PERSONAL DEVICES TO PERSONALIZE LEARNING
Tracy Blair and Martin Reinsmoen
With the increased availability of sophisticated personal mobile technologies, it is becoming possible to
personalize learning for each and every learner. For students to be truly self-directed and reflective
lifelong learners, they must own their learning and the devices that facilitate it.
ASB has had a successful schoolwide 1-to- 1 laptop program since 2001 many years. A natural
progression was to move from school provided laptops to self-owned and selected laptops. This
article documents the shift to a 1-to- 1 BYOD environment in grade 4 and 5 classrooms. We explore
the factors that led to the shift to 1-to- 1 BYOD program including a brief history of the schools 1-to- 1
laptop program. The impact and outcomes gathered from our observations and experiences in the
fourth grade classroom are documented here.
When I first started teaching at ASB in the fall of 2008, ASB was several years into their 1-to- 1 laptop
program. In the lower grades there were school provided laptops that were shared between students.
Fourth and fifth grade had a 1-to- 1 model.
When students entered middle school (MS), they were in a 1-to- 1 Tablet PC program in which the
students owned the tablet. Tablet PCs were used because of the flexibility and portability of these
machines. All new MS students took a semester long course to help them develop a foundation of skills
for other MS classes. The course was designed to help students develop an understanding of digital
citizenship, care for their new personal machines, and learn the capabilities of the software that was
installed by the school on their Tablet PCs. Each year this course evolved depending on what the incoming
MS students needed to know. As laptop use grew in the fourth and fifth grade classes, the foundation
and basic skills and knowledge previously taught over a period of two weeks in the MS course, was soon
covered in only a few lessons. This created a continuous shift in the course and soon more focus was on
digital graphics, robotics, and programming.
By the fall of 2011, students in fourth and fifth grade were using school laptops in a wide variety of ways
in the classroom and other specialized subject areas. This continued to build the skills required in the
upper grades. The biggest difference between the MS and ES was that students in the MS took their
Tablet PCs home every day, while ES students’ school-provided laptops did not leave school.