As I was running through my morning blogs I happened upon this:
SHOPPING SPREE: Microsoft will spend $1 billion to make devices less expensive for K-12 public schools to purchase. According to the release, the company’s manufacturer partners will offer tablets and laptops starting under $300. (All devices will be “Common Core testing compliant”and run Windows 8.1) Microsoft is making the commitment as part of the ConnectED, the initiative announced by President Obama to “connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age”by 2017. Schools can get started here.
Now from the outside looking in, this looks like a great thing. And yes it can be, but throwing technology at education in and of its self will not help education to get better. Several questions come to my mind. How many of the teachers that will be asked to use these new tech toys in the classroom were given any training on how to use them? Of the that did receive some training, were given any instruction or help on how to integrate them in to their classes in a pedagogically sound way?
Using technology to address classroom needs can be very affective. But, I hope that before school administrators go out and buy these new technology devices. they first identify the needs of the classroom. The focus should be on identifying the needs and then determining which technologies best meet that need. If school board spend tax payer monies to purchase a bunch of new technology devises that end up sitting in some closet, they have done nothing more than waste the take payers money.
Purchasing things you need and that happen to be reduced in cost is a great thing. Purchasing things that you don’t really need or can’t use just because they are inexpensive is still a waste of money.
So, I started this post with the question, a good idea or bad? In my opinion it will depend greatly on how local school administrators go about getting the new technology devices. Talk to the teachers in the classroom and to your local instructional designers, the local tech support people. Find out what really is needed. Find out what will be used and what would end up sitting in a closet somewhere.