As school's race to provide 1:1 (one mobile device for each students) technology for classroom and mobile computing to their students the debate continues... "What is the best tool for our schools to use in a 1:1 environment?"
Many schools quickly jumped on the iPad bandwagon but without training, to both the staff and students on the benefits and uses of the technology, many are left feeling like it's more of a burden than anything else. Many schools that use their "advanced 1:1 technology" as a selling tool for enrollment are actually falling short in the area of technology. They have handed their staff iPads, which are only used for note taking or for students to log into online textbooks, but there are so many other uses for these machines. With new options like the Chromebook for education, Google Nexus, and Microsoft Surface schools are now given more options in computing than they had before. Schools that currently have a Windows interface have the option to continue with their current structure but training may still be an issue.
When I was working in the classroom we were left to take online training or required to use an in-service day to continue our education, but how much can one really learn in a day or from an online tutorial? Furthermore, many teachers are still left feeling that they don’t know how to effectively integrate what they’ve learned into their lessons; and not to mention they then need to find the time to do so.
So, what’s the classroom and mobile computing answer to the 1:1 dilemma? Each school and it’s staff must be open to assess all the options available and choose the best tool for their unique purpose. iPads are not fully capable computers but can be used in the classroom very effectively; however, computers are still a must. Other tablets may provide more computing options but some projects still require laptops or a more substantial machine to complete them. Even more important than the tool we use is to ensure all the staff are trained and supported. Stuff doesn’t teach, teachers do.