Monday, August 20, 2007

One-to-One Options

Both Naomi and Michael have listed several options, some of which may not make it into US public schools, but might be options for schools in other countries. I want to talk about some other, less sophisticated options. The first is thin clients. There are some in our district who are in favor of, and those who are against, thin clients for the labs. I see the potential of thin clients to start implementing 1:1 use. Since expense is a major issue for starting 1:1 use, thin clients created from older PCs that have been replaced might be a less expensive alternative. Another hardware possibility is something we have used in our classrooms on a limited basis for students who have difficulties with handwriting. We have used Alphasmarts. There are certain excellent uses for these machines which allow word-processing to be easily transferred to a computer for printing. These machines are of course very limited and are a far cry from Web 2.0 applications. I have found that keyboarding skills are very important and maybe are as important as the hardware. Too much time can be wasted when students are spending much time trying to type a few sentences. Our school starts keyboarding skills in first grade which definitely not too early. The other option to start is a laptop cart which I have talked about in another post. While none of these options may lead to the ideal 1:1 situation, they may be an inexpensive option to at least get computers in students’ hands on a limited basis.

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