At the beginning of the 21st Century, wireless access to the internet emerged as a slow (11 Mbit/s), relatively unstable, and not easily secured alternative means of data communications. Within three years, the data rate improved by a factor of five, with increased network reliability and security. By 2009, wireless network speed had increased by a factor of more than ten, allowing for more users to share available bandwidth from a single access point. All of these developments in wireless access end points have been supported by the same category-rated cable that was installed in 2000.
1:1 Computing and BYOD in the K-12 Environment
The rate at which classroom technology has developed in these first decades of the 21st Century can perhaps best be described as “hyper-drive.” The vision: All students, parents and educators linked seamlessly in a virtual learning environment via an array of mobile devices. Every moment, a potential learning experience. Lesson plans, assignments, report cards, and any other document traditionally produced and distributed on paper can now be electronically generated, transmitted, and securely stored on the cloud. Interactive technologies have transformed the white board into a 100”-diagonal computer screen that is dynamically responsive to the user’s gestures, allowing them to modify, mark-up, and otherwise manipulate displayed content.
The concepts of 1:1 Computing and BYOD (bring-your-own-device) are two significant factors playing a role in these hyper-driven times. However, implementing both also presents significant challenges for educators, parents, and students alike, in the form of budgetary constraints, administrative policy development and enforcement, and the ability to ensure that every student has access to devices that meet minimum performance criteria.
In spite of these challenges, there is no turning back—1:1 Computing and BYOD are inextricably part of the evolution of educational technologies that are morphing beyond electronic textbooks and becoming powerful learning tools.