European Schoolnet has recently launched an Observatory and as part of if a series of Briefing Papers. The Briefing Papers aim to present the findings of the "Survey of Schools: ICT in Education" on specific topics and to relate them to the results of European Schoolnet projects on the topic.
The second issue of the Briefing Papers looked into the 1:1 computing in Europe. There is growing interest in classes in which every student has continuous access to a laptop or tablet computer.
In the Survey’s teachers’ questionnaire, randomly selected teachers were asked if their school provided students in their class with a laptop for their own use. At grade 4 (i.e. around 9.5 years old), almost 20% of students are in a 1:1 class in Denmark, Ireland and Poland, with a EU mean of 8%. At grade 8 (i.e. around 13.5 years old), more students are in 1:1 classes than at other grades – 21% on average in the EU – but they are heavily concentrated in Spain, Norway and Sweden, with as at grade 4, a ‘long tail’ of countries where there are currently hardly any students in such classes.
The availability of portable devices in class is, in practice, increased by the growing trend to allow students to bring their own laptop or tablet – and indeed their mobile phone – and to use it in class. However, this Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, particularly evident in Denmark for example, does not necessarily lead to every student having access to a portable device unless equity issues are addressed.