Who Wins the Classroom Technology Battle?

May 12, 2016 by Ryan Broome
HMB Blogs

The 21st century classroom is providing both teacher and student with advancements in learning and collaboration. Learning analytics, open-source textbooks, integration of social networks and many other tools and trends are at the forefront of districts today, and all with the same end goal: enhance the material being taught.

Two technology induced trends in today’s educational system are one-to-one computing (1:1) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). 1:1 refers to the strategy which aims at providing each student with an electronic device of some kind (laptop, tablet, etc.) that allows them to access digital course materials. BYOD centers around allowing students to bring their own electronic device(s) to class to integrate digital course materials.

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Whether you’re an evangelist for one or the other, 1:1 and BYOD are huge advancements for both teacher and student. Teachers are able to adapt to diverse learning styles with the use of modern technology, and learning can be more fun for students with the help of integrating these devices.

Both are beneficial inside the classroom, but what do these initiatives mean district-wide? Which is better? How much will it cost long-term? Is your district more prepared for one? Both? Neither?

Relative to your districts capabilities and budget, who wins the classroom tech trend?

  • Equivalence - 1:1 brings uniformity to the classroom and its devices and is the victor, here. There will be no digital device head-to-head in the classroom. BYOD may create some device-battles and competitions with the students. 1:1 schools give students the same device, with the same capabilities, with no internal battle between. However, this requires a lot of legwork and setup from the IT staff in terms of initial setup, troubleshooting along the way, as well as long-term purchasing power to get the best price.
  • Cost - Schools generally don’t bathe in cash these days. Have they ever? Budgets are coveted, and planned out well in advance. When it comes to the IT budget, BYOD is the winner if you’re strapped for cash. With users providing the device, dollars can be spent elsewhere within the operating budget. The caveat? BYOD will likely require network infrastructure upgrades.
  • Upkeep - 1:1 will require some expert-level spending strategy from your IT staff. Hardware and software procurement can be costly when done haphazard. BYOD requires no maintenance on account of the device, which will save some cash, but the compatibility of each device and school applications may be an issue.
  • Compatibility - BYOD can be tricky when it comes to applications running smoothly. Constant updates in both hardware and software can run into some issues. 1:1 is a seamless, universal solution that will ensure usability across all of the same device.

If you failed to keep score, that's two points for 1:1 and two points for BYOD. A tie ball game. No clear victor. Either option has some pros and cons. Some schools even do a mixture of both.

At the end of the day, the best solution is based on your school’s capabilities, needs, and goals for IT inside the classroom. Even more so, it's based on the capabilities and capacity of the IT staff inside the school to handle either tactic. 



Image Resource: http://chefkoochooloo.com/wp-content/uploads/5226.tablets.png
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