Saturday, August 18, 2012

1:1 - Considering Opportunity Cost

Recently as I was visiting classrooms, I observed a classroom discussion in an Economics class aimed at explaining to students the concept of “opportunity cost”. As I listened to Mr. Manola explain the concept and the students try to formulate their own examples, I considered the opportunity cost of 1:1.  

Opportunity cost as defined here by  The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.

I started to think immediately about the years we did not choose to be a 1:1 school and what what the opportunity cost of this choice was for those students.  We can look at this in the real numbers where the cost of textbooks over the past four years was extremely close to the cost of a chromebook for every student.  This year, we only purchased a few new textbooks for new courses and did not replace other textbooks that normally would have been replaced.

So the question is, what opportunity would you like for your students?  The opportunity to have access to any information immediately and the access to publish to the web their thoughts and creations or the opportunity to limited resources on a particular subject and access to a pen and paper to write something only the teacher will see.


  1. Excellent post. My school went 1:1 last year with Macbooks (here is my blog from back then We have witnessed a complete transformation in our school of more than 70% free and reduced lunch. Students are building websites (earning some $ with Google Adsense), publishing blogs, and a few students ePublished a book last year that sold a few copies. So exciting. This year we are 1:1 in grades 4-12 (last year was 6-8). We love our Macs, but I have looked into Chrombooks as a less expensive option, so I would really like to hear about the nuts and bolts of how everything goes this year. Good luck and good on ya'!

    1. Justin - Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I especially appreciate you sharing your schools experience and reinforcing this idea. Particularly for schools like ours, with the majority of the students impacted by poverty of some level, this equalization of access can be transformational. I'm excited to share as we go through the year stories similar to your students.