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Henrico County Public Schools Final Report.  Insights from a Pioneering Leader of One-to-One Mobile Computing

Blended learning that combines digital instruction with live, accountable teachers holds unique promise to improve student outcomes dramatically. Schools will not realize this promise at large scale with technology improvements alone, though, or with technology and today’s typical teaching roles. In this brief, we explain how schools can use blended learning to encourage improvements in digital instruction, transform teaching into a highly paid, opportunity-rich career that extends the reach of excellent teachers to all students and teaching peers, and improve student learning at large scale. We call this a “better blend”: combining high-quality digital learning and excellent teaching. Schools can immediately pursue a better blend at small scale. To achieve excellent learning at scale, state policymakers must change state policy to enable and incentivize a better blend in large numbers of schools. These policies must address five categories: funding, people, accountability for learning, technology and student data, and timing and scalability.

BYOD is a reasonable choice for districts with the following conditions: cost is a critical factor, wide bandwidth is available, and there is a large student population with limited income to purchase separate devices for school and home. Additionally, the IT staff is well organized, capable, and experienced. BYOD is not appropriate for all districts but it is a compelling choice for the many districts that have this combination of factors.

Mobile devices, used under the guidance of highly qualified teachers, offer powerful ways to engage K-12 students, spark their curiosity, and improve achievement. But budgets are tighter than ever. How can cash-strapped school systems give all students access to vital educational technologies?