Is 1:1 technology worth the price?

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The announcement of new technology for a school district typically strikes a lot of interest for staff and students, and rightfully so. As of next school year, teachers and students of De Soto High School will all be receiving MacBook laptops as a part of the new 1:1 technology implementation. As exciting as the idea of owning a brand new electronic sounds, many—including myself—are left to wonder how many inconveniences these items will bring as well. When considering all areas of DHS, it seems as if more effort is being put into technology rather than other areas that are perhaps lacking. One must also consider all of the extra repair services that must come with this many school-owned devices. Although it may be too late to revoke any of these decisions, it is important to evaluate the positive and negative effects this program will inflict. Overall, there are many factors to consider when deciding if 1:1 technology is more of an ideal rather than a solution or necessity.

First off, it is important to note that the school district had to appeal to the Board of Education in order to achieve this model. Last year, the district was approved to pilot a program in which a study was conducted to “evaluate the instructional impact of providing one device per student.” It was found that middle and high schools would benefit the most from a 1:1 model. A 1:1 model would also mean an end to the BYOD program implemented in 2014. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing, just something worth considering in the long haul when it becomes more complex than new laptops and new Apple TVs.

Knowing where exactly the funds originate from, one can evaluate the true sufficiency of 1:1 technology. The original purpose is “to enhance classroom learning for students,” according to the district release. However, if a student lacks access to a device at home, how likely is it that said student will have internet access to actually use the device? As for other students who have internet access, many already have access to a device that is capable of completing assignments. Therefore, the idea of a laptop for every student may seem unnecessary and perhaps instead a certain number of devices could be available for optional check-out for the year, rather than forced upon every student. This way new technology is available when necessary but does not impress extra costs upon a district, making the 1:1 technology program more beneficial for students and districts overall.

Despite these major concerns, nothing is for certain until it happens. Therefore, we must all give the new program a chance as it is an attempt to benefit the student body. These concerns are only things to keep in mind as the year progresses and perhaps the program is eventually re-evaluated. All in all, 1:1 technology does possess the chance to benefit the school, yet is risking more potential harm than said benefits.