One to one learning with handheld devices - Michael Carrier

In this session, Michael Carrier spoke about the benefits of adopting a Programme of 1:1 handheld devices in the classroom, starting by talking about the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) programme.

Michael quoted Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of OLPC: "What children lack is not capability, it is opportunity and resources"

Michael spoke about the places where these 1:1 learning is being put into place, and where it is showing success. He also spoke about places where the programmes have not been so successful. The reason why many of these projects fail is well known, according to Michael. It is usually due to not investing in teacher training and teacher development, which means the teachers do not feel involved or comfortable using the devices in the classroom.

In many places where 1:1 programmes have been successfully implemented have seen some very positive responses from children, teachers and parents. Uruguay and the Plan Ceibal is the world leader at the moment, and Michael spoke about the work the British Council is doing in Uruguay using teleconferencing to help the children learn English  because the country does not have enough trained English teachers in primary schools.

In order to make is work, Michael believes that new teacher competencies need to be developed, including e-moderation courses and he said policy development is also very important. The budget and setting aside money to invest in teacher development is so important in determining the success of these projects, and Michael called for more teacher training courses to be developed to help teachers develop the skills they need to be able to teach in these new contexts.

To finish, Michael looked at what's happening next, including new models of publishing.

Questions and comments from the audience included a man who asked how you can use this type of learning in a very large class, and how it can be evaluated. Michael responded that more research needs to be done and teachers need to try out different models to allow for this, conducting action research. One way of dealing with large classes, for example, is to get the children working in groups.

Another important feature of many of these programmes involve using a Learning Management System to support the learning taking place. Michael also believes that there will be new careers opening up for teachers with so much online learning and teaching taking place.

Michael's presentation can be downloaded from


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