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Parents' Top Back to School Tech Questions

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What should I know about my school's 1:1 device program?

Whether it's a laptop, tablet, or another device, schools are engaging students with technology.

Question: My child's school is giving every student a laptop for use at home and school. What do I need to know?

Answer: Many schools are integrating technology into academics with programs like a one-to-one laptop arrangement, BYOD (bring your own device), One Laptop Per Child, and even iPads in the classroom. Typically, the school loads all of the software that students need onto the device to ensure standardization (which helps keep teachers and students on the same page and aids network administrators in troubleshooting problems).

Common Sense Media offers a comprehensive best-practices guide for educators rolling out 1:1 programs. Our 1-to-1 Essentials offers schools guidance in order to proactively, rather than reactively, address issues commonly faced when going 1-to-1. Definitely recommend it to your school!

One-to-one laptop programs work best when there's close collaboration between teachers, administrators, and families. Families should understand how the device is to be used and the teacher's expectations for homework. Most schools have a training period for students to learn how to use the device. Most schools distribute an Acceptable Use Policy so families know what's OK to do on the device and what's not. Many also come with service arrangements or guidelines around maintenance. The most successful programs acknowledge that laptops are just one tool in the learning process.

One-to-one laptop programs represent new territory, so stay engaged in the work your kid is doing on the machine, watch for signs of frustration, and give feedback to the teacher about what's working and what isn't. —Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media (Photo: iStock)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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