This research explores the evolution of communication patterns in 1-to-1 classrooms of teachers who vary in their years of experience teaching in these computer-rich classrooms. The context for this study was classroom observations and teacher interviews in 7 Milwaukee public schools during the spring of 2010 where teachers were implementing a 1-to-1 computer program in which every student was given a laptop. The researcher used an explanatory mixed-methods design in which both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The researcher compared data collected through classroom observations and teacher interviews from 5 teachers in the first year of the program and 6 teachers who had been in the program for 2 or more years. The overall findings suggested a shift from more traditional forms of instruction toward constructivist teaching styles when comparing the 2 groups. The researcher compared classroom organization, technology use, communication patterns, and student identity in the 2 groups of teachers. Teachers with more experience in the 1-to-1 program structured instruction to allow students to work in small groups more often. They also used technology as a tool more often to mediate communication. The research also revealed that when students have ubiquitous access to real-time formative assessments, new forms of student-centered communication patterns occurred. Another finding was that student identity often changes in 1-to-1 computing environments from a passive role to taking on more responsibility, acting as experts, and becoming more engaged in their own learning. Ongoing professional development was found to be an important factor in helping teachers evolve their teaching practices. These positive findings suggest that communication patterns in 1-to-1 classrooms do evolve toward more transformational forms of communication over time.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational technology; Laptop computers; Middle school students

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Riel, Margaret A.