Our websites:

Our social media sites - YouTube, Twitter and Facebook

YouTube X Facebook Instagram
1919

Where are we with 1:1 digital technology?

Posted by Paul Nisbet on the 13th November, 2023

Category iPads, Androids & Chromebooks Assistive Technology

In 2021, John Swinney pledged that every pupil in Scotland would have a personal digital device by the end of the current Scottish parliament. How far are we towards achieving this goal in Scotland?

1:1 Digital Technology

In March 2021 John Swinney said Just as in my day, the teacher handed out a jotter to all, so in this internet age, we will hand each child the device they need to learn and prosper” in order to "end the digital divide".

Scottish Government is working with local authorities “to provide every school pupil in Scotland with a laptop or tablet” and working on how to deliver consistent digital infrastructure across Scotland’s 2,500 school buildings”.

Last week saw the Scottish launch of the Unesco 2023 Report on Technology and Education, which examines the appropriate use of technology in education.

The full report is over 500 pages long and covers a lot, but the first Key Message is that

Good, impartial evidence on the impact of education technology is in short supply. There is little robust evidence on digital technology’s added value in education.

front page of Unesco GEM 2023 reportNow the evidence regarding the benefits of 1:1 device programmes is mixed and Emma Seith, writing in TES on 9th November 2023, questions the evidence for 1:1 device provision. Certainly, simply providing a device to a pupil is pointless unless it is integrated into teaching and learning and backed up with effective digital infrastructure, support, professional learning and pedagogy.

For pupils with additional support needs, though, we believe that 1:1 device provision has huge potential. The Unesco report notes that 

 

 

Accessible technology and universal design have opened up opportunities for learners with disabilities.

So with this in mind we feel it is useful to share our understanding of the current 1:1 technology picture in Scotland. 

CALL Scotland is part-funded by Scottish Government to work across Scotland and it is important that we are aware of the technologies that are available in different parts of the country. The information here is based on research and ongoing discussions with a range of colleagues across Scotland: if we have made errors, we would like to hear from you so that we can update our information!

We are sharing our understanding of the 1:1 picture because we think it is useful to consider it in the light of the Unesco report. This is not intended to be a 'league table' of 1:1 technology! 

Where are we with "1:1"?

Some local authorities are far forward with 1:1 deployment: pupils in in Primary 6 and above in Edinburgh , Falkirk , Glasgow  and Scottish Borders have been provided with iPads; while learners in Aberdeen , Highland , Stirling  and West Dunbartonshire have Chromebooks. We understand that pupils in Scottish Borders were provided with new iPads in June 2023 to replace the devices first issued in 2019: this illustrates the gap in terms of progress towards 1:1 technology across the country.

The ratio of devices to learners in other local authorities is mixed: some schools have stocks of devices that are available to all pupils on a shared basis; some provide personal devices for students identified with additional support needs.

Some local authorities standardise on one device or operating system – iPads in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scottish Borders and Chromebooks in Highland and Aberdeen , for example, while other local authorities have a mix – younger learners in Midlothian have iPads and pupils in P4 and above have Chromebooks; learners in Dumfries and Galloway use iPads or Windows devices; learners in South Lanarkshire may be using Chromebooks, iPads or Windows.  

There is also variation in terms of management across local authorities: some have their own Google tenancies, others use the tenancy through Glow/Education Scotland. Some local authorities mainly utilise Microsoft apps and systems, some mainly use Google Workspace for Education, some use both. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scottish Borders contract out IT management to CGI and XMA; Falkirk manage it within the authority. Most authorities who use Windows manage the technology themselves; South Lanarkshire use RM.

These different approaches are relevant because in our experience, it seems easier to achieve effective accessibility and inclusion when control over the technology and infrastructure is as local as possible.

Given the huge diversity of of size, population and geography of local authorities in Scotland, and the wide range of different devices and approaches to management, it is clearly a challenge to achieve consistency of access to inclusive digital learning and assistive technology. Some writers may criticise authorities that do not yet provide 1:1 devices, but this may well be an effective strategy, given the findings in the Unesco report.

Digital accessibility

The right personal digital device has huge potential for learners with additional support needs. The accessibility tools that are built into modern Chromebooks, iPads and Windows devices are excellent and are continually improving and learners are more able to access learning through technology on a par with their peers. 

Similarly, apps and extensions are also much more accessible and feature excellent tools to support learning: Microsoft’s Immersive Reader is perhaps the most well-known example.

Many of these tools are free because they are part of the standard digital device and resource – they provide support at the ‘universal level’ for all students including those with additional support needs. This should lead to a greater awareness and expertise amongst educators, pupils and parents/carers.

These universal technologies can also reduce the need for local authorities and schools to purchase and distribute accessibility and learning support tools – but not completely, because some learners’ needs are not addressed by either the ‘standard’ device or the freely available accessibility tools.

Accessibility Tools in 1:1 devices
Assistive TechnologyWindowsiOSChromebookOnline
Text readerImmersive Reader, Read Aloud, Speak ButtonSpeak Selection and Speak ScreenSelect-to-Speak

Immersive Reader, Read Aloud

screen readerNarratorVoiceOverChromeVox 
Zoom / magnify

Zoom in apps

Magnifier

Zoom in apps

Magnifier

Zoom in apps

Magnifier

Zoom in browsers 
Large Text

Make Text / Everything Bigger

Immersive Reader

Bold / large text-See above 
Colours

High contrast, colour filters

Immersive Reader

High contrast, smart invert, colour filters

High contrastVaries with the browser, web site and extensions
Speech to text dictation

Microsoft Dictate

Dictation in Office 365

Apple DictationChromebook dictation

O365 online dictation

Google apps voice typing

spellcheckYesYesYesYes - varies with the online app
predictive textYesYesYesYes - varies with the online app
autocorrectYesYesYesYes - varies with the online app
On-screen keyboardYesYesYes 
keyboard shortcutsYesYesYesYes - varies with the online app
Mouse / pointing device accessYesYesYesYes
switch accessYesYesYes (limited)Yes - varies with the online app
eye-gaze accessYesYesno 

As digital learning becomes more embedded, students and educators are developing more effective working practices and skills. Possible stigma that might have been associated with specialist assistive technology is less likely to occur when all learners are using the same digital devices.

However, the potential of 1:1 technology will only be realised if we ensure that the 1:1 devices are accessible for learners with additional support needs; that digital learning resources are accessible; that reliable digital infrastructure is in place; and that educators, learners and parents/carers have digital and pedagogical skills to use the technology effectively for teaching and learning.

Equitable and Inclusive Digital Learning

The provision of digital devices is happening as part of local authorities’ (and colleges’ and independent schools’) wider digital learning strategies which address the digital infrastructure, professional learning and support for teachers and practitioners, pupils and parents and carers. It is crucial that these Strategies explicitly address the needs of the 34% of learners identified with additional support needs both to ensure that all learners are included and to meet responsibilities under Education, ASL, Equality and Accessibility legislation. 

In October 2014, the Scottish Government published Statutory Guidance for education authorities on planning improvements for disabled pupils’ access to education which recommends that:

“Procurement decisions for hardware and software have due regard to accessibility and reasonable adjustment duties under the Equality Act. In particular, no extra cost should be charged for changes made to systems as part of reasonable adjustments made.”   

Accessibility and Equality

Our experience and the experience of assistive and digital learning specialists and of educators and pupils is that 1:1 technologies are not always accessible to learners with additional support needs. In our view, this could result in indirect discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. There are three overlapping areas of inequality where learners with disabilities or additional support needs could suffer discrimination:

Access to assistive and digital learning technology

Access to a personal digital device varies greatly across Scotland. A lack of a 1:1 technology programme does not mean that learners with ASN are not provided with suitable assistive technology – sometimes a personal device is not appropriate - but there are no national standards against which provision can be judged.

The ‘standard’ iPad, Chromebook or Windows device may not be accessible for some learners, who may require additional apps or access tool, or a completely different, bespoke technology. Identification of appropriate resources at these targeted and specialised levels of intervention requires expertise which may or may not be available in the school or local authority. In Scotland, we believe that we need a national model for assistive technology to ensure that all learners are supported. 

Device accessibility 

In some schools, pupils cannot access the full range of accessibility options because they have been disabled. Feedback from practitioners suggests that there can be a considerable delay in provision of accessibility apps or resources due to different factors including the requirement to undertake a Data Protection Impact Assessment. 

Accessibility of learning resources

Digital apps and learning resources used by learners are not always properly accessible. For example, Digital Question Papers from SQA are not accessible for learners with visual impairment who use screen readers or braille displays.

1:1 technology must be inclusive and accessible

Digital learning and 1:1 technology must be universally designed  so that accessibility tools, apps and resources are available for learners with disabilities and/or additional support needs. 

  1. As part of the programme of provision of 1:1 digital technology, we suggest that Scottish Government should update the 2014 statutory Guidance on Accessibility Standards to support local authorities and responsible bodies. A first step would be to update the Checklists that are currently available within the 2014 Scottish Government guidance. The 2014 Checklists were written for Windows OS and require updating for iPads, Chromebooks and cloud storage learning environments.
  2. Inclusion and accessibility should feature in local authority Digital Learning Strategies and plans, and equally, Digital Learning should feature in updated Accessibility Strategies.
  3. Digital learning and assistive technology do not feature adequately in the ASL Action Plan and this should be addressed by the ASL Action Plan Project Board and working groups.
  4. We propose development of a national Inclusive Digital Learning and Assistive Technology Pathway to support local authorities and practitioners to meet the additional support needs of learners. The pathway should describe the nature and type of provision of assistive technology to ensure equity across Scotland, similar to the Scottish National AAC Pathway

Digital Devices across Scotland

Aberdeen City
Devices1:1 Chromebooks for all learners P6 to S6. Windows laptops and desktops. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority; Aberdeen Google Domain.
SourcesDiscussion with QIO; Aberdeen City Children’s Services Strategic plan 2023-2026; TextHelp Customer Stories Aberdeen City Council
Aberdeenshire
DevicesChromebooks, iPads, Windows laptops and desktops. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with ASL Technology specialists.
Angus
DevicesSome schools have 1:1 Chromebooks; other schools have a stock for shared use. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with SfL teachers in schools. 
Argyll and Bute
DevicesStocks of shared Chromebooks. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority. Scottish Government Google tenancy.
SourcesDiscussion with local authority IT and SfL personnel.
City of Edinburgh
Devices1:1 iPads for pupils in P6 to S6. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority, XMA and CGI. iOS apps provided through 'Self-Service'. Microsoft 365 tenancy.
SourcesMeetings with SfL teacher network; discussions with SfL teachers. CGI and City of Edinburgh Council complete rollout of Edinburgh Learns for Life (18/5/23). Digital boost for pupils with 39,000 iPads in 1:1 roll out. (2021)
Clackmannanshire
Devices1:1 iPads P1 to P4; 1:1 Chromebooks for S2 to S6 by 2021-2022; P5 to S1 in 2022-2023. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussions with SfL staff. Clackmannanshire Council (2021) 1:1 Digital Device Deployment Programme
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Devicesnot known
Managementnot known
Sources-
Dumfries and Galloway
Devices1:1 iPads or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussions with staff; Education Officers. Dumfries and Galloway Council (2022) Digital for D&G.
Dundee
Devices

Shared iPads and Chromebooks. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussions with SfL staff. Dundee Council (2016) Digital Strategy
East Ayrshire
DevicesChromebooks, Windows laptops and desktops. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussions with SfL staff.

 

East Dunbartonshire
DevicesChromebooks, Windows laptops and desktops. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussions with SfL staff.
East Lothian
DevicesShared Chromebooks. 1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority. East Lothian Google tenancy.
SourcesDiscussions with SfL and digital learning staff.
East Renfrewshire
DevicesChromebooks, Windows laptops and iPads.  1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority. East Renfrewshire Council Google Tenancy within Glow.
SourcesEast Renfrewshire Council (2021) Update on modern, ambitious programme (map) & digital transformation strategy
Falkirk
Devices1:1 iPads for learners from P6 to S6. 1:1 iPads or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority and XMA.
SourcesDiscussions with SfL teachers. Falkirk Council Connected Falkirk
Fife
DevicesChromebooks are being provided under a pilot for 1:1. 1:1 iPads / Chromebooks / Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with SfL teachers.
Glasgow
Devices1:1 iPads for all learners in P6 and above. 1:1 ‘ASL iPads’ or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementCGI, XMA. Apps from Self Service.
SourcesDiscussion with SfL teachers. Glasgow City Council (2018) Digital Glasgow Strategy. 
Inverclyde
DevicesChromebooks, Windows laptops and iPads.  1:1 iPads, Chromebooks or Windows laptops for pupils with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority. 
SourcesDiscussion with staff. Inverclyde Council (2021) Education Services Digital Learning Strategy 2021-2028. 
Highland
DevicesP1-P5 pupils Chromebooks on a 1:5 ratio.
1:1 Chromebooks for learners in P6 and above.
ManagementLocal authority, Highland Google tenancy.
SourcesDiscussion with staff. The Highland Council (2019) Chromebook rollout prepares pupils for new era of digital learning.
Midlothian
Devices

1:1 iPads for learners in P1 to P3. 1:1 Chromebooks for learners in P3 to S6. 1:1 devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority, Google Workspace Plus tenancy ( Midlothian.education)
SourcesDiscussion with Education Officers Midlothian Council (2021) Equipped for Learning
Moray
Devices

Considering 1:1 Windows, iPads or Chromebooks. 1:1 devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesThe Moray Council (2020) ICT and Digital Strategy 2020-2023
North Ayrshire
Devices

1:1 iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with SfL teachers. North Ayrshire Digital Learning and Teaching (2022).
North Lanarkshire
Devices

1:1 Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with SfL staff.
Orkney
Devices

1:1 Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesOrkney Council (2022) Orkney Islands Council Digital Strategy 2022-2026
Perth & Kinross
Devices

Some secondary schools have 1:1 iPads. 1:1 iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesPerth and Kinross Council (2018) Digital Strategy 2018-2021
Renfrewshire
Devices

Shared Chromebooks. 1:1 Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with staff.
Scottish Borders
Devices

1:1 iPads for learners in P6 to S6. 1:1 iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with staff.  Scottish Borders Council (2019) Inspire Learning FAQs.
Shetland Islands
Devices

1:1 iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority.
SourcesDiscussion with staff.  A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Shetland.
South Ayrshire
Devices

Shared Chromebooks and Windows devices. 1:1 Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority. Microsoft 365 tenancy.
SourcesICT Capital Investment Programme
South Lanarkshire
Devices

Shared Chromebooks and Windows devices. 1:1 Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority & RM Managed Service Contract.
SourcesDigital Education Strategy
Stirling
Devices

1:1 Chromebooks  from P4 to S6.  1:1 Chromebooks, iPads or Windows devices for learners with specific ASN.

ManagementLocal authority Google tenancy (stirlingschools.net).
SourcesDiscussions with staff. Digital milestone for Stirling Council schoolsAssistive Technology.
Chromebooks and G Suite.
West Dunbartonshire
DevicesWorking towards 1:1 Chromebooks – currently 10,200 devices and 12,000 students.
1:1 Chromebooks, Windows or iPads provided for learners with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority Google tenancy.
SourcesDiscussion with staff. 2016/17 Administration Strategic Budget and Capital Plan
West Lothian
DevicesShared Windows and iPads. 1:1 Windows or iPads provided for learners with specific ASN.
ManagementLocal authority Microsoft 365 tenancy.
SourcesDiscussion with staff. 
Independent Schools 
DevicesVaries between schools. Some schools have 1:1 Windows or Chromebooks or iPads.
ManagementVaries.
SourcesDiscussion with staff. 

 

Online course - £30

Using AI to Support Learners with Dyslexia

Newsletter: join thousands of other people

Once a month we'll send you an email with news, research and thoughts, as well as training courses and free webinars you may wish to attend.