I work in a smallish/medium sized urban school district. In recent years, the school budget has been cut so to eliminate instructional technology teachers and the staff holding up the technology infrastructure hangs on by their collective teeth. We are not an affluent community; no PTO is holding a raffle to raise funds for Smartboards or laptops or anything else as a matter of fact. The not-a-recession has hit this community – and thereby the budgets – fairly hard.
In my own classroom, I have one old iMac “jellybean”. It no longer gets operating system updates or browser updates. CDs make an interesting hum when spinning in the drive. The “teacher/desk” computer is 2 years old; I’ve taken it off my desk so the kids – all 24 — can be a crack at using it in the classroom. For my own technology use, I brought in my old (6 years) Dell laptop. Because it is my own personal property, the District won’t allow it to access the school network or the Internet.
Getting the picture? Technology just isn’t pretty in this urban district.
I used to feel pretty sorry about this, but an article in the Times and Boston Globe this weekend is causing me to rethink. Here is a link to the Times article about a Silicon Valley School where technology is not part of the infrastructure of a student’s learning.
Think about it. When do you use technology? Is it a tool for getting work done? Or is it entertainment/edutainment?
I think there’s probably room for both types of applications in education. And while I certainly would appreciate having some hardware that wasn’t purchased before my students were born, maybe the application of technology needs a revisit.