Friday, November 30, 2012

1 to the World, Not 1:1

"Let the rebranding begin" announced @SuzieBoss as we tweeted one another at the 2012 Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum (#PilGF) regarding the limitations of the 1:1 phrase. Rather than referring to 1:1 initiatives, let's refer to 1 to the World initiatives.

As Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) reported in her recent blog post, Microsoft Vice-President @AnthonySalcito cautioned 1:1 advocates regarding focusing on digital devices rather than the learning opportunities associated with connectivity.

I first heard the phrase 1 to the World from friend and disruptive-questioner Alan November (@globalearner). Here are five reasons Alan November was right to suggest that we refer to 1 to the World rather than 1:1 initiatives. What other reasons can you identify?

1.      The 1:1 terminology mistakenly implies that people use just one device. Although some adults and students do not have access to any digital devices, many adults and students use multiple devices. They might use a smart phone one moment, only to employ a netbook shortly thereafter, while sitting down at a desktop computer later in the day. 1 to the World does not muddy the water by suggesting people use just one device.

2.      With the 1:1 phrase, many people assume that a group of students will all be using the same type of device. People naturally work alongside and collaborate with others while using a variety of devices. Let’s not use terminology that suggests that everyone should be using the same type of device.

3.      The 1:1 terminology incorrectly suggests that providing ubiquitous access to technology is an end in and of itself. The existence of every student with a device is a means to an end, not the goal.

4.      1 to the World effectively emphasizes that we want to connect every student globally. Global connectivity provides students with resources, collaborators and an audience throughout the world.

5.      1 to the World appropriately avoids focusing on who provides the device. Obviously bring-your-own-device/bring-your-own-technology initiatives involve students providing the devices. The common perception is that schools provide the devices with 1:1 initiatives. In contrast with these phrases, the source of the device is not the point with the 1 to the World phrase. Schools may provide devices. Students may bring their own devices. Alternatively, some students may use school-provided devices while others bring their own. Thus, 1 to the World helpfully focuses on the purpose of the connectivity rather than who provides the device.

Help us rebrand these initiatives as 1 to the World. Blog and tweet using and advocating for this terminology. Use the #1toWorld hashtag. Share this post. Words mean a lot so use this terminology to help focus the conversation on learning, not the device.


  1. Hi Eric,

    Thoughtful post that brings another element to the conversation. After reading it, I don't think 1:World does what we're doing justice either because it sounds like one device connects you to the world. There are two problems with this. 1) Students can use many devices 2) Like it or not the emphasis is on the device rather than the student when we say "1" to Anything.

    I'm thinking we go with something like Student:World initiatives. What so you think?

  2. I like the phrase Student:World initiatives.

    It may be easier for people to transition from 1:1 to 1:world because since they phrases are more similar.

    The 1 in 1:World is the student and the devices are the means to connect with the world., People are so focused on the device they may think that the 1 in 1:World is a reference to the device.

    1. That makes sense. I guess what I find confusing is when we say 1:world will people think one laptop (or other device) connects students to the world or one student connects to the world of ideas however that may be.

      I guess another issue I have with 1:World is that it might be a bit overwhelming or not really the purpose of why we might want to use a device "all the time." It could be okay to want to use it just for your own productivity or to play a game or read or learn something...ya know?

  3. Eric,
    Thanks for the post. I'm not an educator but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night (not really). The device has become irrelevant provided you have one and can connect to the internet. Technology like Google Apps (or enterprise or whatever it is called) is device agnostic. Whatever device is used, (iPhone, Droid, iPad, Chrome Book, Mac, etc, etc) we can use Google to collaborate on documents, chat, share video, develop web pages, and a long list of other things.
    Amy Mayer @friEdTechnology illustrates this on her blog. She exudes the spirit of what you, Lisa Nielsen and Anthony Salcito are talking about. I think I saw 1:1 mentioned somewhere in her blog.
    So my non-educator advice would be to call it whatever makes it 1. easier to get it funded, 2. easier to get educators to embrace (ie. execute in the classroom). Oh and hire a bunch of folks like Amy Mayer. That way you can call it 1:whatever and get 1:world.


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  5. Hi Eric
    Nice post, this appears to be the natural evolution. Point #3 is particularly important. Personally, I find it very strange rattling around in research of 2010/11 1:1 practices** when we have moved so far in such a short amount of time.


    Alan's work will be much cited in future publications.