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One-to-One or Anytime Anywhere Learning-- What is the Difference?

You may not have realized, but a few issues ago we changed the name of the AALF newsletter from One-to-One to the Anytime Anywhere Learning Report. This may not seem like such a huge change to you, but to us, it’s significant.

First and foremost, as an organization, AALF has always been focused on rethinking where, when, what, and how our young people are learning and the role of school within their every day, everywhere learning environment. A cornerstone of this anywhere anytime learning is that learners have ubiquitous access to technology. Access - when it’s needed, how it’s needed, where it’s needed - is crucial, but it’s not the goal nor focus.

The goal of shifting from the name One-to-One is to remove the emphasis that too often remains focused on the technology. Yes, baseline, students each need ubiquitous access, but the shift isn’t just about putting devices into students’ hands. Too many times one to one initiatives become deployment programs. And, although there’s an understanding teachers need professional development, often this ‘training’ is merely focused on gaining technical skills and an introductory knowledge of the hardware, and the how-to of some software, apps, and the web. The truth is deployment isn’t the end, it’s the beginning, and professional learning must be ongoing and centred on pedagogy and the design of learning in these technology-rich physical and virtual learning environments.

If a school’s focus is on creating richer, deeper learning experiences for its students, the selection of the device, while not the most important decision in the implementation process, becomes an easier one. It becomes a decision connected to vision and goals, not a spur of the moment decision based on fads or misinformation. Whatever the device, it must not compromise learning. Each student should have a fully functional, personal portable device. What would this include? Clearly, laptops and some, but not all, tablets. Everything else, at least at this time, may be great as a secondary device, but shouldn’t be the only device. Otherwise, teachers and learners limit their options, making learning compromises based on device capability rather than pedagogical reasons.

And, yes, we know, for some, ‘one to one isn’t the case anymore’, it’s two to one, or even three to one. It would be wonderful if this was the case for all students, but it isn’t. If you can supply your students with more than one device, or if they’re lucky enough to have a variety of additional options, Great! But one to one should be recognized as the minimum acceptable level, the baseline. And these devices need to be available not only when students are at school or in a specific class, or at home, or at the library, but 24/7, so they are available when (anytime) and where (anywhere) they are needed for learning.
Fortunately, more and more schools are moving to one to one. But, often, an educational vision isn’t driving the decision.

Which gets us back to the name change. We’re about learning – anytime, anywhere. Our work is centered on helping schools articulate compelling visions for learning from which they can begin to design learning experiences that aren’t limited by time or place or the numerous other barriers that exist. As Sister Suzanne Cooke says in our video The Compelling Case for Change, “This is always about learning.”
February 11th, 2014 @ 12:24PM

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