Many school districts across the country are trying to transform their schools to a 1:1 technology initiative. This means that each student is equipped with an online learning device such as an iPad or laptop. For many school districts this can be extremely exciting. Students getting their own device at a young age means they’ll learn to become tech-savvy, which will help to properly prepare them for college and, later, the workforce. While there are many advantages to providing all students an iPad or laptop, there are also some disadvantages that you must be aware of. Here is a list of things to expect in a 1:1 classroom.

Advantages of Technology in the Classroom

Increased Engagement and Participation

iPads and laptops can help to increase the disengaged; with a wide variety of learning materials there are new and exciting ways for students to learn. From interactive books to apps that help students learn just about anything, an iPad classroom has the ability to grab students’ attention and keep them engaged.

Another great benefit that iPads and laptops have is the ability to accommodate each student’s unique learning style as well as meet the needs of learners with disabilities. In a traditional classroom, educators teach to the masses and students with a learning disability may have trouble focusing or not getting the attention from the teacher they need.

However, in a 1:1 classroom or through virtual learning, there are apps that can meet the needs of all students, which will help to keep them engaged. For example, students with dyslexia can use the voice to text feature. The freedom to have an individualized approach that is tailored to each student’s needs is a sure benefit to keeping students engaged and participating in their education.

The Ability to “Go Green”

An iPad classroom reduces the number of materials students need, which could very well mean the end of grading actual “papers”. Can you imagine a life where you don’t have to have a stack of paperwork to go through? Books and files are available electronically and students can take pictures of their work and send them through an app. Another great benefit is that assignments can be stored online forever so no more excuses of “my dog ate my homework”.

Never-Ending Resources

Have you ever heard of the saying “There’s an app for that”? The number of apps there are to choose from and the ability to search and find information on literally anything that you can think of is an amazing advantage to having technology like an iPad in the classroom. The plethora of educational resources literally at students’ fingertips is amazing.

It’s Cost Effective

The amount of money school districts have to spend on updating outdated textbooks and changing curriculums could go into the tens of thousands. An iPad classroom can easily be updated with a simple push of a button. Plus, there’s no extra fees or price hikes from textbook manufactures, or dealing with torn or old books that are written in. Tablets are lightweight and you only pay for them once.

It’s a Great Communication Tool

If you’ve ever had a hard time trying to find a way to get your introverted students to speak out, then you will be happy to know that technology can help. Some students are shy and don’t like to raise their hand in class. However, using an iPad can help these students and improve interaction. Students can make comments during lectures or even email their responses instead of feeling forced to speak in front of others.

Disadvantages of Technology in the Classroom

Can Lead to Distraction

It’s easy to see that technology like an iPad can be distracting for many individuals when you have your hands on a device that allows you to feel like you’re a million miles away. With access to games and videos, it’s no wonder all of the neigh-sayers are against 1:1 technology in the classroom. Studies show that iPads are associated with entertainment, and the ability to connect to different apps and trying to multitask during learning time can hinder academic performance. While iPads can be a valuable tool, they can also be a distraction.

Internet Connection and Security Concerns

iPads and laptops are dependent upon Wi-Fi connection. The more devices you have fighting for Wi-Fi space, the more connectivity issues you may have. Also, a slow or disconnected Wi-Fi connection can ruin a lesson plan.

There are also security concerns. Giving students these expensive devices to carry back and forth to school puts them at risk of theft or them breaking it. It also means having to instruct students on the dangers of their digital footprint and dealing with cyberbullies or other online predators.

Options can be Overwhelming

Some traditional teachers find technology such as an iPad to be too overwhelming. The amount of apps there are on the market can make it hard to choose from. It can become quite difficult to navigate and in turn, turn teachers off to even using technology at all.

Students Need Less Screen time

Studies suggest that children are using far too much technology already. In fact, a report released in October 2019, by Common Sense Media found that 8- to 12-year-olds use screens for entertainment for an average of 4 hours, 44 minutes a day, and 13- to 18-year-olds are on screens for an average of 7 hours, 22 minutes each day. If you add the time students would be using technology in the classroom on top of the time they are using it for entertainment, then that would far outweigh what any doctor would recommend.

There is no denying that our world is changing at a rapid pace, and having the ability to provide all students with access to the best information and prepare them for the future is a privilege. There will always be upsides and downsides to technology, but as users and educators we can use our experiences to ensure our students will have the best possible implementation of all future technologies.


*Updated October, 2020