One-to-One Computing Drives Market Growth, Transforms Classroom
The education technology market in North America is expected to reach over $55 billion by 2019, according to the latest research report released by Technavio, a global technology research and advisory company. Technavio recently published the Education Technology Market in North America 2015-2019, which details the growth of education technology and attributes its development to the rise of one-to-one computing trends.
One-to-one computing, or the practice of allocating a personal device to every student, has become an increasingly popular option for schools to test the new landscapes of education. One-to-one computing was rated a high priority by 58 percent of technology directors, according to MDR’s State of the K–12 Market 2015 Executive Summary.
This push for personal computing has sparked a change within the traditional method of teaching. Gone are the days of a “one-size-fits-all” education based on textbooks and blackboards. Educators are focused on personalized learning through the development of language and analytical skills. The integration of tablets and notebooks has shown increased engagement and participation within the classroom.
Group involvement is supported by an increase in front-of-the-classroom technology that utilizes personal devices. According to MDR’s summary, the connection between interactive whiteboards (IWBs) or flat-panel displays and one-to-one instruments foster valuable lessons. Projecting and editing writing assignments via class blogs, educational games, and tests are all made possible in a networked classroom.
The benefits of one-to-one computing are clear, but new technology brings new challenges. IT departments are faced with the demand of providing wireless Internet on large connected campuses. Computers are no longer just in controlled labs, thus, screens are becoming difficult to monitor. As a result, increased student training on the Internet and computer literacy is making its way into the classroom.
Personal devices don’t replace the teacher, but instead add a new level of leadership to educators. There is an increased need for professional development and training on how to use the devices in classroom. Factors like time, cost, and focus are taken into consideration. As more workshops are added to the roster, there is a shift from learning about tools and applications toward ideas for meaningful integration.
The cost of one-to-one computing, whether it’s the actual device or training, is a major challenge for administrators. MDR states that tablets will be purchased by 87 percent of school districts in 2015-2016. Laptops (non-Chromebooks) are a close second, with 86 percent of districts planning purchases. 83 percent of districts’ plans include desktop computers in their budgets and 77 percent are planning on investing in Chromebooks. Private and state or federal funding can help support the initial installation of one-to-one, but sustained long-term funding hasn’t been developed for many school districts. Equipment replacement costs, training, support, and infrastructure are on the budgeting horizon.
Despite all the trials and tribulations associated with one-to-one computing, the interest in personal devices continues to rise. Technavio predicts that with the “emergence of several online courses catering to the needs of the K–12 curriculum, the education technology market is expected to shift focus towards K–12 classes in the coming years.” Elementary schoolers (and their teachers) are expected to be quite the tech gurus in 2019.
Gretchen Kuhsel is a junior journalism student at Emerson College, where she is the assistant lifestyle editor at The Berkeley Beacon. Her work has also been published in various campus magazines and The Connecticut Post. When she’s not writing, she’s spending far too much time online shopping or balancing upside down on her yoga mat.