Top 10 Considerations for 1:1 School Computing Devices

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The use of 1:1 technology in the classroom continues to be an important way to engage students and enable teachers to deliver lessons in a more adaptive way.

The coronavirus pandemic has only made the need for technology even more evident when it comes to connecting with students and ensuring they continue to learn outside the traditional classroom.

Technology is an Integral Part of Learning

Just two years ago, only 31.8% of surveyed teachers thought using tech was a good way to engage students. As of the 2019/2020 State of Technology in Education Report, that number is now 89.6% of teachers that believe tech is vital to engaging students.

Further, the report showed that:

  • 82.7% of teachers say technology helps them do their jobs better
  • 59.7% say they use tech to help them innovate
  • 41.6% say that the use of technology in the classroom can improve behavior

In the school setting, there are certain considerations for choosing the right devices and keeping them operating and protected. This includes cybersecurity, regular maintenance and more.

What to Consider When Instituting 1:1 Devices in the Classroom 

The classroom of 2020 looks a bit different than previous years. Both Teachers and students have had to adjust to virtual learning environments, which increases the reliance on technology for teaching.

1:1 devices provide all students access to the same technology to learn and communicate with their teachers, which has never been more important.

To deploy school-provided 1:1 devices for education, there are several factors to ensure it is done successfully.

1. Choose the best device for student grade level

The choice of laptop or tablet when it comes to 1:1 devices should not be a blanketed “one-size-fits-all” approach. It is important to look at the grade level and find a device that works best according to the age of the students and identified learning outcomes.

For younger grades, tablets may be more effective if students have not yet developed typing or keyboard skills. When dealing with older students, they often need to create reports and a keyboard layout may make laptops a better choice for them.

2. Device durability

Devices traveling between home and school need to be durable enough to handle being jostled in backpacks and/or dropped without immediately breaking. This means choosing an SSD (solid-state drive) for laptops, which have no moving parts, and ensuring cases for all devices are built for durability.

3. Device security

One of the big dangers of internet access is that viruses and malware are ubiquitous. Just one infection can wipe out all the data on a student’s device as well as infect other devices on a shared network.

Using a managed services plan that can monitor and update devices for threats is a way to prevent device security issues and also keep tabs on where devices are (i.e. find lost or stolen devices).

4. Device usability

Not all devices will have the same ease of use. They need to be tested with each type of software that the school and educator will use with students. Verify the device requirements for apps or programs to run. Also look at things like weight and size to make sure devices are not either too big or too small, which would take away from their usability.

5. Web protection

Keeping students on task and off YouTube (or other social media sites) during class time is important when it comes to 1:1 device setup. Having web protection/DNS filtering in place can block malicious websites to improve security, as well as sites with inappropriate content, as well as malicious websites, helping to improve security. It can also prevent access to other sites that students should not visit while doing schoolwork. 

6.  Battery life and charging

Another consideration when choosing 1:1 devices is how long their battery life is and how fast they recharge. Devices that have a short battery life can cause major disruptions anytime a charge gets low and a student needs to search for an outlet. How and where devices are going to be charged is also an important consideration when you have a classroom full of technology.

7. How will devices be repaired when damaged?

Even if you choose durable devices, it is inevitable that you will end up with liquid spills on keyboards and/or cracked screens. It is important to have a plan to quickly repair and/or replace devices. Schools should have an agreement with a trusted IT repair shop that knows your school and your tech.

8. Software & OS updates

One of the major causes of data breaches is exploited vulnerabilities in unpatched software. It is not realistic to think every student is going to keep their school-issued device updated, so you should have an update and patch management strategy in place through a managed services plan. This can ensure that all devices get updated remotely on schedule.

9. Maintenance checks

To keep technology running smoothly, regular maintenance is required. This includes being able to monitor system health and identify any potential issues before they cause any major problems. This can be done via a remote monitoring software that allows an IT technician to get alerts when any devices have a potential problem.

10. Create device use policies

When implementing a 1:1 initiative, either an onsite or for a virtual classroom, it is important to have clear policies in place on device usage that students and parents understand. This includes policies like approved software/apps that can be installed on the device, whether a device is or is not waterproof, care and storage, security, and more.

Deploy 1:1 Devices with Confidence & Security

Twin State Technical Services has extensive experience serving the school community in device deployment and creating solutions for schools to take advantage of all that technology has to offer, while also ensuring devices are properly maintained and managed within budget.

Contact us today for help with your school technology program. Call 563-441-1504 or contact us online.

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