The impact of a one-to-one computing initiative at a Midwestern urban middle school was examined through phenomenological research techniques focusing on the voices of eighth grade students and their teachers. Analysis of transcripts from pre- and post-implementation interviews of 47 students and eight teachers yielded patterns of responses to illuminate how one-to-one computing changed students’ learning experiences and teachers’ instructional practices. Key themes that emerged were changes in teacher pedagogy, effect on student learning experiences, impact on classroom behavior and management, potential for improved communications, and suggestions to address professional development needs. The students demonstrated their learning in varied and creative ways through the use of computer-based lessons. However, the altered format presented new demands on teachers as a delivery model. Although some students were distracted by gaming and chatting opportunities, learning benefits were reported for students of varied ability levels. This study builds on the theoretical framework supporting the role and use of technology to foster learning and to prepare students for a global economy. The focus on student and teacher voices provided the opportunity to explore a new perspective and engage middle school students, teachers, and administrators in school change efforts.
Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2013