Are schools adopting tablets on a 1:1 basis?

“An iPad is like a toothbrush. You could share it, but why would you want to?” Anonymous

There seems to be a Utopian vision that one day all students will go to school fully equipped with a low-cost tablet device, paid for by the school, and fully loaded with software apps that personalize student instruction. I hear about high schools in Massachusetts providing 1:1 iPads for their students, and I practically want to pack up my family and move east.

But are schools across the country really adopting iPads on a 1:1 basis? My ten-year old’s school in Oregon had a fundraiser just last year to raise enough money for one laptop for the art literacy program. It took two months. And a high school around the corner from me bought a set of iPads for students to share, but they had implementation issues and the technology just sat around unused.

Business plans often make an assumption that iPad adoptions will be 1:1 and that schools will buy an app for each student. Is that what is really happening in schools across America?

In the Business Edition of the 2012 National Survey on Mobile Technology, IESD Inc.–an independent research firm in New York–asked district-level educators: “In your district which is most true?”

Educators could choose from:

  • Classrooms have 1 to 1 ratio of mobile devices to students.
  • Classrooms have a small set of mobile devices that students share.
  • A cart with a class set of mobile devices is shared by multiple classrooms.
  • Some classrooms have a full class set of mobile devices and some don’t.
  • Some classrooms have a small class set of mobile devices and some don’t.­­­

For districts that reported either current iPad adoptions or adoptions in the next 1-2 years, only 11% of respondents (whose titles included CIO, CTO, and district instructional technology director) reported a 1 to 1 ratio of mobile devices to students. A detailed breakdown of responses to each choice is available in the Business Edition of the report from IESD.)

Our next blog post will address marketing apps: Who buys? Who influences purchase and how do you reach them?

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