Laptops and Tablets for Academic Purpose

University Prep is working to design the details of its RYOD (require your own device) program for the next academic year. Central to the process is clear identification of the pedagogical and curricular purposes for requiring each student to bring a computing device to school every day.

Schools implement student computing programs to varying degrees. At some, students come up with effective uses for the devices, but the overall instructional program changes little. Other schools make fundamental changes such as fully adopting eTexts or shifting instruction toward 21st century skills.

Whether related to technology or not, school initiatives have a greater chance of successful implementation when they align well with other activities at the school. By this reasoning, a new 1:1 student device program will have a greater chance of significantly improving student learning if it complements one or more other instructional initiatives at the school.

If a school simply introduces more technology without a corresponding change in the learning environment, then a very good chance exists that the technology initiative will not reach its full potential. Technology initiatives have the potential to underwhelm when introduced separately from other school changes.

Here is first stab at a roadmap, or menu, of changes in the learning environment that the introduction of student devices could complement.

  • Electronic organization of learning materials
  • Collaborative notetaking
  • Peer review and writing process
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Self-paced learning
  • Formative assessment
  • Project-based learning
  • eTexts, flexbooks, and other electronic resources
  • Multimodal instruction
  • Unified assignments calendar
  • Unified course web site system
  • Hybrid/blended learning
  • Flex weekly timetable
  • Information literacy curriculum
  • Education for 21st century skills (creativity, collaboration, communication, etc.)
Do you know student laptop or tablet programs that fit this model? That differ? That complement an instructional initiative not on the list? I’d like to hear from you.

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