How to run a successful 1:1 program in higher ed

Best practices to make sure your college’s 1:1 initiative is easy to manage and successful for all

At Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, every incoming full-time student gets an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. University leaders credit the 1:1 iPad program with saving money and promoting student equality.

“Trying to educate all students the same way simply doesn’t work, and that’s been the great tragedy of education,” says Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville. “So many people fall through the cracks. Not because they’re unintelligent. Not because they’re lazy. Because the way they’re being taught doesn’t fit their learning style.”

Maryville is turning an outdated system of teaching into something that’s vibrant and alive, says Lombardi. Instructors are fighting tradition by allowing students to access content, information, and knowledge in the ways that best suit their learning styles.

Why a 1:1 program makes sense

Maryville’s four-year-old program was launched to focus on diversity, inclusion, and strategic growth. “We wanted to make sure all students have a device that allows them to develop the skills they’ll need for success,” says Sam Harris, director of learning technology & support.

Harris says providing devices works better than a bring-your-own approach for a variety of reasons. “I’ve been an adjunct here since 2011. In the past, students would come to class with a variety of devices. It was difficult to plan digital projects because you couldn’t prep for one thing. In a BYOD (bring your own device) environment, the easiest thing to do is nothing. With a 1:1, technology is no longer a barrier; it’s a tool for learning.”

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