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1-to-1 educational computing initiatives around the world

Michael Trucano's picture

replicating one-to-one, to one, to one ... | image atribution at bottomThe One Laptop Per Child program has brought much attention to issues related to '1-to-1 computing' (each child has her/his own personal computing device).  While perhaps the most prominent initiative of this sort in public consciousness, OLPC is just one of many such programs around the world.  At a recent event in Vienna, the OECD, the Inter-american Development Bank and the World Bank brought together representatives from these programs, the first such face-to-face global gathering of leaders in this area to share information and insights about their experiences. 

In putting together this event, it was clear that there was no consolidated list of leading '1-to-1 educational computing initiatives'.  Here's a first attempt at such a list, based on participants in this event (links are meant as pointers to more related information; not all lead to the specific project sites):

All presentations and videos from these (and other) initiatives are now being being uploaded to the Vienna event web site, and the complementary sites maintained by the OECD, Inter-american Development Bank and the World Bank; all should be available by the end of the first week of March.  Until then, you may wish to consult the daily summaries posted by (day one, day two, day three) or on the IDB ICT/education blog (day one, day two, day three).

This list, with its emphasis on geographic diversity and large scale programs, is meant to be both representative and reasonably comprehensive.  There are of course many small school- and district-level initiatives, especially in North America and Europe, that are not listed here -- please feel free to add to this list in the comments below.

For more information on this topic in general, from a largely American (USA) perspective (the site of most such initiatives to date), here are a few places to get started:

Please note: The image used at the top of this blog post of a young gymnast comes courtesy of Wikipedian Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons and is used according to the terms of its  Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.


Submitted by Jeannine St. Amand on
Michael - thank you for the great start on a list of global 1:1 initiatives. Could you please check the New Brunswick link? While we have English and French systems, the link leads to a Portuguese site.

Submitted by Joe Nutt on
Just some on the ground experience to add to this picture. My last company was, until recently, a major supplier in the computers for pupils scheme in the UK you list which Becta renamed as Home Access. My experience of the way this scheme was managed on the ground, was that schools did nothing whatsoever to assess the needs of the parents and children who were receiving this benefit. They basically went to anyone who asked for one, whether they already had three machines in the home or not. My ex company recently pulled out of the scheme claiming the commercial returns were "quite poor" and its lack of retail outlets placed it at a disadvantage.

Submitted by Dave on
@Joe: "My ex company recently pulled out of the scheme claiming the commercial returns were "quite poor" This is true in general for the educational industry. With very few exceptions, educational software has very small ROI when compared against almost anything else you could be doing with similar resources or similarly skilled workers. As long as people consider education a for-profit venture, very little change can happen in this regard. It can't be about the money; the 6-year olds don't have any. It has to be about the future returns to society (which is sadly very difficult to account for on a year-end balance sheet).

Hi, We in Afghanistan are currently piloting the One Laptop Per Child project - focusing quite a lot on use of digital libraries in the school without relying on Internet access and using blended learning to make up for a lack of time in the classroom. Unfortunately IMO as much as we might like to have infinite resources for our children's education that's not the case, particularly in under developed countries such as here. It is therefor critical that we assess the impact of what we do to ensure maximum returns for children on the resources being provided. I'm quite sure that nothing so quickly and so relatively cheaply can improve education so radically. Hopefully we can verify that more scientifically. Regards, -Mike

Submitted by Elin Fredriksson on

Thanks for a great start of a list. I was wondering if there is any updated list to find.

These initiaitves are now so numerous and various around the world that we no longer track them individually. In addition to 1-to-many efforts (i.e. shared computing equipment) and 1-to-1 (one device per user) we are also monitoring products and services explicitly designed for environments that are n-to-1 (where n is a number greater than one, i.e. a student has access to more than one device simultaneously, or different devices concurrently). Cloud-based applications and services are one (but not the only) example of 'solutions' for this use case.

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