Examining teachers’ observations of a 1:1 implementation’s impacts on high school students’ communication and social skills : a qualitative case study.


One-to-one (1:1) student-to-laptop programs proliferate K–12 school settings in the United States and elsewhere, but it remains difficult to determine the extent to which these programs contribute to meaningful and positive change for students and teachers (Bebell & Kay, 2010; Bebell & O’Dwyer, 2010; Bleyer, 2017; Kposowa & Valdez, 2013; Muniz, 2018; Robinson, 2018; Sauers & McLeod, 2018; Zheng et al., 2013). There is a dearth of comprehensive, conclusive studies examining 1:1 initiatives’ effectiveness (Bebell & Kay, 2010, p. 6; Mouza, 2008, p. 469; Sauers & McLeod, 2018; Warschauer et al., 2014; Zheng et al., 2016), and 1:1 programs’ growth and costs warrant further research to fill gaps in the literature. In particular, there are too few studies exploring how students’ communication and social preferences, behaviors, and skills are impacted once these students receive district-issued devices. Those best positioned to account for these changes are students’ teachers. Since teachers are essential to 1:1 implementations’ successes, researchers exploring 1:1 education must periodically solicit teachers’ opinions. This qualitative case study explores high school teachers’ observations of a 1:1 implementation’s impacts to students’ communication and social skills. By focusing on teachers’ observations of these impacts, this study highlights how educators at one high school regard a 1:1 implementation’s impacts on students, its resultant changes to social interaction in and out of classrooms, and its changes to schools’ nature.

As K–12 students’ and teachers’ experiences in 1:1 programs increasingly transpire within digitally immersive contexts, this study aims to answer the following research question: what impacts on students’ communication and social skills did high school teachers observe after their school district implemented a 1:1 student-to-device program? Since 1:1 device initiatives represent a fundamental shift in both pedagogy and learning, these changes warrant further study. Among aspects of 1:1 programs warranting further consideration are those involving digitally immersive education’s nonacademic impacts: how communication and socialization change in such contexts. This study examines teachers’ perceptions of these impacts on students and offers recommendations for addressing these impacts.



One-to-one (1:1) education. 1:1 implementation. Educational technology. Instructional technology. Educational technology implementation. Educational technology device distribution. Digital communication. Social skills of K–12 students. K–12 student communication.