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1:1 vs BYOD

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

In the new age of the digital classroom, where technology goes hand in hand with learning, educators and schools remain conflicted when making the choice between BYOD vs 1:1 learning....


1:1 also known as one-to-one computing is a classroom where the school provides the same device to all that students to use over the school’s wireless connection. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative, on the other hand, encourages students and the staff to bring their own devices to school to be used for educational purposes.

Today, schools are choosing either one of these routes as they introduce the concept of digital classrooms to their students and teachers. However, making a choice between these can often be challenging.


....So we have collated a list to enable you to make a choice between these two directions:


1. Equality in the classroom

Having a one-to-one computing classroom ensures that all the students are on the same page in terms of the type of device as well as the functioning capacity of the device – thus creating digital equality in the classroom. On the other hand, in a BYOD scenario, very often the more well-off students in the classroom will have access to better and faster devices, that not only give them an undue advantage, but it may lead to the other students feeling inferior or in worst cases, even being bullied for their humble gadgets.


2. Keeping hassle to a minimum

IT administrators in the school are responsible for setting up access and permissions for devices. However, these simple tasks become extra challenging when there are varied devices across various platforms in the same classroom – such as windows, iOS, Android etc. For teachers working in the classroom, this can be a problem as they need to ensure that all the digital lessons they create are device agnostic. This means that they should work regardless of the device the student is using and the platform they are on. Additionally, often in the classroom, the students can call upon the teachers to provide basic troubleshooting for devices they are not familiar with.

However, using the same device eliminates all these issues, and makes the digital classroom a hassle-free experience. Very often mobile applications are not the same across all platforms and this may cause challenges in a BYOD classroom with many students not being able to access essential apps, programs and losing out on critical learning experiences. In a 1:1 classroom, all the students are on the same platform and all are using the same device, thus ensuring that students have equal opportunity to access the information as and when required.


3. Cost

Most schools have a very limited budget for the annual year and setting up a digital infrastructure and network for an entire school can be a very expensive affair. In this case, where cost is a concern for schools, a BYOD direction is more budget-friendly as schools save the cost of purchasing devices. This essentially means that schools and educational institutes can concentrate their funds on upgrading the classroom infrastructure with wireless and internet technologies. In the case where parents pay anyway the buying power of the school could be leveraged though.


4. Ease of use

With BYOD, users are already familiar with their personal devices and are extremely comfortable with operating the same, hence very little training is needed for these set of students and teachers. On the other hand, with 1:1, although some initial training may be necessary, many find it easier to integrate and use technology in the classroom when everyone is working with the same device.


5. Maintenance and Repairs

One of the key advantages when it comes to a BYOD system is that maintenance, upgrades and repairs are the responsibility of the student thus ensuring that the students are completely responsible for the maintenance and upgrades of their device.

This saves the school time, money and effort on maintaining the student’s devices.

The above points indicate there are advantages and disadvantages to each of these models though. Today, schools are focussed on creating a technology-rich learning environment that leverages the best of available technology. To this end, many schools are using a mixture of approaches to create the best learning environment, which is easy to maintain for the school and provides the students with important digital learning advantages. This practice is especially prevalent in large or economically diverse schools, whether the school authorities choose to implement a mix of both strategies to ensure all students have access to devices.

Choosing between, either one of the approaches can be difficult, but schools need to ensure that their decision keeps learning at the foreground, and keeps the teachers in control as new technology becomes part of classroom learning.


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