Peacock Scholarship

Teacher Perception of Student Engagement in a One-to-One Computing Environment

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Computers are ubiquitous in today’s society. The rapid development and wide availability of computers, post-PC devices, Wi-Fi, the Internet, and cloud-based apps and tools are altering all facets of the 21st century. The role and impact of technology in schools has been hotly debated for decades. Advances such as television, cable, and personal computers in the classroom have all shown tremendous potential to revolutionize schooling but have failed to do so. As Wi-Fi has become more commonplace and technology has become cheaper, more available, and more mobile, schools have increasingly sought to implement one-to-one student-to-computer ratios. The development of post-PC devices such as iPads, tablets, and Chromebooks has only driven this initiative further. Additionally, as smartphones become more and more commonplace, social pressures and habits are driving the push to make more devices available to students in schools, from preschools to colleges. As educators and educational institutions reposition themselves to prepare students for the 21st century and jobs that may not yet exist, they recognize that technology has redefined the paradigm of education. The purpose of this study is to build on a wide body of research on one-to-one student-to-computer ratios. Specifically, the study is focused on understanding how teachers see the impact of the one-to-one ratio on student engagement. Data for this survey were gathered via an electronic survey distributed to teachers from three schools spanning Grades 3 through 12. The data were analyzed and compared to the existing body of research on one-to-one computing environments. Teachers surveyed for this study indicated many positive effects of the implementation of one-to-one programs. These included improved teacher technology skills, the ability to share and organize resources and documents, the ability to assess and offer students feedback, and savings in paper because there is no need for copies. Teachers also indicated using the devices for a wide variety of uses. Although a great deal of research points to the positive impacts of a one-to-one student-to-computer ratio on student engagement, the respondents did not agree. The research indicates that many of the benefits associated with one-to-one programs manifest themselves after the second year of implementation. Teachers indicated a number of negative aspects of the one-to-one program. These included students being off task or disengaged, increased plagiarism, decreased personal (student-to-student and student-to-teacher) interaction, and underdevelopment of handwriting skills.

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