Breathing Easy

OxygenIt’s been said that you know when a 1:1 computing initiative is truly working in a school because you stop talking about it. The conversation stops being about the hardware – the computers, the tablets, the wifi, the network, etc. When all that stuff works the way it is supposed to, it begins to fade from the conversations that take place in the school. We stop talking about the devices and start talking about the learning that takes place with the devices. We stop thinking about the infrastructure required to make the technology work, and we just use it, fully expecting that it “just does”.

A good 1:1 program should be like oxygen. It becomes so ubiquitous that you start to forget it’s there. Students and teachers begin to blend the use of technology into their daily routine in a way that becomes so seamless that it feels natural. Taking the technology away would be almost like taking oxygen away. You don’t notice it until it’s not there.

How do you get to that point? Obviously the important infrastructure needs to just work. Wifi needs to be robust and ubiquitous. Servers need to be fast and responsive. Computers and devices need to be simple to use. Software needs to be intuitive and flexible. All that is important, and need to be the first priority of the IT teams that put those things in place. But once those things are in place, we need to stop talking about them.

Learning should be the goal of a 1:1 program. Not devices or wifi or policies or “the cloud”. That stuff is important, sure, but the primary focus of a school needs to be on learning, not technology.

In the excitement of putting technology into schools, it’s amazing how often we overlook that.

This post has been crossposted from its original publication on the Hot Topics section of the Microsoft Partners in Learning blog (
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CC BY-SA 4.0 Breathing Easy by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 Replies to “Breathing Easy”

  1. Thanks Chris for all of your work inspiring educators from around the world! I am a 6th grade teacher just west of Chicago in my 12th year as an educator and I stumbled upon your Virtual Staffroom podcasts this summer. They have been great to listen to and I was wondering if you are still creating podcasts. My district is embarking on the 1:1 journey this year and I have found your conversations enlightening! I just listened to an episode about connecting and I thought I would reach out and introduce myself! Thanks again!

    1. Hey thanks Tim!

      That’s really nice of you to say that. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the podcasts. Although I haven’t made them for a while now, I think the couple of years I spent doing them probably helped completely change the way I way I view education and schooling. In hindsight they were really important for me to do for my own benefit… the fact that other people seem to get value from them is a lovely side effect!

      Thanks for connecting mate!

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