1-to-1 Learning and the Importance of the Right Technology

While the concept of 1-to-1 learning (one device per one student) has been around for decades, its success can be measured to varying degrees. Yet something can be learned from both the successes and failures of the schools that are experimenting with 1-to-1 – or 1-to-many – models of teaching. That’s the viewpoint of Sean Tierney, academic program manager for Microsoft Australia.
Tierney is an experienced teacher, school leader and departmental manager who has studied 1-to-1 programs around the world and is an expert at distinguishing
a poor strategy from a great one.

In this recent article in Asia Futures Magazine, Tierney provides insights on some of the most successful programs throughout the world. He takes us through the best ways to
implement a 1-to-1 program, including how to choose the right device. “Ideally, schools would be looking to provide a 1-to-1 program that ensures students are doing things they couldn’t do before, and to much greater levels of complexity,” says Tierney. “Schools need to understand what is truly possible, and not be distracted by gimmickry, simple substitution tools or cheap distractions. Hopefully, schools will want to look around, do some research and see what’s possible.”

He also talks about the advantages and disadvantages of BYOD, and the ever-important role of parents. “I think the role of the parent is to understand and share the school’s vision for learning, and to contribute to it,” states Tierney. “The school is the expert in learning – it should bring the parents on board through structured conversations and examples of what good learning looks like.”

What do you think makes a great 1-to-1 program? Let me know @anthonysalcito.


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