Returning slowly…One Device Per Group…

I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compestella from the French border to Santiago in Spain with my fifteen-year daughter this summer.

We took thirty-four days. This is my third posting with thoughts I had on the way, about the process of education. photo (1)

I wrote in June of my intention to remain off-line as much as possible.., I cited danah boyd, whose work I admire, who has written about this idea a number of times following her original posting about taking a eMail Sabattical in 2010. She wrote and I concurred about the need to …take time and decompress and ease back into everyday life… danah recently updated her ideas in 2013 writing Taking a vacation? Take an email sabbatical!

On the Camino I watched some people retreat into their device each evening – this made me think a lot about the use of devices in schools.

Perhaps there is too much emphasis on the possibility of Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD) and not enough on One Device Per Group.

No educator (parent, teacher or student) is in any doubt that it is the pedagogy that matters – a profound human experience of teaching and learning that emphasises the process of how we learn…

Junior-Cycle reform in Ireland emphasises group and collaborative work – groups have time-keepers, note-takers, presenters – groups should also have one device that is used for fact checking, analysing data and presentation – a work of collaboration rather than a work of isolation.

This will actually make things more challenging in the classroom – the device is not a super-charged notebook (as it might become in the BYOD model) but a support to the process of thinking through a learning challenge set by the teacher and tackled by the group.

This is a thought I intend returning to as schools grapple with “device based” solutions to teaching and learning.

Any thoughts out there?


  1. Donal O' Mahony

    Hi BalancEdTech

    Apologies for my tardy reply!

    You ask “Do you think an iPad or similar device with it’s easy to see display and ease of handing from one student to another in the group might be more powerful than a desktop or laptop for each group?

    My answer generally is Yes, but I like the idea of a workstation where there is a printer, a scanner, the ability to add other peripheral bits and pieces of technology!

    I am going to continue this discussion in my next blog posting! Thank you…