My Case for 1:1 implementation
1:1 implementation of technology is an innovation that I believe we need in schools. Wireless infrastructure, servers, and the capacity to support multiple platforms for all students, in all districts, kindergarten through 12th grade would be transformational for our profession. As I reflected on this to make my case for 1:1, I drew on my background as a student of history.
The Silk Road, an ancient trade route, connected the far east to western Europe. Traders exchanged goods and ideas, moving across continents. This commercial route spread religions, inventions, and innovation. The next time you sit down to a plate of spaghetti, remember that the noodle, a Chinese invention, was spread because of trade along the Silk Road.
In our own nation, Railroads transformed America. In the 19th century, the first transcontinental railroad was completed, generating the growth of new cities, and bringing goods from east to west. The Sears catalog, which began in 1888 made it possible to purchase almost anything someone in the 19th century could want. Government aide through the Homestead Act and the start of Rural Free Delivery opened new markets and created multiple economic opportunities.
In the 1950s, President Eisenhower called for the development of the Interstate Highway System, the biggest public work project, at the time, in the nation’s history. The Highway Trust Fund, supported by taxpayers, invested millions to create new roads, as well as new opportunities. Suburbs developed, and goods that were once available only regionally could be moved faster than ever before and sold in new markets.
The new superhighway, the internet, has already created millions of new dollars in economic growth. The web has created a new generation of millionaires, and has again made it possible to purchase goods that were, at one time or another, out of stock, discontinued, or only available regionally.
We must take on the challenge of building “on-ramps” to this new highway. By teaching kids to navigate the web and technology appropriately, we are impacting the generation that will be developing whatever trade route is next. Investing in building the infrastructure to implement multiple devices on multiple platforms, across the nation, must be our new public service project. We must make a case to our society that these tools are not toys, rather, they are essential to our nation’s future. Just like railroads and highways created new opportunities for growth and information, technology will transform classroom practice and create more student engagement, time on task, and improve performance. Not having computers in classrooms today is like using a horse and buggy in 1950.
Teachers will always be needed, and could never be replaced by technology. Just like engineers were needed to guide the trains, or instructors were required to learn to drive the automobiles, educators will be necessary to show students how to appropriately and productively engage technology.
As someone who spent time studying history, I’ve been educated to look for patterns and learn from the past. The lessons of the Silk Road, Transcontinental Railroad, and Interstate Highway System indicate to me that a new investment in infrastructure in needed in our nation. It is up to us, as professional educators, to make the case.