I saw a very interesting article on Twitter this morning and it brought up so many of the niggling issues I have when I get all evangelistic about technology in education. It doesn’t make me doubt the usefulness of technology itself, but the implementation of it. I highly suggest reading The Laptops Are Coming by Sarah Heller McFarlane to get a teachers reflection of her first year of teaching with a classroom of laptops – it brings up some interesting issues that I’m currently processing.
And I believe this is important even in the advent of 3D technology Check this BCN3D Sigma review to see what I mean.
The main thing Im taking away from Heller-McFarlanes article is this (one that Ive heard over and over again, especially when I was meeting with a group of ed tech people earlier this month):
Technology does not solve all problems and throwing technology at teachers without working it seamlessly into existing curriculum is NOT the answer.
The solution? Im working on it, I know its out there. Right now, Im going with this:
Before a district spends even one more dollar on technology, they need to spend the money on people. People to make the decisions about the technology, people to train teachers, people to help with the integration.
Before all of that, though, they need to spend the money to make sure there are enough people PERIOD.
A 4th grade classroom of 29 students with one teacher and no TA is positively impacted more by the addition of a TA than by a set of laptops. Do I have numbers on this? No. Do I have experience in 4th grade classrooms with too many kids and not enough teachers? Yes. I want my own children in classrooms with human beings to support them – once there are enough human beings in the room, THEN spend the money on the technology.
And yes, Im one of those human beings that would like to be there to assist with the seamless integration.
And yes, Im biased because I know my children will get technology time and training at home..