Ubiquitous Computing

Do you require support for your one to one device programme?

A school with a ubiquitous computing model will address the educational needs and requirements of its students in a fundamentally different manner from a school which has a lower ratio of computing devices to pupils. The pervasiveness of new technology will mean that educational institutions will be better placed to provide educational services after they have adopted a ubiquitous computing model. As schools begin to organise and make sense of recent technological developments they will be better placed to utilise these technological advances to take forward organisational change and to further improve the educational services that they offer to their communities.

A school with a ubiquitous computing model is better placed to address the educational agenda of the 21st century

Technology touches and changes everything it comes into contact with. When teachers start to use networked devices and services to support the delivery of their subjects they will do so in a very different manner than if they did without these devices and services around them. A clear example of how ubiquitous technology benefits teachers and students is the shift from content to practice. From personal experience, the availability of technologies in our classrooms always leads to more engaging teaching practices and pedagogy.

The following services can be provided to support your one to one programme:

Financial Modeling
There are a number of financial options that are available to you as an education provider. These may include a capital only model, a blend of capital and revenue, operational leases or a parental contribution scheme. With all one to one programmes it is vital to ensure that your financial model is affordable and is sustainable beyond the initial replacement cycle of your chosen device(s). The one to one device model represents the tip of the iceberg and it will require a secure, reliable and robust IT infrastructure that is capable of supporting the demands of a ubiquitous computing programme. When formulating a financial model that will underpin your one to one device programme you will need to address matters relating to insurance, ownership, software purchases, breakages, losses, theft, faults and the payment mechanism if parents are contributing to the cost of the device.

Device Choice
The choice of device is an important consideration when deploying a one to one device programme; for it will determine the type of services your staff and students will access and also the manner by which they will access these services. Schools typically opt for a mobile device such as a tablet but there are many schools who have adopted a traditional laptop device. The best policy when selecting a device for your one to one programme is to keep an open mind. You may be pleasantly surprised by devices and their services that you would not have previously considered viable. Microsoft and Apple are currently the main players in the market place but devices and services from Google and Amazon should not be discounted.

Technical Design
A sound technical solution always underpins a successful one to one device project. Your school may have to invest in updating its core IT infrastructure before considering a one to one device programme and a thorough IT audit will address any concerns that you may have on this matter. For instance, how confident are you of your school's wireless infrastructure to cope with hundreds of concurrent wireless users? Is your IT support team adequately resourced to cope with the demands that will invariably come with a one to one device programme?

Staff Development
The success of your one to one device programme will be underpinned by the manner by which your staff and students take ownership of the scheme so your staff development programme will play an important role. Staff will need to feel confident in the use of these devices and in the array of services that can be accessed over these networked devices. The change management programme for your school's one to one device programme will need to start early and it will need to be sustained and supported as part of your yearly professional development programme for all your staff. Your one to one device programme may even entail the creation of new roles to support staff and students.

The Wider Picture
Your school's one to one device programme will invariably impact on all aspects of your school. At a simple level it will transform the traditional communication channels for staff and students; it will alter how homework and coursework is distributed, submitted and assessed and it will impact on your annual printing costs. At another level your one to one device programme will empower every student; it will provide an opportunity to offer new programmes of study for your students and it will place you in a position of digital advantage so that you are better placed to offer education services to the community that you serve.