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Linn-Mar Life

Every Student to Get Computer in 2019

Linn-Mar to go 1:1 Next Year

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Kit Iyer, Contributing Reporter

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    One to one computer programs are beginning to be implemented in more schools across the country. One to one, usually written as 1:1, allows each student to have their own electronic device such as a computer or tablet, which gives them access to the internet, free textbooks, and other applications that can help improve learning. The intent behind giving every student a personal laptop or tablet is to encourage individualized learning so students have the ability to learn at their own pace.

Given that technology is quickly beginning to redefine every aspect of modern life, 1:1 is considered a good option for schools due to the endless choices of learning tools that the internet provides. Many private and small schools in the Cedar Rapids area use this system, however Linn-Mar High School is currently looking at all the factors that come with switching to 1:1.  At Linn-Mar, the 1:1 system will essentially be an individual technological device for each student that comes downloaded with different software, access to the internet, and firewall protection. Dana Lampe, Linn-Mar’s instructional technology coach explains how the 1:1 program will help enhance learning at school.

“It’s a supplement. It’s going to supplement our teachers… one to one should be interactive, making learning, hopefully, a little bit deeper and more applicable to real life situations,” said Lampe.

Lampe also explains the advantages and disadvantages of switching to 1:1. This system benefits students in the ways that learning becomes individualized and students can get instant feedback from different resources teachers may utilize in the classroom. It also allows students access to these different tools. Some students may not have their own laptop at home and are allowed the time to spend working on assignments and doing activities online for school. Having 1:1 gives all students those equal opportunities.

However, the main issue with 1:1 is the cost. To obtain a network capable of powering internet for a personal device for each student would cost great amounts of money, in addition to the initial cost of the devices. It’s also a student’s responsibility to care for their device; if they break it, then the cost goes on to them. If each student were to bring their own device, this would solve the issue of cost; however, it would set some students at a disadvantage because not everyone might have the most up-to-date technology.

There is also the question of internet. If students don’t have internet access at home there is a possibility of rental hotspots, but it’s difficult to come up with attainable solutions to this problem. Lastly, with 1:1, students lose the face to face connection that is provided in classrooms.

“It’s not to replace that social aspect. I do have that fear that kids will hide behind that computer. There’s so many advantages and disadvantages but I think if there’s a good balance between things then it should be, hopefully, beneficial to students,” said Lampe.

Bailey Sowers is a former Linn-Mar student who transferred to Xavier High School this fall. She has had to make the transition from hand-written notes and physical textbooks to using individual iPads. Students at Xavier are expected to bring their tablets to every class and submit all of their work via the internet. Having a personal tablet allows them access to all of the teachers’ presentations and notes as well as a calendar and online to-do list for their homework.

“We have a convenient way to carry all the information that we are able to look back on. It’s a much easier way to be organized and all of our assignments are given with due dates shown and we can remove the assignment from our to-do list once we’ve finished,” said Bailey.

She explains how much easier it is for her to see all of her work that needs to be done and when it needs to be done rather than having piles of paper and packets to finish with the chance of losing something or not writing down due dates. However, if their iPads break or shut down, all of their work is gone. They also need to remember to have their iPads charged for the school day and be aware of the device’s battery life throughout the day. Bailey is also an avid note taker and used to use several highlighters and pens to help make her notes clear. On the iPad she has all these abilities although she has to type all her notes instead of write them.

“It’s much harder to remember notes you take because it’s mostly typing whereas writing helps you memorize the content better,” said Bailey.

Currently, Linn-Mar does allow access to computers for students for writing assignments or other activities the teacher may have planned, but every student has their own system for organizing homework and their schedule. Many students have their own notebooks and binder for each class where they take class notes and keep assignments. This is also used for studying on their own time.

Allie Schumacher, a student at Linn-Mar, says, “Right now I study by participating in class so I don’t think it will change how I study. Overall, I think it’s a good idea because technology is a part of the modern world so why not use it at school? Not everyone will like it but you can’t please everyone, you know, c’est la vie, or whatever.”

At Linn-Mar, 1:1 can be used in classes to create a more interactive environment and can be seen as an addition to teaching styles used by teachers.

“Personally I don’t think a computer will improve my learning, I waste my time on my computer watching YouTube videos. I also hate online textbooks. We used online simulations in AP Bio and the technological aspect was very confusing. We didn’t even understand what we were supposed to be learning. I would have preferred a more hands on, physical experience,” said Elise Cagnard, a Linn-Mar junior.

What does the research say about the significance of 1:1 education and its effect on learning?

According to Binbin Zheng, an assistant professor of counseling, educational philosophy, and special education at Michigan State University, 1:1 laptop programs on average have a statistically significant positive impact on student test scores in English, writing, math, and science.

 

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