A Significant Accomplishment
Morrison Public Schools achieved a 1:1 student to computer ratio in 2012. The combination of computer labs, in-class desktops, laptop carts, and tablets provide each student with access to an Internet connected computer all day every day. Morrison is now a part of a very small group of Oklahoma schools that can boast such a student to computer ratio.
Research indicates a broad array of benefits associated with 1:1 programs, and we are pursuing all of them. The highest scoring schools in the United States put technology literacy at the forefront of their educational strategy. We believe Morrison deserves a place among those schools.
We believe Morrison's students deserve the most advanced educational environment we can give them.
How We Did It
Our 1:1 initiative shouldn't be possible.
The general concensus is that a 1:1 project can't get off the ground without a grant. The up-front costs of a typical 1:1 are substantial. The cost for a school our size is typically $400,000. Our project cost just $62,000. So, what did we do differently that made such a big difference?
The key decision was the selection of a tablet device. We selected a tablet rather than a laptop for several reasons. First, a tablet's small size and weight mean that it can be used in a greater number of settings and with a larger age range of students. Second, tablets represent where technology is going rather than where it has already been. Third, tablets are less expensive.
Device cost is a determining factor in the long-term viability of a 1:1 program. With tablets, Morrison is able to create a 1:1 environment that it can support in the long run. Many schools that receive grant funding for technology find that after a few years they no longer have the funds to sustain the effort. Laptops break down, and the school cannot afford to repair them.
Morrison can afford to purchase, repair, and support tablets in perpetuity because their cost is roughly one sixth of a laptop.
What The Research Says
The 2008 Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (eTxTIP) study compared the results from 20 schools implementing laptop programs and a matched comparison group of schools that did not use laptops. The study showed positive impacts of laptops on technology use and proficiency, increased interest among teachers in student-centered instruction, reduced student disciplinary actions, and greater teacher collaboration.
In addition, a 1:1 ratio of students to computers changes the way that students use technology at home. A 2002 Boston College study of upper elementary age students found that students in 1:1 schools used their computer at home for school work at least once a week. In contrast, students in non 1:1 schools used their home computer primarily for recreation and game play. Read the full report here
For further reading I recommend an analysis of 1:1 programs across six states that was conducted by The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. The Friday Institute is located at the North Carolina State University College of Education. This study was conducted in 2011. Read the full report here