This is part of a series of posts that document some of my personal thoughts on some of the myths surrounding 1:1 learning (one device per learner) and 1:1 deployments in schools and school systems.
Myth Two – ‘Children aren’t used to 1:1’
This is an excuse that is sometimes given to delay / prevent technology deployments in schools. The truth is that most young people already live in a 1:1 environment as they are constantly connected via their mobile / cell phones or other Internet enabled devices.
Research published in the Ofcom report ‘Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2012’ illustrates this well.
Here is what it says about children and smartphones:
Children’s access to the internet is not restricted to PCs or laptops. Those aged 12-15 are more likely than last year to go online using their mobile phones and are more likely to say that this is the device they would miss the most.
Since 2011, there has been a 50% rise in 12-15 year olds owning smartphone devices. Almost two thirds (62%) of this age group now has one – up from 41% the previous year. This is significantly higher than the UK average for adults of 45%.
Mobile phones are more important to this age group than any other device, even TV. Two fifths (39%) of 12-15 year olds now say they would miss their mobile phone more than any other device, up from just over a quarter (28%) in 2011. Only one in five (20%) said that they would miss TV the most.
Around one in seven (14%) of all children aged 5-15 now use a tablet device at home, a threefold increase since 2011 (5%). Children aged 12-15 are most likely to use a tablet, with 17% saying they do, up from 6% in 2011.
However, just because young people are used to 1:1 environments doesn’t mean that they are used to them in schools. It also doesn’t mean that school staff are comfortable teaching when young people have ubiquitous access to the Internet.
Indeed, I would also argue that young people are not great at learning on-line in a structured and formal way and we have a lot of work to do in schools to prepare young people for this type of learning.
It is also interesting to note that organizations like the Open University (who specialize in distance learning) only use on-line as part of their overall model. Experience has shown that on-line alone does not have a great success rate – the key to success is ‘blended’ learning where on-line is supported by good community management, peer support and local tutorials.
Before schools go down the route of 1:1 access it is important that they ask themselves what the potetial impact on teaching and learning might be.