The pros and cons of mobile communication devices like the ipad, ipod touch, cell phone, and many others have been thoroughly thought about by some, but the majority of the American population does not even spend a moment to think about the effects their devices are having upon them. One of these tools is an application called Proloquo2Go. This application is designed to assist all people in their language development from those beginning to speak to advance communicators. The application helps learners to expand their vocabulary and increase their literacy level in communication.
I included this application because I can imagine a program like this that is in the hands of every learner having a profound impact on their literacy, their chances at obtaining a college education, and their ability to form connections in a world where “networking” is becoming increasingly vital. With the call for 1:1 device to student ratios, the 1:1 device to student debate is certainly relevant and I would argue that 1:1 device to student ratios are necessary to improve the economic equality in our nation and provide increased educational opportunity for all students.
So far I have listed the positive side of the argument, and the benefits increasing mobile communication devices into our educational system to the point of a 1:1 ratio. However, there are challenges and negative aspects to starting the 1:1 movement now. For one, there has not yet been a significant enough amount of research put towards understanding whether mobile devices serve to increase instrumental learning, relational learning, student performance, student focus, and the mindset of students. The research we do have has found that student motivation and engagement generally have a positive increase with 1:1 technology implementations. The University of Georgia Southern conducted a study on the effects of 1:1 computing devices in the classroom and mentioned particularly that there was no significant increase in test scores between a control group and a treatment group. This study is significant because it displays the challenge facing 1:1 supporters in that there is not enough research out yet that displays an essential need for moving to a 1:1 device to student system. Another difficulty comes in realizing that many students will have no idea how to use their devices for educational advancement and growth at first. Students often become very distracted by their devices and this can have detrimental effects on their learning. I remember being in a webmaster class where almost the entire class was playing first person shooters instead of doing their work clearly technology allowed students to finish projects sooner, but they were not doing their best! They were settling for meeting the requirements and that was all. Devices are a double edged sword you love them because of the opportunity they provide students to go beyond their circumstances and explore the world, but you hate them because they can be extremely distracting, and can cause students to check the box that their work is complete, and then checkout. Or worse, students will check out before they even complete their work, and get distracted.
My Verdict: I by no means am an expert on the 1:1 device debate, but I think all students should be given access to devices, but we need to proceed with immense caution and be sure that students are using mobile devices in ways that enhance their learning, increase productivity, and build upon the learning that takes place with their teacher, so they can explore topics of interest to them in their schoolwork.