Independent learning

One device per pupil allows learning situations that, previously, wouldn’t have existed, says Mark Yorke, Managing Director, Tablet Academy

What would you say are the three biggest benefits of implementing 1:1 tablets schemes in schools?

With 1:1 device provision, students and teachers get to develop independent learning practices. The whole education process becomes more open. I also think that having 1:1 device at school prepares the pupil for the real world of employment. It’s a rare job these days where you have to wait your turn to use a computer. Having a device to build your workload on and around and to empower you to succeed is a far more realistic situation.

And what are the three main drawbacks?

On a bottom line level, the cost and immediate budgetary needs may seem like a drawback, but return on investment soon becomes clear. A lack of investment in the pedagogy to support the 1:1 project can be more costly in the long run, as the devices never reach their full potential. Equally, any technology investment can be destructive if not managed properly, especially when it is in the hands of a younger audience. 

When choosing the tablet model, are schools considering all the options available to them, or are they simply opting for the most popular? Do you think there is enough variety?

In Tablet Academy’s experience, most schools opt for what they see as the most popular devices, taking their inspiration from other schools, or from the most recent marketing campaign they’ve received. There’s not enough awareness of what else is on offer, particularly from, say, Google or Microsoft for example.

Security/e-safety has been a cause for concern in the past, what steps have we taken to reduce risk?

The risks are the same whether a child is using his own mobile or a school supplied device. They haven’t changed. 1:1 devices can be managed using software which prevents pupils from accessing content and networks, but staff training and understanding is a big part of combatting e-safety too.

Can every school realistically implement 1:1 tablet schemes, and do you think they will become a permanent fixture in our schools? 

I think in around five years, 1:1 schemes will be a permanent fixture. Within that time, most barriers will be overcome. Financial constraints can be eased, supporting infrastructure can be upgraded, and staff confidence in devices will be higher due to their proliferation domestically.


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