Ways to Pair Up 1:1 Tech to Your Students’ Ages and Abilities

There has always been a lot of conversation about one-to-one computing (1:1) in education. But I don’t think there’s a need for vast research to figure out if giving each student a digital device to connect to the internet should be part of the educational process: we can just look around at how we use 1:1 tech in our daily lives.

My device has become an integral part of my personal and professional life, and I use it to enhance it. Sure, common sense needs to be applied: there’s no need to overuse it. But using it for particular tasks makes both my life and my school life better. The same can be true for our students.

The Benefits of 1:1 Tech

In the contemporary world, 1:1 tech is essential and children need a suitable, efficient device that is relevant to their mental and physical abilities to help them:

  • Store, carry and use large amount of data
  • Learn how to efficiently use software and apps
  • Learn ways of searching for relevant information
  • Be able to implement the obtained information
  • Be able to create and share their own digital content
  • Be able to communicate with their teachers and peers

Ages 3-5

Children at this age need to practice their motor skills using real objects, but devices like tablets, especially iPads, are essential to expose students to resources that expand their imaginations. Being user-friendly, tablets enable children become creators as well.

I use iPads to help expand vocabulary and improve pronunciation. SMART Notebook is a great tool to let a child both practise and be a creator. With it, we choose content, then browse through pictures to find out which are suitable for our story. It is extremely powerful to improve pronunciation: a child can hear his/her own way of pronouncing the words or phrases, which leads to self-correction and better self-awareness by using the ‘add sound’ feature.

Ages 5-11

Children at this age can use either tablets or laptops. It is also the right moment to introduce ICT and Digital Citizenship so that children are aware how computers work and how to become a good digital citizen once they are provided with their own usernames, passwords, and data.

At my school, I run Coding Club with children aged 8 to 11 in which topics are introduced off-computer and then the children complete challenges in SMART amp. The instructions and some activities are done during a session but children can go on discovering new challenges at home because their workspace is available 24/7.

I also introduced gamification through SMART amp. To complete tasks, the children need to have their devices. Tasks to be completed are often created SMART Notebook and duels and tournaments take place in SMART lab.

Ages 11 and up

At this age, 1:1 tech has become inseparable from school life. I use SMART amp and Notebook to do ‘big question’ projects with my classes. The benefit of using 1:1 tech means that students aren’t dependent on time and place. These projects support creativity, self-reliability, and self-organisation.

In the end, there are many benefits of 1:1 tech in today’s classroom. Pairing up students with devices and projects can help you discover some amazing results.


Solan, Rick. The Human Face of Big Data Tablet App. Computer Software. Apple App Store. Version 1.75. Against All Odds Productions, 20 May, 2015.

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Emil Waldhauser
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About Emil Waldhauser

Emil Waldhauser is a Czech teacher of English living in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and also a SMART Exemplary Educator. He is an ardent supporter of contemporary technology in contemporary schools, and especially loves SMART amp as a tool.

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