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Wisconsin 1:1 District Instructional Programs

Teen students using tablets

The Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan supports high-quality instruction and learning that enables all students to participate in an education that is equitable, personalized, engaged and applied.  Schools districts across Wisconsin are investing in 1:1 computing programs to enhance student learning.  The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction defines mobile 1:1 computing as any state, school or building program that provides a computing device to each student.  The goal to have adequate home access to broadband in combination with a mobile computing device for all students is important to support equitable access to learning in the digital age for all Wisconsin students.

Definition and Context of 1:1 Mobile Computing Programs

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According to the Glossary for Education Reform, the term one-to-one is applied to programs that provide all students in a school, district, or state with their own laptop, netbook, tablet computer, or other mobile-computing devices. One-to-one refers to one computer for every student.

Given that computers, technology, and the internet are rapidly redefining nearly every area of modern life—from education to communications to careers—one-to-one programs are generally motivated by the following rationales:

  • Today’s students need consistent, at-the-ready access to computing devices throughout the day and, ideally, at home.
  • Teachers can only take full advantage of new learning technologies and online educational resources when all students are equipped with a computing device.
  • Teaching technological literacy and computing skills needed to be a priority in today’s schools.
  • Equipping all students with computing devices and incorporating technology into every course is the surest way to take full advantage of new learning technologies and produce students who are technologically skilled and literate.

In addition to avoiding many logistical issues associated with more limited or restrictive computing options, one-to-one programs may give teachers greater flexibility in how they can use computers as instructional resources. For example, one-to-one programs:

  • Allow all students to work online simultaneously in a class or to work collaboratively on a project that is hosted in the cloud.
  • Allow teachers to use interactive, technology-assisted teaching strategies that require students to have a computing device. For example, teachers can pose questions to a class, and all students can respond using an online survey system. Instead of asking a question and picking one student to give an answer, teachers can get answers from all students in real-time to see who has understood the material, who hasn’t, and who made need extra help.
  • Make it easier for students to save work on their own computer or for teachers to load specialized software programs on every computer used by students in a particular class.
  • Allow teachers to use “course-management software” to organize a class or assign long-term projects or homework that require students to use a computer. Otherwise, if some students do not have computers at home, teachers would have to assign homework that does not require computers, or they would have to modify expectations for students without access to a computer.
  • Make it easier to find cheaper or more up-to-date learning materials for students (for example, textbooks can be expensive and can quickly become outdated) and to diversify the types of learning tools, materials, and readings teachers make available to students, such as interactive e-textbooks, digital simulations, self-paced online tests, video-editing applications, or multimedia software, for example.
  • Make it easier—or possible—to use new or more innovative teaching strategies such as blended learning and “flipped classrooms” or to incorporate online courses into the learning options schools make available to students.

Wisconsin 1:1 Computing Data

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The Digital Learning Ed Tech Longitudinal Data Page provides information about district 1:1 program, home access and other relevant topics about digital learning programs. The 2018-2019 Digital Learning district survey shows data on the progress, trends and regional data of school districts. This data will also inform the digital learning team of needed instructional programming services and resource development to assist schools in the state.

1:1 Funding Programs

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Currently, local districts leverage qualifying school funding resources, grants, and partnership project funds to help support their district 1:1 mobile computing programs. Districts are encouraged to create sustainability plans for ongoing funding, technical support, professional learning, and digital resource budgets to help sustain high-quality programs.  DPI will be releasing the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan Ed Tech Funding Guide later this fall to support districts in planning for 1:1 programming. Districts are encouraged to make sure they assess the total cost of ownership (TCO), return on investment (RoI) as well as the instructional return on investment to ensure a successful 1:1 program.

 1:1 Instructional Planning and Implementation Resources

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DPI supports district planning teams to provide high quality 1:1 device implementation programs by leveraging the district planning and budgeting toolset.  District are encouraged to recognize the importance of aligning their vision for student learning to the type of learning environments, mobile device selections, instructional material, and professional learning that leverage technology. The Future Ready Dashboard tools within the context of our Wisconsin district planning tools to work across a collaborative district leadership team for effective planning and implementation, District teams are encouraged to consider the ecosystem and funding options needed to support a 1:1 implementation program that includes: 

  • purchase personal electronic computing devices
  • purchase software for the devices
  • purchase curriculum that includes content that may be accessed on a personal electronic computing device
  • train professional staff on how to effectively incorporate personal electronic devices into a classroom and into the grade-level curriculum

District all need to consider home access mobile hot spots or community-based broadband solutions for students to ensure equitable access for all students.  Districts also need to create local acceptable use policies that empower students to leverage mobile devices and digital resources in their classrooms in responsible ways.  The Wisconsin Information and Technology Literacy (ITL) standards are an important resource for districts to guide instructional planning, digital citizenship standards, and student agency in digital rich learning environments.  DPI has created the Internet Safety resource page to support students, educators, parents, and districts in best practices which are vital to ensure student safety and protection of student data with 1:1 mobile device programs. 


Common Sense Media 1 to 1 Essentials Program

DPI - District Level Digital Learning Local Planning Tools, including the Future Ready Dashboard and Planning Template

Digital Equity and Access Resources for Student Planning



Digital equity has become an urgent issue as schools provide more and more of their students with mobile devices to take home, while 20% of Wisconsin households do not have access to the internet. For many children and adults, the public library is the only source of internet access. The Internet Discount Finder, created by the Wisconsin Public Services Commission, can help low-income households find discounted internet service. Discounts are as deep as 80%. Schools and public libraries can play a critical role in promoting the Internet Discount Finder, to help all of their students and library users get internet access at home. Review a presentation by Bill Herman, DPI Broadband and Erate consultant on how to effectively use the tool for your own district purposes to support your instructional planning goals.

Digital equity is defined as students having high-quality technology-infused learning experiences to prepare all students to be college and career ready.  Districts have to ensure that students have the ability to leverage resources in and out of school to meet the instructional requirements. Thee are two major pieces of research addressing the "homework gap" relative to data and the impact on instruction around these access gaps:

  • Institute for Education Services, Retrieved March 2018. Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom - identifying the related topic of instructional opportunities that are not equitable for students if educators and schools cannot ensure outside of school access opportunities for all students.
  • CoSN. Retrieved June 2018.  Digital Equity Toolkit - identifying three pillars of equity to be digital resources, a student device dedicated to school usage, and adequate broadband.  The solution must be a community discussion about solving these gaps for all students to support your district instructional goals in and out of school.