Saturday, November 10, 2007

School technology vs. School 2.0

The push for technology in schools is the overwhelming theme in schools today. I am not quite sure that the emphasis is on the proper tools. Using online databases, LCD projectors, streaming videos, information tutorials, and educational sites is not enough. Most teachers can use these tools. Who am I kidding... most teachers don't use these tools. That is another topic though.

The problem with pushing technology is that it has many ill effects. A while ago, I wrote a blog about our district and its building of a planetarium. This is put under the false pretense of creating a digital classroom. The Superintendent of our school system is caught up in the hype of being a leader in technology in Maryland. This building will be stationed at our new highschool and will be finished by 2011. As of right now, I can go to Google Earth and switch it over to Google Sky. Any constellation and star can be seen for free. I can project this with my LCD projector in my classroom right now for free. I do not know how much this planetarium will cost, but I'm sure it is not going to be free. I am sure that they will have a huge opening ceremony and our Superintendent will get high praise. But should he?

How many computers could we have bought with this money?

My point...

I think we should be focusing on 1 laptop per child, and school 2.0 literacy training for our teachers. Once we have a laptop for every child, we can start focusing on the literacy aspects. As of right now, my school has a laptop cart with 24 computers. A teacher travels around on the cart having the students use "old technology". This is not the direction we should be heading. We need to prepare the students for a life of using these tools not only to gain information, but to add to the information. I feel if we continue in this direction, our students are going to fall far behind those in which are exposed to web 2.0. We need to stop hiding being a facade of recognition, and start preparing students.

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