What the Massive Shift to 1-to-1 Computing Means for Schools, in Charts

The 1-to-1 computing landscape in K-12 schools expanded at a rate few could have imagined prior to the pandemic. It is not an exaggeration to say it was a massive shift.

An exclusive survey by the EdWeek Research Center shows that about two-thirds of district leaders recalled providing one school-issued digital learning device for every middle and high school student prior to the pandemic. About 40 percent said the same for elementary school kids.

But by March of 2021, 90 percent of district leaders surveyed said they were providing a device for every middle and high school student, and 84 percent said they were doing the same for elementary school students.

“The whole pandemic had been like a big proof of concept for 1-to-1 [computing],” Marlo Gaddis, the chief technology officer for the Wake County schools in North Carolina, told Education Week. “Now it’s taking all of those learnings and putting them into [practice]. I don’t think there’s a district in this country that could say they’ve done it perfectly.”

Over the past two years, the EdWeek Research Center has conducted monthly surveys to examine how schools were handling pandemic-era schooling, including tracking the expansion of 1-to-1 computing and other technological developments.

Those changes have opened the doors for more-effective use of digital learning tools and led to more widespread and sophisticated use of technology and learning management systems by teachers and students. But at the same time, they have prompted growing concerns about the effect of too much screen time on student learning and behavior, student and teacher tech fatigue, and the lack of reliable internet connectivity in students’ homes.

The following charts—beginning in August of 2019 and ending in February of 2022—provide a scan of how much things have changed over the past two years and the challenges those changes are creating for schools now.

1 to 1 computing

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