment. Microsoft’s Office 2013 supports similar features, so perhaps we might see more of an uptake then?
Google Docs is obviously not the only suite of collaboration tools now available to learners. Other collaboration tools include blogs, wikis, web-based conferencing, voice threads, glogs and loads of other stuff.
There really is an amazing suite of opportunities available for educators to help support learning theses days. Combined with good learning and teaching 1:1 technology integration in our schools can only enhance these opportunities.